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Ads, Games, and the Growing Complexity of Xbox Live

The lack of advertising for Mark of the Ninja upon its release really bothered me, and here's a few reasons why.

A look at Xbox Live’s front page over the past few weeks included a big, fat advertisement for Mark of the Ninja, quite possibly this year’s best release for the platform. When Mark of the Ninja was released on Friday, September 7, however, there wasn’t one. Okay, that’s not completely true--it was on the games tab.

This is what Xbox Live looked like the day after Mark of the Ninja launched on the service.

But who actually navigates to the games tab to learn about new content on Xbox Live? I don’t. Do you? We head to the games tab to purchase something we’ve already been convinced on.

Microsoft should be applauded for crafting an interface that, while rightfully scrutinized in recent revisions, can prove useful to the user and creator, and help expose them to one another. That’s not as easy to do on Wii or PlayStation 3, and having to open a store will always mean some never see it. It's an important distinction.

It’s frustrating, then, to turn on Xbox Live and see nothing but advertisements for movies and politics. (Though, good on Microsoft should for attempting to inform a demographic of the electorate that is historically finicky when it comes to voting.)

Ads promoting Mark of the Ninja, a Microsoft-published release, were nowhere to be found on Friday, September 7. It was Microsoft’s decision to publish Mark of the Ninja on that day. It was, then, up to Microsoft to give up one of its likely lucrative advertisements slots for it. And that’s where I'm guessing the rub is. Promoting Mark of the Ninja might end up with more sales for Mark of the Ninja, and thus more profit for Microsoft, but it’s not a guarantee. If no one clicks on the advertisement to download Snow White and the Huntsmen, Microsoft still pockets the ad money.

Yeah, Microsoft eventually gave Mark of the Ninja prominent placement on the dashboard, but like other media, games typically do their best business on the first day of release. It’s where you build momentum forward. Mark of the Ninja was released on a Friday, and that’s when reviews and social networks were buzzing about the game.

“Better late than never,” said Supergiant Games creative director Greg Kasavin to me Twitter.

Kasavin was responding to a photo (pictured above) where I showed relief that Mark of the Ninja was now promoted. Another user asked whether or not days later was a big deal, which Kasavin was quick to discuss.

“Late isn't a stretch,” he said. “Many games do their best business on the first day of release and then it's all downhill.”

If someone had seen an advertisement for Mark of the Ninja when booting up their Xbox 360 that night, maybe it would have helped pushed them over the edge. When a title's within the games tab (or, worse, buried in the games library), the chances of just finding something become more and more remote. These games deserve better.

Friday has become a new, unexpected slot for XBLA releases. Mark of the Ninja joins Fez, Joe Danger: The Movie, and others. In the TV world, having a show on Friday night is a death sentence, as many consumers are out enjoying the weekend. Discoverability is huge problem on XBL, and prominent ads are one way, albeit not a great one, to combat that. If a user boots their Xbox 360 once that weekend, possibly for a round of Call of Duty, that ad is vital.

Microsoft is under no obligation to make the front of Xbox Live wholly dedicated to video games, and I’m not expecting or asking them to. That said, video games are the reason Microsoft’s box is in a position to compete as an all-in-one media solution, the holy grail when it comes to today’s television, and the games aren't getting their due.

I asked Microsoft to provide some clarification on how its advertisements for self-published games are determined, and got this statement in response:

“We do not share the editorial details of how we determine promotional merchandising placement on the Xbox LIVE dashboard, which is separate from the paid advertising that appears on the service.”

...which is exactly the answer I expected, and I don't blame Microsoft for not saying anymore. Ads are determined on a game-by-game basis, and are often part part of contrats between Microsoft, both as a platform holder and a publisher. Getting ad placement can, for example, change the royalty share on a game. That's not true of every game, but it happens, and shows the kind of power Microsoft wields when it comes to discoverability on its service.

This isn’t the first time it's happened, and it probably won’t be the last (see: Joe Danger). I’m not sure why this particular situation incensed me so much. Maybe it's because I’ve heard similar stories of developers upset at the disconnect between the internal teams at Microsoft who handle game development and game promotion. Maybe it’s because Mark of the Ninja is just a damn good game, and it’d be an awful shame if more people didn’t play it.

