An Open Letter to the Folks at Xbox Live
Dear Microsoft Masters who control my console,
After years of loyal service (and paying my Gold Membership fees) I have a complaint. It’s not about the increasingly annoying user interfaces you’ve saddled us with, the somewhat middling sales and specials, or the frustrating Kinect controls (Hey, there’s something that’s not better with Kinect!). It’s something else.
I hate the ads.
Not the ones about games or what’s coming soon or what’s new. I’m talking about the terrible third-party ads (mostly movie trailers) that play music when you accidentally scroll across one.
Side note: anything that blares music (especial mid track) when scrolled over is really irritating. If you don’t believe me, pop over to the IE team and ask them, assuming they haven’t been assimilated by the Bing A.I. algorithm.
My Xbox live subscription is a paid-for service and I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but other webcentric services out there promise everything up to and including sexual favours for my hard earned dollars; plus (and here’s the important bit) an AD-FREE ZONE to do whatever it is I do with their service.
But you know what? The fact that these ads exist on Xbox Live Gold isn’t what annoys me most. It’s the fact that they’re of terrible quality. Yesterday I clicked on one out of curiosity, a trailer for the new Underworld flick if you must know. It didn’t bring me to a slick high-resolution trailer for the movie, I got a looping, low-quality series of action sequences with off-kilter audio. In a world where I, as a paying customer, expect to be spoon-fed only the finest marketing material out there, this is unacceptable.
Short story short, I turned the Xbox off and did something else. I did not rent a movie through Zune, purchase a new game, or throw Microsoft points at DLC. I left your marketplace where I am essentially a captive audience and went somewhere else. Potential revenue was lost.
If you’re going to keep these abominations in your service (and I’m sure you will, it pays the bills), there are so many things that can be done to make these ads more palatable. Work with the companies buying ad space to provide something the Customer (capital ‘C’, because that’s me, I’m a customer viewing these ads and paying for your service) is willing to look at or ever look for. I have a Netflix account, there’s no reason why I shouldn’t be seeing ads for what’s new there. If I’m going to see a movie trailer, it should have me reaching for popcorn.
Anyway, that’s my two cents, Microsoft. We’re heading into a new era of Xbox and I want to see you succeed as much as you want the contents of my wallet. Let’s make this happen.