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  1. #1
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    Jesse Schell: Xbox, PlayStation and the Innovator's Dilemma

    "There's one mistake that they all make, and that mistake is listening to their customers"

    Schell Games


    At the start of this year, many would have chosen Microsoft as the early leader going into the next generation. Nintendo was struggling to gather momentum with the Wii U, Sony was struggling to keep its console business in the black, and yet Microsoft was enjoying dominance and profitability, month after month, in both retail and online. When predicting the balance of power in the next generation,

    Xbox would have seemed to be the smartest bet. But if you asked the same people the same question today, the answer might well be different.
    So who will lead in the next generation? It's a question that Jesse Schell - the prominent game designer, author and the founder of Schell Games - has spent a great deal of time contemplating, and it is the focus of his talk at Barcelona's Gamelab conference.

    "When people make bad predictions about technology, it's not because they don't understand technology - it's because they don't understand psychology"

    "The answer's not obvious," he says when we meet later. "Last time round, there were people who picked PlayStation 3, and that was wrong - very wrong. But when people make bad predictions about what happens with technology, it's not because they don't understand technology - it's because they don't understand psychology.
    "If you understand the technology and you understand the human mind, you can predict the future. You can tell what is going to happen."

    According to Schell, this is at the root of Microsoft's mistakes with the Xbox One. It understood the needs of its partners, and its own needs as a business, but it badly misjudged the psychology of its customers. It is the classic innovator's dilemma: the market will change, and the customer will respond positively to that change, but the customer won't necessarily allow the current leader to be the one to make that change happen.
    "Your customers want you to stay the same, even if it drives you into the ground," Schell says. "Somehow, Microsoft didn't seem to think that would be a reality, or even a problem.

    "The reality is that they can't do what the customers want. Basically, Microsoft said, 'We're going to be Steam. You like Steam, don't you?' And we all said, 'No, we hate that. We hate you. You're an idiot to do that.'

    "They came out and said, 'We're gonna do this new thing.' And the customers said, 'No, we don't want that, we hate that' - even though it's what they really want and what they will ultimately buy. So now Microsoft has had to say they won't do all that stuff, but someone will.

    "our customers want you to stay the same, even if it drives you into the ground"

    "That's how it always goes. This is the lesson of the innovator's dilemma. Why is it that big companies fail when the technology changes? It happens in every industry, so what's the pattern? What are they all doing wrong? Everyone says, 'Oh, it's because they're stupid. Big companies are stupid.' They can't be stupid. How did they get that big and stay that big if they're stupid? Microsoft isn't stupid.
    "There's one mistake that they all make, and that mistake is listening to their customers."

    But that's precisely what Microsoft has done. In the last few weeks, it has altered or removed almost every feature of the Xbox One that truly distinguished it from both its competitors and the current generation of hardware. Microsoft wanted to demonstrate boldness in the face of a rapidly changing market, but it did too

    much, too soon and with too heavy a hand. The problem for Microsoft, Schell explains, is that while the subsequent outcry came from a relatively small section of the gaming audience, it is nevertheless impossible to ignore. Microsoft may prove to be correct about what console needs to be in the digital world, but that's irrelevant when it comes to the psychology of the consumer.

    "The problem is that the hardcore folks always want the same thing: 'We wantexactly what you gave us before, but it has to be completely different.'
    "When you want to do something really different - the solution to the innovator's dilemma - you can't take your big brand and say it's going to be completely different. You need to set up something up on the side, and big companies are hesitant to do that. It's how Valve could do it [with Steam], because they had nothing before.

    "The thing that's going to make the biggest difference in the next four years is that someone's going to come out with a great gaming tablet"

    "I suspect that we're going to end up in that world. Are we going to end up there on these consoles? I don't know. It could be that some dark horse shows up. It could be that Apple shows up. It could be that somebody finds a better way."

    And if Schell is sure of one thing, it's that the console companies are in need of a better way. The PlayStation 3 and the the Xbox 360 launched before iOS, before the explosion of casual games on social networks and smartphones, before the emergence of free-to-play as a force in Europe and North America, and at the shallow end of Steam's trajectory as the dominant power in PC gaming. These new consoles are Microsoft and Sony's first real opportunity to respond to those changes, and yet E3 and the events that followed left Schell feeling less than confident in their direction.

    "E3 convinced me that they are going to be struggling," he says. "I haven't seen anything that made me think, 'Yeah, you're gonna get that market share back.' I'm convinced that all [of the consoles] are going to have a gradually eroding market share over the coming years. Because tablets are going to be eating their lunch more and more, and other platforms are going to start to take off and catch fire.

    "The thing that's going to make the biggest difference in the next four years, say, is that someone's going to come out with a
    great gaming tablet - a really grade-A tablet for games. Exactly what that means I don't know; I suspect it has a separate hand controller, and I'm sure that it connects up to your TV no problem. I don't know who's going to make that, but it doesn't smell like Microsoft, Sony or..... well, maybe, who knows what Nintendo has up its sleeve, right?"
    http://www.gamesindustry.biz/article...vators-dilemma
    Last edited by claud3; 08-05-2013 at 11:12.
    Plato and Aristotle, a detail of The School of Athens, a fresco by Raphael. Aristotle gestures to the earth, representing his belief in knowledge

  2. #2
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    Jesse Schell - the prominent game designer, author and the founder of Schell Games
    He sounds like the only employee too trolololol
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  3. #3
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    like steam?...This guy is full of $#@!. MS was not going to have steam-like game sales. That's what most gamers like about steam(from what I always see on forums).
    Last edited by Two4DaMoney; 08-05-2013 at 15:05.