More than anything, though, XBL has the power to expose great games to more people. It's a tool of money and power, and it has the ability to do more than I ever could. Can you fault me for wanting Microsoft to use it well?

Patrick Klepek on Google+
224 Comments
Posted by TadThuggish

Cancelled my gold subscription, haven't turned my Xbox on in months. With a PC and PS3, there's zero reason for me to own an Xbox, and I'd recommend the same for others. That's not some blind fanboy thing, as I feel well past that junior high crap. Microsoft just doesn't give me a reason to care. They're 2005 in 2012.

Posted by algertman

Did Patrick write this on his new iPhone 5?

Posted by AssInAss

Finally, an article about this. Thank you, Patrick. I really hope Microsoft amps up the advertising of their games to the level of Steam, it's in their interest or they'll be left in the dust and every indie dev will move over to the more lucrative PC space.

Posted by ABK_92

Mark of the Ninja is a dull game though. Why don't you play a good stealth game?

Edited by pingolobo

I didn't know Microsoft was within it's right to place all those ads on my paid, gold membership. I don't like it one bit and I feel powerless against it.

I have no favorite console though I can't deal with the PS3's constant and slow system updates or it's Cell Processor's clash with video-game ports.

My Nintendo Wii has been gathering dust for years now and I don't see myself playing it anymore. I have been trying to get a gaming PC so I can take all my business to Steam but I realized that I am extremely bad with computers and their drivers and software troubleshooting.

Still, I guess I'm gonna have to learn because the 720 promises to be even more advertisement and kinnect focused.

Posted by Vegetable_Side_Dish

microsoft still not matching dat xmb after all these years #amateur #whatsoftwarecompany 

Edited by RedRocketWestie

, you're not wrong in the assertion that games historically sell the most at release and then taper off, but there are some assumptions embedded in that observation that deserve examination. For instance, is it fair to look at release date as a sole factor in the shape of the sales graph, divorced from the PR cycle? That is to say, is the shape of the graph the same when the promotional slot comes 3 days later, or does the new ad give a sales bump?

Assuming there are two kinds of customers -- those who've heard of the game and already decided to buy it on release day, and those who hear about it through advertising and decide to buy it -- why should it necessarily matter that the ad came "late"? The first group is already sold, so the ad can only serve to remind them. If they forget on release day, it will still serve that purpose later. As far as the second group is concerned, the game was released when they heard about it. It's a digital product, so it's not like lukewarm sales could convince a retailer to pull shelf space, and it's not as though positive reviews disappeared during that time. Is the supposition that there's a significant number of people who look at an ad, read a positive review, then decide not to buy it only because the review was 3 days old? Again, I don't know what the shape of the graph looks like, but the vast majority of historical data comes from PR cycles that are synced with release, so it might be hard to know.

It seems more realistic to me that the decision by Microsoft to hold off on advertising the product is deliberate and shrewd. As you stated, they get guaranteed revenue from 3rd party ads. And in the meantime, they can gauge the eventual success of a promotion for a game by the number of sales it gets without advertising, as a proportion of total expected sales after they run the ad. I.e. "this game sold x copies on Friday based on hype alone. Our marginal return for additional sales if we advertise it can be expected to be y, which is greater than the revenue for selling that space to a movie ad." It saves them the lost revenue if the game is a flop despite advertising, and I can't think of a way it loses them significant sales if it's a success.

I don't have any of this data. You might. Microsoft definitely does. But if you're really worried about the way they're treating their marketplace, maybe it's worth digging a bit deeper.

Posted by starfurydysan

@umbaglo: Yeah the Vita, NOT the main console the PS3, that sounds very logical.

I don't see the XBL subscription fee as a "tax". I see it as paying for the upkeep for servers that provide me with an online service that is reliable, secure, and consistent through out all the games I play, and help to connect with the people I want to. I pay for the servers to play the game in the same way I pay for renting out the tennis court at my community centre or gym. I have the tennis balls and rackets (the software) to play but I want to know that the court I play is good & maintained (the server). You might see ONLINE multiplayer as core but I see it as an EXTRA because you could play that game OFFLINE multiplayer but to play with others ONLINE requires a server, and that server to stay up need to be maintained by a human. If it is free they have no financial obligation to have good upkeep, and at some point the someone has to be paid to maintain it or they get rid of it (see EA game servers). If I pay for it to be up I know they have an obligation that the service has to be up.

