Xbox One’s “Get The Facts” Campaign Is a Harsh Lesson on How You Can Mess up Your Marketing Message

Microsoft’s Xbox One’s “Get The Facts” (AKA: “Did you know…”) marketing campaign is all over the place lately. You can find it on the official website, on GameStop’s retail portal…. Xbox twitter accounts from every national branch around the globe are spamming it non-stop in a plethora of languages. You can see a few examples at the bottom of this article if you’re curious.

While the campaign itself is not entirely a bad idea (you could almost say it’s necessary in this situation), the problem is in the fact that Microsoft had to do it to begin with. When a company tells me to “get the facts” on its product a month before its release and a considerable amount of time after said product has been introduced to the public scrutiny, my standard response is “you should have told me the facts earlier.”

It’s even slightly unsettling to be basically told “hey, you, ignorant and uninformed customer, get your facts straight.” I guess mainstream consumers that haven’t followed the console’s (mis)adventures from its inception may not perceive that, but as an informed gamer it’s hard not to raise an eyebrow at the message.

The fact that Microsoft is now forced to basically shove “the facts” down our throats in such an insistent way is a not so silent admission that they completely messed up in doing so earlier.

The early hoopla with the draconian policies (most of which have been long rectified) and the “forced” purchase of Kinect in every console’s box have created a muddled marketing message that has few precedents (at least on this kind of scale) in this industry, and Microsoft is still struggling in setting things straight.

The whole thing represents a harsh lesson that not only Microsoft, but the whole industry (and not just this industry) should pay very close attention to: keep things simple, deliver your message on said things simply and as soon as possible. Even more importantly, have it delivered by people that actually know what they’re talking about.

Luckily, not every consequence of the early Xbox One messaging and policy hoopla has been negative. The “Get the facts” campaign is definitely not the only element born from it. Until a few months ago most of the company’s messaging was delivered by its marketing executives, that often didn’t really mind giving self-contradicting and inaccurate statements in order to appease the journalists they were talking to, only to turn around and blame said writers (most of which are veterans of the industry doubtlessly gifted with at least decent hearing and understanding) for reporting their words inaccurately.

Now Microsoft shifted gears, and we see more hands-on execs like Microsoft Game Studios President Phil Spencer and Director of Product Planning Albert Penello taking the podium and actually explaining with a good degree of clarity the relevant information we need to know. They’re most definitely more knowledgeable on the ins and outs of the console and of its games, and even quite a bit more likable.

While I wouldn’t really like to be in their shoes, having to clean up the mess made by their predecessors, it’s good to see that Microsoft learned a lesson that Sony had to learn as well before them. In fact a sizable percentage of PlayStation’s message is now delivered by SCE Worldwide Studios President Shuhei Yoshida, who is basically in Spencer’s same position on the other side of the trench.

As usual, mistakes can either result in stubborn self-repetition, or in learning and improving. While I’m not sure that the “Get the Facts” campaign really qualifies as an improvement due to its condescending and patronizing tones, seeing Spencer, Penello and others that actually have an active part in creating the console and its games, taking the stage and at least in part replacing the marketing talking heads is definitely a good step in the right direction.

Join the Discussion

  • In all honesty, the Xbox One unveiling event back in the spring could have gone completely different (with minimal backlash) had it just been presented correctly. Instead of focusing on what was necessary (like always online, at the time), the attention should have been shifted towards the value that such connectivity would provide.

    Instead of focusing on a mainstream audience through their NFL partnership and TV programming, it should have been based on what made the Xbox brand what it is today: the games.

    Gamers are among the most vocal, core players especially. And by ignoring that audience, MS found themselves in the predicament they’re currently in.

    TL;DR Microsoft should have talked games and while we’re at it don’t tell me why I can’t use it without the internet, tell me why I wouldn’t want to not use it without the internet.

    • HalfBlackCanadian

      Agreed. A lot of harm was done in not being explicit about why things were they way they were and what the benefit to the gaming community those things were.
      I don’t specifically think that the media centre focus was wrong, but maybe they should have just done an extended pre-E3 thing. The wait between the two really made it seem like games were a back-burner element.