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    The guy speaks truth.

    We had one console that was trying to respond to the market and do different $#@! to stay relevant. Now we have the same two consoles with nothing fundamentally different in how they operate from the one's that released in 2005 and 06. All because of the loud minority of crying (or should I say rigid) $#@!s on the internet.

    An 8 year wait and all I get is a higher spec console. At least Kinect is mandatory to offer a different experience from this inevitable boring upcoming generation.

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    Steam takes place in a competitive environment, which drives low prices. The Xbox One is a closed environment where prices would stay the same.

    Completely different.

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    Albeit nothing was mentioned about how everything ms was trying to do was forcing it down the throats of consumers rather than let a gradual change occur. I will never support digital download only content. I suspect this guy wants things to go digital only. I don't agree with that. But then again I could be wrong as I have never played a game from his company or so much as heard of him or any games that he has done so my knowledge is limited.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TrUe GaMeR View Post
    The guy speaks truth.

    We had one console that was trying to respond to the market and do different $#@! to stay relevant. Now we have the same two consoles with nothing fundamentally different in how they operate from the one's that released in 2005 and 06. All because of the loud minority of crying (or should I say rigid) $#@!s on the internet.

    An 8 year wait and all I get is a higher spec console. At least Kinect is mandatory to offer a different experience from this inevitable boring upcoming generation.
    Are you even serious?
    People should expect the quality for the games, not the consoles.
    The consoles don't need to change concept when the games improve as time passes.
    Your sig is too friggin' big. Please change it. ~ PSU Staff

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  11. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ixion View Post
    Steam takes place in a competitive environment, which drives low prices. The Xbox One is a closed environment where prices would stay the same.

    Completely different.
    Eventually, those prices would come down on xbox-one as well. I'm sure steam didn't start out with those dirt cheap prices.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Two4DaMoney View Post
    like steam?...This guy is full of $#@!. MS was not going to have steam-like game sales. That's what most gamers like about steam(from what I always see on forums).
    LOL did you see when AngryJoe (I think that's his name) did that interview with Don Mattick? He said something like.....

    AngryJoe -"But Xbox isn't going to have steam like sales"

    Don Mattick -"But well....."

    Angry joe -"oh come on, it isn't going to be as cheap as steam, come on man."

    That interview and angryjoe basically busted nuts on that about Microsoft providing steam like sales. We all know they wont.

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    Microsoft sales have already been pretty good. I don't see why "Steam like sales" are impossible given Steam like control.

    Actually, they were going for less control than Steam, but let's not let facts get in the way of the outrage.

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    Angry joe -"oh come on, it isn't going to be as cheap as steam, come on man."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sub-stance1 View Post
    Eventually, those prices would come down on xbox-one as well. I'm sure steam didn't start out with those dirt cheap prices.
    That's a highly unrealistic suggestion. This is all up to publishers and retailers to dictate. PC gaming is in a totally different possision than consoles and been for the last decade.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sub-stance1 View Post
    Eventually, those prices would come down on xbox-one as well. I'm sure steam didn't start out with those dirt cheap prices.
    Actually steam was always cheap and for consoles prices don't drop on games until they are just not selling anymore i doubt we will ever see full fledged brand new games on consoles at $30 when i say full fledged I mean non psn or xbox live type games disc only games. You may get the cheaper at Gamestop but places like Walmart and BestBuy are going to keep the highest price possible for the longest period of time and there will be no sales. Its been over 16 yrs and I've never seen a retail store do a sale on games unless its black friday.
    "I think all those developers who are saying, "We donít want to do a PS3 game," or "Itís really difficult to do it," should shut up and make their games. If you have time to complain about it, then you should be spending your time working on getting the most from the hardware."

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    Author is clearly from the land of SUVs and rampant obesity.

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    Quote Originally Posted by K2D View Post
    That's a highly unrealistic suggestion. This is all up to publishers and retailers to dictate. PC gaming is in a totally different possision than consoles and been for the last decade.
    The disc format increases costs for the consumer. Digital will cut that down a bit. Devs and publisher would probably get a larger cut of used digital sales rather than nothing with disc sales. This would allow them to lower the price and get all the profits instead of place like gamestop.
    Last edited by Sub-stance1; 08-07-2013 at 14:59.

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    First of, retailers wouldn't allow them to price below retail. Secondly you have the cost of having your game on XBL.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hood View Post
    Actually steam was always cheap and for consoles prices don't drop on games until they are just not selling anymore i doubt we will ever see full fledged brand new games on consoles at $30 when i say full fledged I mean non psn or xbox live type games disc only games. You may get the cheaper at Gamestop but places like Walmart and BestBuy are going to keep the highest price possible for the longest period of time and there will be no sales. Its been over 16 yrs and I've never seen a retail store do a sale on games unless its black friday.
    My local Walmart drops the price on games all the time.

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    for those who don't know who he is...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Disgustipated View Post
    Albeit nothing was mentioned about how everything ms was trying to do was forcing it down the throats of consumers rather than let a gradual change occur. I will never support digital download only content. I suspect this guy wants things to go digital only. I don't agree with that. But then again I could be wrong as I have never played a game from his company or so much as heard of him or any games that he has done so my knowledge is limited.
    And I quot from the article (plus my point I wanted to post any who )
    Microsoft wanted to demonstrate boldness in the face of a rapidly changing market, but it did toomuch, too soon and with too heavy a hand.
    What I've been saying this whole time.


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