Also the discounts and free games is a farce, you don't own those game once you stop paying, and the discounts on games are not going to last as a feature in the long run given Sony's financial situation.

Until Sony brings PSN/PS+ up to parity, quality, & consistency to services provided by XBL, they cannot be really compared.

Posted by iAmJohn

@gizmo88 said:

It's very hard to take this article seriously, knowing that Greg Kasavin used to work at Gamespot. I have a very strong feeling this article would not exist if that was not the case.

Greg Kasavin had nothing to do with Mark of the Ninja.

Edited by DrDarkStryfe

When the minimum cost of ad space on Xbox Live is $40,000, it is no surprise that Microsoft will use that space in such a way.

Ben Kuchera dug into the cost of advertising on Xbox Live recently, and it is a pretty good read. When you dig into the economics of it all, it makes much more sense to let someone else pay for that space, than use it for your own gain.

Hell, Microsoft just hired a former CBS executive to head an original content production team for streaming on Xbox Live. Microsoft is hell bent on turning the system into a multimedia box, where gaming is just a piece of the puzzle. They, like a lot of other companies in this industry, are looking for other ways to generate revenue outside of the packaged product.

Posted by cancerdancer

"and are often part part of contrats between Microsoft"

PROOF READ YOUR SHIT.

Posted by mercury228

I dont mind multimedia stuff on xbox live like netflix and hbo go, but they have lost me as a customer. I have a badass gaming pc and will never look back. xbox just is not that great in my opinion anymore.

Posted by C0V3RT

I think you make a good point, Patrick, but back when this hit the fan, my honest reaction was, "Does anyone honestly use the dashboard to discover games in the first place?"

I'd imagine that there are more people like me who have trusted internet personalities or sites like Giantbomb that turn our attention to games like Mark of the Ninja vs selecting an advertisement to learn more about a game. That leaves out people who are more casual and don't follow gaming personalities or check out gaming sites, but I'd venture to guess those people aren't playing XBLA games regardless.

Posted by KaneRobot

@ABK_92 said:

Mark of the Ninja is a dull game though. Why don't you play a good stealth game?

You aren't funny.

Posted by smithz2

@Nightriff said:

Agreed, one reason why I don't use my 360 anymore is because of their focus on anything but video games. Without us they wouldn't be in the position they are in and I feel like they have left us out to dry. I moved over to my PS3 a few years ago and have picked up PC gaming a few months ago. I want games Microsoft, not stupid movies and music videos.

This descibes my exact same trajectory. I stopped using my 360 and went solely to the PS3 because of things like the dashboard being full of ads, paying for a Gold membership, tiny proprietary hard drives (I had a 20 gig launch 360), RROD, etc. From 2009-2012 I was a PS3 gamer and about 4 months ago I built a gaming PC and I am loving Steam. Really glad I took the road of Vinny and Brad with a gaming PC hooked up to a 40" TV.

Posted by Helios1337

My gold subscription is up for renewal again next month and I won't be renewing. Between the quality of the PC ports and the non-gaming related advertisements plastered all over the new dashboard, I just don't use the 360 anymore.

Posted by Odog4ever

Thing is that there is a finite amount of screen real estate. Even if the landing dashboard screen was dedicated totally to games many would fall through the cracks.

People don't depend solely on the dashboard to find out about games. There is word of mouth, TV/internet ads, and outlets like Giant bomb that inform people about possible purchases. I use Steam more that I play my Xbox but I don't comb steam's front page looking for games everyday If I hear about something worth playing, from the bombcast for example, then I'll take a look and maybe something else may catch my eye while I'm there.

Smaller games just have to work harder to get noticed and not depend solely on one avenue, like a dashboard front-page, to get noticed.

Posted by habibyjohnson

Perhaps you should explore the possibility that you Giantbomb guys are way too obssessed with mark of the Ninja? Does Xbox really need to promote the fuck out of it everywhere? Calm down Patrick, shit.

Posted by Snail

@Snipper138 said:

It says "Kavain" instead of Kasavin somewhere in there.

If only that were the only typo. For some reason this article is full of them. At least five I think.

Still an interesting read, and I don't even own an XBOX 360.

Posted by Crixaliz

I think PS3's spotlight channel is better than the Xbox dash. The front page on Xbox live rarely advertises a sale.

