Dear Microsoft Xbox Division,
This message is purely informational about my customer experience. Starting this generation of games, I was hands down most excited about the future of Xbox. It was the first console I bought of the new 3. I liked the presentation of Xbox and particularly the library of games developed for it. I thought the multi-player, co-op were slick. I was sold on the 360 based on my experience with the first box.
I ordered my Xbox early, within the first few months of its release, despite hearing warnings about its reliability.
As a gamer, I recognize I am not likely your target market. I play games for the game. I love a good story and great artistry. Or I love games that are just plain fun. My multiplayer preference has always been cooperative campaign. Though I have a soft spot in my heart for splitscreen competitive multiplayer with my friends. I never really fell in love with competitive online multiplayer. I just do not have the time to invest to compete at it. I work a full-time job, am a home owner, have a family. I play games to relax and to enjoy the experience. I mention this, because the demand I place on the machine is likely less than most, because I usually game after the kids are in bed a few hours each week. I grew up with Atari and Nintendo, and video games are one of several hobbies I have. I do spend money on games though, and try to stay informed about what is being produced and released throughout the year.
I experienced the red ring of death four times this generation. The fifth console I had seemed to last. The first two fell apart during that moment where Microsoft was still denying the scale of the system failures, and I had to pay the repair fee to ship them in. The last two were covered after the warranties were extended. Each time, I was out my console 2 to 3 weeks, and then was sent a one month Xbox Live Gold card each time, which wasn't perceived as a worthwhile adjustment for the interruption, since I rarely played online.
Generally, I would like to believe that the hardware hides in the background, allowing the player to immerse themselves in the experience. It was not so with my experience. Mid-story during Mass Effect 1 and then again during Mass Effect 2 I had the consoles die. Shephard had to wait. It got to the point where I was nervous to invest in any game that lasted more than 6 hours, as the system might die again mid-story. I have felt so turned off by my experience, that I did not care whether I played the new GOW and Halo 4. Honestly, these had been two of my favorite series.
Further, as you updated the Xbox front page, I felt more and more harassed by ads. Many times, I intentionally left my system disconnected from the internet to minimize the distractions.
My impression of this system has been so negative, that I have gradually sold off all my library and swapped over to a different system for all of my gaming. All I wanted to do was to enjoy these games without needing to worry about whether my system could play the software (I've stayed away from pc gaming due to the amount of time I think I would want to invest in managing my rig, that I simply do not have at this time.).
Going into this next generation, I am exceptionally skeptical of Microsoft's efforts in gaming. My experience in the last generation was simply beyond poor. It was not respectful of my contribution to the transaction and attentive to my desire to experience the games that yours and other studios developed and produced.
Maybe many had different experiences than I or were more willing to invest time and money in hardware to endure the failures. Personally, my hope is that as a company you change your approach and recognize the value (not purely monetary) of your customers and developers. Likely, I am going to watch from the sidelines on this next generation for a long-time.
I am not really looking to criticize Microsoft, but hoped that some honest, non-hyped feedback might be helpful for your role in the industry. Good luck as you go forward.