    • andy

      And now for a lot of people (people who were long time Xbox fans), they will NEVER forget what Microsoft tried to unnecessarily enforce. How are they going to make the projected profits back that they had planned for 2013/2014? I would be VERY weary about buying an Xbox One, for the rest of the console’s life.
      And I believe this is the way it is for a lot of people.

      • Slay

        You believe wrong. Xbox will slay the competition.

        • Slay’sCommentHistory

          I don’t need to tell myself the facts. It’s written in stone hunny.

    • oofy

      I think Microsoft overestimated their clout with gamers. Sadly, Nintendo fell into this hole when they were in first place and so did Sony.

      • Bankai

        It’s sad that they felt they could get away with this when they weren’t in first place, not that they would have got away with it anyway. Sony and Nintendo are better as a result of their failures and hopefully it’s the same for Microsoft.

    • Slay

      Maybe you should stop living the Amish lifestyle and actually get decent job that can provide you with good internet connection. Spending your time being a worthless mod (not much of a career goal or beneficial to society in any way) and sitting on your voluminous ass all day instead of getting a real man’s job is probably why you are one of the complainers. Try becoming a doctor, lawyer, or vet and then you will be able to speak, hunty. Get slayed.

      • Thankless

        Virtue is its own reward.

        • Slay

          sitting on your ass isn’t a reward.

          • BloodyImmigrant

            Hey that’s an idea. Let’s work for the American Government! 🙂

  • HalfBlackCanadian

    “The facts” have to be shoved down peoples throats because “The mis-information” is still being actively used by opposing parties. I have never seen so many articles/opinion pieces focused on a now 4-month gone set of policies. Everyone feels the need to remind people that once upon a time there were negative features that no longer exist.

    It sounds like this:

    “America, land of the free – except that one time where we raped and stole from the Native people, but that has since been done away with (but it could come back…)”

    • Russell Gorall

      The fact that they once did exist is telling. You should take this argument up with Microsoft.

      • HalfBlackCanadian

        What augment? I have no argument. I had no problem with the way everything was during E3.

        • Russell Gorall

          You have no augment or argument?

          What they did at E3 was the problem, ie, read any gaming google page from E3 until a week after.

          You have a problem with mis-information, not a word, but you have a problem with anyone who parallels that information handed down by Microsoft? If you have no prob with it, just admit Microsoft will probably do the always on DRM again.

          Take that problem up with Microsoft, or plead with them to bring it back. Sorry, I was not initially trying to sound weird. I just think as far as trust Microsoft has some work to do now, just like Sony did after PSN was ransacked in early 2011. I want vision from both, and I have complaints against Sony for their pathetic launch lineup that dwindles every day and Microsoft for their vision and fusion with customers.

          • HalfBlackCanadian

            Argument. Excuse the typo.
            I also saw that nobody liked the idea of server based DRM ie PC gaming prior to 2011 Steam.
            My problem is that now/currently/today the server based ownership verification for disc based content is gone but every chance someone gets they make mention of it like its still there. It isn’t. Each disc has the same verification that has been on all past consoles that uses discs. If you buy a disc, the legitimacy gets verified right there.
            The only form that any of this can return is for digital purchases, but for consoles it has always been that way. MS still has an all digital future in its sights, so it will push the benefits of the old system they wanted to implement (quick switching, family share, full library wherever a user goes) by way of digital purchases over physical.
            So yes, it’s coming back. No, it will not effect anyone who buys exclusively games on disc.

  • Final Fantasy Fanatic

    This is so stupid.

    What is this going to accomplish? Nothing. Why not put that into good use, real advertisement, I can’t believe I’m going to say this but Sony has been advertising the PS4 way harder than Microsoft.

    • ShowanW

      Not hey haven’t ads have been equal for both Sony and Microsoft. How about driving around and looking up. there are both equal amounts of PS4 and Xbox One ads. And equal amounts of Mountain Dew/Doritos ads and Taco Bell ads.