Ever since my Live subscription ran out, I disconnected the Xbox's internet connection. No more ads for me, just a big sign asking me to connect to Xbox live.

Posted by Sword5

Did one of Klepek's friends work on this game? His support for it has crossed a line from positive buzz to where it feels like he is working PR for Mark of the Ninja.

Who cares if it launched on Friday? I play games during the weekend and getting a game when I can actually play it sounds like a great deal to me. Besides, the games press has been behind this game in a weird way and I bet MotN was flooded with 5 star rating by the time any normal people saw its ad during the following week.

Posted by Cday

adbox live cashboard

Posted by EveretteScott

"But who actually navigates to the games tab to learn about new content on Xbox Live? I don’t. Do you?"

I do.

Posted by umbaglo

@starfurydysan: The money you pay for your XBL Gold account doesn't go towards maintaining game servers. Game servers are run by the individual game companies themselves, which pay for them through their own game sales. For example, just look at EA; they shut down old game servers for ALL platforms at once when the concurrent user count for them goes below 1% of all users across their entire collection. If MS was the one fronting the bill, wouldn't THEY be the ones to shut the servers down? Wouldn't the 360 versions of those games remain online when the PS3 and PC versions shut down? Clearly if it's not costing EA anything, there's no monetary reason to shut down the 360 ones, and it even entices players to purchase for 360 instead (possibly even as a second copy; more money for them!).

But that isn't the case. EA clearly states that they maintain the servers themselves. If it pays for any server architecture, your Gold subscription only pays for MS's own XBL servers... a service that Sony has shown they can do for free (and which Nintendo is seeming to claim to offer for the Wii U as well). Remember, the PS3 isn't not offering cross-game chat because it's expensive. It's not offering it because the PS3 doesn't have enough memory for it; that's why the Vita has more RAM then the PS3.

And with so few games having offline multiplayer these days, I don't see how you could claim that online isn't core. If you want to multiplayer, you do it online these days.

Posted by starfurydysan

@umbaglo: Well we have to disagree, paying for ONLINE multiplayer is core to a ONLINE service and XBL is worth my money and PS+ is not even worth talking about until Sony cleans it up to been even worth a cent.

Posted by Dagbiker

I agree, I used to turn my xbox on all the time, if not to play a game I owned then to perhaps find a game I might like, and buy it. But it has just become a hassle to use my xbox. I cant even play a game without navigating a menu. As opposed to last dashboard where I could just start my Xbox and push A.

Posted by EXTomar

Forget PSN and Steam. XBox Live is has issues that are all about how Microsoft is running XBox Live.

Posted by Clonedzero

this honestly doesn't bother me. i know its probably shitty, but i don't care. i got enough other shit to care about than the ad window on the xbox live dashboard lol

Posted by DasUberOgre

As people have pointed out, the Beta version of the dashboard from what I have seen on the internets does push most, if not all, not game advertising off to the smaller sides. I think I even recall someone mentioning that Mark of the Ninja WAS being promoted on the Beta dashboard the day it came out.

Posted by BoOzak

While I hate the way the xbox dashboard has evolved over the years, it's not a mystery. Big companys have always worked on a risk reward basis fueling things that have a high chance of success while neglecting things that dont. Granted MotN probably didnt cost much to produce but it's a low key relatively niche game.

I think the main problem here is Microsoft doing what it's been doing for the last few years, neglecting it's core fanbase to appeal to the mass market. Which sucks, but buisness is buisness. Microsoft seem to think it's fans will just accept being treated like crap and they're right. At least until Sony can match MS's online ecosystem.

Posted by DrRandle

I actually think the xbox interface is the most horrid of the three systems. I prefer the Wii and Playstations less intrusive use of space. I don't want to be advertised to. If I'm looking for something, I'll do my own research. It's much better than having to wade through a bunch of garbage I couldn't give a shit less about. The fact that it's so hard to even find anything about games on the Xbox interface shows how terrible it is.

Never mind the fact that I (used to) pay Microsoft to receive those ads, as well as their 'premium services' like Netflix. I've since moved on to Sony where I'm not lambasted with crap I don't care about, I can watch my Netflix without paying additional fees, and I can just have a more seamless experience.

