Microsoft’s E3 Lesson: How to Make a Good Recovery!

June 21st, 2013 | Articles, Job Search | No Comments »


At some point in time every tech company makes a major mistake, but can an industry giant like Microsoft afford to gaffe as badly as it did during their E3 conference? They went from their original announcement (with heavy DRM restrictions meant to cripple the used gaming industry and a mandatory online connection for all game play) to the polar opposite in less than two weeks. A day after E3, the preorders for the Xbox One were a mere fraction of those for the PS4. Since Microsoft’s retraction, they have jumped ahead of those for the Sony console.

So far, it seems that they’ve recuperated well. If you were in the same situation though, how would you go from falling flat on your face to running at a full sprint all in one stride?

Listen to your users. Any good development team should have an ear to the ground listening for buzz from consumers. If Microsoft’s Don Mattrick & team would have obstinately believed that the consumers would eventually adapt, in spite of the vocalized backlash they were receiving, the new console would have been doomed for failure. Being cognizant of the needs of your audience at a moment’s notice can be the saving grace of any project.

Quickly remedy your mistakes. In about 10 days, Microsoft retracted their official statement. Waiting any longer could have drastically hurt sales. Mistakes happen but you have to be willing to remedy them in a heartbeat. In a world where tech users are bombarded with a perpetual hailstorm of new options, you cannot afford to be down for long. Normally you only get one shot, but if the consumer is willing to give you some leeway, you need to fight tooth & nail to keep it.

React with grace. Originally, Microsoft didn’t follow this last rule. Don Mattrick’s initial response to gamers expressing concern over the new console was tactless, stating, “fortunately, we have a product for people who aren’t able to get some form of connectivity: it’s called the Xbox 360.” It was a pretty condescending response to an otherwise loyal fan base. When you err, never stick to your guns like a cagey desperado with nothing to lose. Your corrective actions will reach a more receptive audience if you humbly apologize from the start.

by James Walsh

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