Ah, Marketing ™. Have you no shame?
Of course, the answer is no. I know this, because once upon a time I was Marketing ™. And sadly, it’s not as cool as they tell you it is.
But today, I got an email from Microsoft. You might think Microsoft knows marketing by now, being bajillionaires and all. But it turns out they’ve got a few things to work on.
Case in point. I own an Xbox 360. It’s very nice, and more or less new. I bought it off some kid who apparently was not supposed to have it. I say this, because the transaction went down in a library parking lot, on a rainy night, with HIS MOM sitting in a running car nearby shooting eye daggers at me.
Needless to say, I did not pay anything approaching retail price.
So I have this glorious gaming machine. There’s all sorts of cool things you can do on it, just like you can do on your computer.
You know, the thing I’m using right now to relate this humorous anecdote. The rig I bought specifically to play games on, since it was my job and all.
Yeah, Computers. Once upon a time I was an exclusively console gamer. Mainly because I could pick up a new system for 100-200bux, and find a passel of used games to feed my needs. But computers were really expensive. Factor of Ten expensive, and prices really haven’t changed much in the last few decades.
My current system is/was no different, but the prices of the xbox certainly were. Or more accurately, the razorblades–I mean games. Used offerings were not much better, and two years later I still have a limited catalog that I never play.
Yup. Other than a car I drove once and then paid to tow away, the Xbox may have been one of the least cost-effective purchases I’ve ever made. And I own four HD-DVD players.
So imagine my surprise (stop laughing, it was a superior format!) when I got the following message from Microsoft today.
Well gosh, I’m touched. You really must appreciate all the time I spend using your product.
Maybe it’s the incredible and complex non-gaming content that keeps me coming back time and again.
Or maybe all of the deep and lasting friendships I’ve made over the years through xbox play
While we’re not quite to rat-in-a-cage time, it’s clear to me how much I’m valued as a customer. And I don’t fault them in any way, since I’m really not the guy they’re looking for. The Xbox is currently hooked up in the spare bedroom, as part of a guest entertainment package that includes most (some) of my old game consoles. I thought I was building a concept room, with a fully networked media player, but the digital files I’ve got stored on my actual media pc just don’t like talking to the console, even when both are running exactly the same software. I spend most of my time working at the “real” computer, writing or clicking mindlessly to build roads and temples.
It turns out to be just another oldsmobile for me, in a time when I should be taking the bus.
But the beauty of Marketing ™, is that at least 57 of my friends got this same email today, as well as 122 MILLION other people. A lot of them are pleased as punch right now about their online/multiplayer/entertainment accomplishments. Heck, my friend James is 4 of them all on his own, given the state of his gaming space.
And while I define the bellcurve by my presence on the extreme end, I know people across the whole spectrum. Folks who live and die by gamerscore, who use the xbox constantly as a media portal, who’ve burned out multiple units over the years through constant use.
It occurs to me what I’ve really done. Despite the fact that I don’t actively seek out material wealth, I have more than enough electronic junk clogging up the system to classify me as the worst kind of conspicuous consumer.
Because while I think I’ve been maintaining this over the years,
The truth is far more likely to be something on this level.