Posted by Dinosaurs

If I'm remembering correctly this is exactly what Microsoft wanted the 360 to be from day one. The one stop shop for living room entertainment. Getting upset over them not focusing entirely on games seems silly if their goal was multimedia. I can see the argument of having ads on an internet service you pay for is greasy but not for having a late advertisement for content that will always be there a week later. Just because the ad wasn't put up on the same day as release doesn't mean it won't entice the same people it would have on that launch day.

Posted by klinkcow

Klepek killing it again! Thanks for this story. Games like Mark of the Ninja deserve to get the spotlight on your console. It may be premature, but it's currently my GOTY and I love it finally getting this attention. Thanks again, and good job!

Posted by heatDrive88

Is there a legitimately good reason why they serve paid ads on the Dashboard indiscriminately on Xbox Live regardless of Gold or Silver membership?

Or is the reason still pretty much they do it because users will put up with it regardless of such?

Posted by 2HeadedNinja

@heatDrive88 said:

Is there a legitimately good reason why they serve paid ads on the Dashboard indiscriminately on Xbox Live regardless of Gold or Silver membership?

Or is the reason still pretty much they do it because users will put up with it regardless of such?

Yeah, its called "greed".

Posted by Supes

Interesting piece. I agree that it can be hard to find new games as they come out, to the point that I sometimes think I got the date wrong. As someone who keeps up to date on this stuff I know when something comes out and know to look for it, but more "casual" people might miss all of this stuff. A shame, especially since I pay for a gold membership and still see nothing but ads.

Posted by klinkcow

@Supes said:

Interesting piece. I agree that it can be hard to find new games as they come out, to the point that I sometimes think I got the date wrong. As someone who keeps up to date on this stuff I know when something comes out and know to look for it, but more "casual" people might miss all of this stuff. A shame, especially since I pay for a gold membership and still see nothing but ads.

I couldn't agree more. When the 2nd Walking Dead episode came out, I almost needed a walkthrough to figure out where to actually purchase it. I probably clicked around for 2- 3 minutes... it's a pretty interesting setup.

Posted by fiberpay

I would argue that the same thing you said about the game tab ad applies to the main page ad as well. Who actually buys a game because its advertised on the main page? Also, if what you said is true about a game doing most of its business on the release day, that would mean that people already know about the game and an ad on the front page of xbox live probably would not help it get more buys. You said it yourself, with reviews and social media buzzing about it why should microsoft advertise it when you do it for them and they can still get money from other ads.

Posted by Swoxx

Ads, Games, and the Growing Complexity of Giantbomb

Posted by Tru3_Blu3

I got really agitated when I couldn't find Dark Souls on the Xbox 360 games library. It's like Microsoft didn't even know about the damned game, and I felt bad for the developers as they would gain very little profit from the quality game they made as no one was knowledgeable about it.

Online
Posted by Fram

This article reminded me of a couple of weeks ago when I saw this on the Aussie dashboard. Tell me this is an efficient use of ad space.

Posted by EvilKatarn
But who actually navigates to the games tab to learn about new content on Xbox Live? I don’t. Do you? We head to the games tab to purchase something we’ve already been convinced on.

I tend to check it out every once in a while.

Online
Posted by Twiggy199

"But who actually navigates to the games tab to learn about new content on Xbox Live? I don’t. Do you?"

I check the games marketplace before i do anything; G.O.D., Indie and Arcade games. So i don't really care, also i think the people who wanted to buy the game knew when it was coming out and knew exactly where to find it, they didn't need a name up in lights and a let me google that for you on the home page. Be grateful you don't have to go out to a store. Besides, that slot on the dashboard would not sell me that game. I'll tell you what does need sorting out, the game add-ons page on the marketplace, just got to it now for me, it might aswel be called 'The Rockband 3 Marketplace'. i'd say 45 out of 50 products are Rockbands 3's, They have the full song and the trial song for every...song, check it!.

Posted by downtime58

I think Patrick's article highlights one aspect of a what could be described as Microsoft's realignment of its online services via Xbox Live.

When the 360 first launched, it was a game machine - and one that Microsoft was intent on making competitive with Sony and Nintendo by offering ease-of-use (particularly for multi-player games) and unique content (like the small video-casts from Major Nelson).

Now at the end of the adoption curve, the 360 has evolved into a multimedia platform, which gives rise to a plethora of competing items. Additionally, Microsoft has its captive audience and doesn't seem concerned about selling the value of Xbox Live any longer - so we said goodbye to unique content and hello to more ways to monetize the system through ads.