  • ShowanW

    This article is whack… I showed it to the non gamers at work and they simply took it as a PSA… Gamers need to get off their high horse and realize they are NOT the majority… Just the ones that will drink the Kool-Aid First… Those who are casual and “Timmy’s Mom” are the majority.

    Guess what… Microsoft’s pre-order numbers are pretty decent and half the people who did pre-order a One did not know that Microsoft had “screwed up” during the early showing of the Xbox One, or just didn’t flat out care.

    This article is just someone hampering on about what Microsoft did months ago, with a product that ISN’T even on store shelves yet… If they listened to consumers and reversed course, then let it go. At least they listened, and took proper action.

    • Benjamin Ibbetson

      Agreed. The amount of times I see people saying on forums ‘Microsoft should make their message clear’. The minute they do it’s ‘Microsoft is being patronising by shoving the message down your throats’. No one is forcing you to buy Kinect either. Don’t want it? Buy a PS4.

      The only motivation for this article is to join the Xbox One hate train. We get it. You like the PS4. Great, good choice it looks to be a powerful machine that’s likely to have some good games on it. I like the look of the Xbox One and you know what? That’s ok we’re allowed to have different preferences. I just don’t feel the need to justify my choice by implying the other console’s marketing campaign is a joke.

    • You are flat out wrong

      “Consumer ignorance is why Xbone will do great”

      This gen is gonna be wonderful.

  • miyamotomusashi94

    Please help burry the grayish Xbone skull and bones.

    How can anyone support such an evil company that is slowly killing millions of people under their noses?

    We will not contribute a single cent to Bill Gates’ and Microsoft’s Depopulation Agenda.

    We will not be responsible accomplices for the deaths of millions of people that gets killed slowly by Gate’s Geoengineering Chemtrails and GMO Genetically Modified Organisms like corn and mosquitoes.

    M$ is your killing joke.

    Its not even about games anymore its about the life or death of millions of souls around the world.

    We will do whatever is necessary to bring the Microsoft brand down and dead starting with the Xbox.

    I hope you open your eyes to reality and not be stuck on Microsoft’s Matrix.

    • Benjamin Ibbetson

      Please remove that foil hat. You’re scaring me.

    • Slay

      You are almost as delusional as a Westboro Baptist Church member… almost.

    • David Rodriguez


  • Slay

    Xbox is coming to slay all of your favorites. Slllayyyy hunty slayyyyyy. Yaaassss!

  • Synthetic Construct

    After some time has passed most people won’t even remember most of this. I don’t notice anyone still whining about a $600 PS3 or the PSN outage…

  • You are flat out wrong

    I support this initiative to help people make an informed choice. Let me suggest my own addition:

    “Get the facts: despite their best attempts to paper over the cracks at E3, Xbox One has no games.

    • Slay

      ps4 has no games, unless you want indies that are already on the pc.
      I’ll get to play my xbox one exclusives on release day.
      You’ll just have to wait for more and more delays on the one and only… WAITSTATION. 🙂

      • You are flat out wrong

        What exclusives? Oh, you mean those 360 ports no one wants running at sub-1080p? What a blunder. ^_^

    • HalfBlackCanadian

      You’re aware, I’m sure, that three of the PS4 launch titles are current gen games, two of which are on 360 as well, and that 10-15 of the rest are on Steam and that most will likely also hit Xbox One at some point?

  • Carlos

    This reminds me of Jaguar’s “Do the Math.” Basically telling every console gamer they were idiots for sticking to their 16bit consoles. Hopefully the XBox One won’t go the way of the Jaguar or the 3DO, the gaming market needs competition to stay strong.

  • Stranger On The Road

    Oh well, I decided to cancel the Day One Edition (which I already got the guaranteed email for along with a free FIFA 2014). Instead I am going to wait for Halo Special edition, I am hoping that those mockup designs posted on DualShockers could become real.