Whether Microsoft continues down this path with the next generation I think largely depends on its competitive position - and more importantly - its core audience's willingness to put up with the recent shenanigans. Outside of a significant base of people taking their dollars elsewhere, Microsoft's not likely to change.

Posted by Shingro

@starfurydysan: I don't think there's really anything to disagree about, Umb was just stating the facts of the situation, none of your gold subscription maintains any online servers except perhaps ad servers. As for it being a core service, MS is completely unique in the industry in charging for multiplayer. In a way, it's not really 'theirs' to charge for, the individual companies are the ones programming it and footing the bill for maintenance. Rather then paying your country club for use of their area, you're paying the local gang for use of their road to get to the club =P

Also don't ytd PS+ members have like, $300 or so worth of free major games tied to their accounts now? What do gold users have? I'm not sure I'd use that particular element if you want to feed your confirmation bias =P

Posted by unholyone123

I still love my 360, but Microsoft has become increasingly arrogant about the way they do things. I remember when the Xbox 360 first launched. It was all about the games. Now they are basically pushing out the very people that made their system a success in the first place. They're almost at the same level that Sony was at post PS2/pre-PS3. We all know how well that mentality worked out for them right? If anything, Microsoft should learn from Sony and not think that just because your current system is a success, the next system is a "sure thing" because its not. I'm seriously reconsidering buying Microsofts next system.

While we're on the subject...remember when this was enough?

Posted by Twiggy199

@umbaglo said:

@starfurydysan: The money you pay for your XBL Gold account doesn't go towards maintaining game servers. Game servers are run by the individual game companies themselves, which pay for them through their own game sales. For example, just look at EA; they shut down old game servers for ALL platforms at once when the concurrent user count for them goes below 1% of all users across their entire collection. If MS was the one fronting the bill, wouldn't THEY be the ones to shut the servers down? Wouldn't the 360 versions of those games remain online when the PS3 and PC versions shut down? Clearly if it's not costing EA anything, there's no monetary reason to shut down the 360 ones, and it even entices players to purchase for 360 instead (possibly even as a second copy; more money for them!).

But that isn't the case. EA clearly states that they maintain the servers themselves. If it pays for any server architecture, your Gold subscription only pays for MS's own XBL servers... a service that Sony has shown they can do for free (and which Nintendo is seeming to claim to offer for the Wii U as well). Remember, the PS3 isn't not offering cross-game chat because it's expensive. It's not offering it because the PS3 doesn't have enough memory for it; that's why the Vita has more RAM then the PS3.

And with so few games having offline multiplayer these days, I don't see how you could claim that online isn't core. If you want to multiplayer, you do it online these days.

Im pretty sure it's only E.A. that have their own servers (most go with Microsoft's servers, maybe not all), which are rubbish. They shut their servers down when there are 2 or more games to replace that service, ala Fifa 08's servers shutdown when Fifa 11 came out. I Believe we do pay a fee for better servers than any other platform, also a better service.

Posted by ShiftyMagician

@unholyone123 said:

I still love my 360, but Microsoft has become increasingly arrogant about the way they do things. I remember when the Xbox 360 first launched. It was all about the games. Now they are basically pushing out the very people that made their system a success in the first place. They're almost at the same level that Sony was at post PS2/pre-PS3. We all know how well that mentality worked out for them right? If anything, Microsoft should learn from Sony and not think that just because your current system is a success, the next system is a "sure thing" because its not. I'm seriously reconsidering buying Microsofts next system.

While we're on the subject...remember when this was enough?

I always loved how nonsensically hardcore the design of the UI was for the Xbox. Hell compared to the PS2 at the time I felt it was the superior console interface in that generation.

Posted by tourgen

The dashboard situation on the current xbox has moved me from a "day 1 buy" to, at best, a "wait and see with extreme skepticism" for the next xbox.

It is not OK to show me ads on the first screen I see after turning it on.

It's not OK to force that situation on me with system updates.

If I had the option I would have opted not to update my dashboard, but it's required to patch games and play online. Dashboard updates are unrelated to playing online or applying game patches. Dashboard updates should be optional add-on downloads. It's just a dumb GUI (now with shitty ads).

If current trends continue Sony is the only real option next generation. So far they've been doing the right things.