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Edited by kmg90

I'll just leave this here

Let me pull a specific releavent section

This laser-like focus on advertising means that the space that used to be used to promote and share new games is gone. “Since the last big 360 Dashboard update, the presence of games, specifically unique XBLA has been severely demoted,” a developer who spoke on the condition of anonymity said. “This ain’t really cool, because promoting XBLA games is really difficult. Your audience is people who own an Xbox AND have it connected to the internet AND realize there are unique downloadable games on there (i.e. it isn’t just a Netflix and Madden machine) AND jump through the hurdles of adding MS moonbucks to their account AND can find actually your game on the console.”

Trying to get someone to jump through all those hoops is proving difficult, and it’s directly impacting the money developers can make on the system. “Unless there’s a link to your game on the front page, which is both tremendously expensive and will rarely last even a week, actually finding the games is a nightmare,” the developer explained. “Currently, you have to navigate past Home ... Social ... TV ... Video ... and finally to Games. Under Games, you need to select Games Marketplace. From there, you have to completely ignore everything under ‘Spotlight’ (which quizzically includes Games Showcase, Express Yourself, Most Wanted and New In Fun Labs, plus a giant ad right in the middle, and good luck figuring out what any of those things mean) and select a completely different submenu called simply ‘Games’ and then either select New or A-Z.”

With the way Microsoft has their dashboard mapped out, blame Klei Entertainment Inc. for not putting more money toward advertising their Microsoft published game on the dashboard...

Posted by fargofallout

I got into the beta for the new dashboard, and without getting into specifics, I will say that, since installing it, I have only turned on my 360 a few times. I'm sick of looking at ads for things I will never purchase, I'm sick of load times, and I'm sick of how slow the 360 is in general. I upgraded my PC around the same time I installed the next dashboard, and the combination of SSD and other hardware blows the 360 away. If the next Xbox doesn't at least have an SSD as an option. there is no way I will purchase it. I can't go back.

Posted by SethPhotopoulos

@starfurydysan said:

@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.

It's hard for me to think of it that way. I own both consoles and I've really seen no difference between matchmaking on either system. PC games do it for free, Sony does it for free, hell the Wii even does it for free, Your money either goes to the timed exclusive CoD DLC or the Dashboard revisions mostly. And they sure fucked up the dashboard. Even though you pay you still see political ads, film ads. tv ads, etc. You are also paying to use services you already have a subscription to like Netflix. I've used both versions and I think the PS3's Netflix interface while not great is better and you can access that without PS+. Really the only thing I see someone paying for is the Party chat which admittedly is a great feature that Sony fucked up with. Text chat rooms aren't the same and slow the games down on PS3.

Posted by vhold

Well, the only thing I take away from this story is that Patrick -really- likes Mark of the NInja and wants it to sell more copies.

Posted by Nugget

@Ramone: Says who?

Posted by Ramone

@Nugget said:

I dont see the issue, Me like millions of others, go on to Game marketplace every wednesday to check out what new Xbox live arcade release is out.

And fridays aswell since they started with that. And no i didnt buy the game...

Nope, that just does not happen.

Posted by Nugget

I dont see the issue, Me like millions of others, go on to Game marketplace every wednesday to check out what new Xbox live arcade release is out.

And fridays aswell since they started with that. And no i didnt buy the game...

Posted by Curufinwe

On the last Major Nelson podcast he claimed that he told the Summer of Arcade people they were crazy for not having Mark of the Ninja in that promotion.

Posted by starfurydysan

@Shingro: I meant we will have to agree to disagree, and was trying to end the conversation there.

Now XBL Gold does pay for server maintenance, which you are fooling your self if you think matchmaking servers or in some cases the game servers themselves are not maintained by MS at some point. As for the tennis analogy, the city that I live has the athletic centres that you pay a fee to use the courts which are maintained by the city, nothing towards road or some gang (knew if I used that analogy it would be taken by some to mean country club...). As for the free games $300 is the MSRP, you know they have such a markup to maintain a profit, it costs them next to nothing if the game was extremely old to make it "free". My main point is you don't OWN them when you stop the service, it just gives the illusion that you own the free games when in fact you are continuously renting them. And quite mature for ending your arguments with =P, clearly a game changer right there. No confirmation bias as I would pay for a good PS+ service and would love to see competition which lead to cheaper and better services in the market, but I put the blame on Sony for not responding to the preexisting XBL paid service with a feature set worth my money.

Again we will have to agree to disagree.

Posted by DrStrangepork

Good story. This is one of the issues that has soured me from playing on my 360. As many have said their direction is changing and gaming almost seems like an afterthought.

Edited by SomeJerk
@SpartanHoplite said:

Have not used my 360 in couple of years now, do they advertise politics on EU too, or is it only USA?

I hope that kind of heavy advertising wont come to ps3/4.

We get nothing, even if we're Gold customers in Europe paying far more than the equivalent of $60 US.
 
And Sony won't take that route, they're Japanese, but that hasn't stopped people from calling that tiny news-ticker of "Game X, Sale Y now on PSN!" advertising.
Posted by dropabombonit

Good story. My older brother loves stealth games and I had to tell him about the game and it then took him 5 mins to find it on the store, that is unacceptable

Posted by DedBeet

@MideonNViscera said:

Uh, I go to the games tab to check out new games. DLC comes on Tuesdays and games come on Wednesdays. I can't be the only one who knows of this pattern.

But you're not the consumer, then, that Patrick is concerned about. The article is about how bad Microsoft is at promoting games for people who aren't as tuned into the game releases. Personally, I doubt the PS3 is any better at this, but I really don't have any idea since I check their new releases on their blog every Tuesday.

Posted by dcgc

This is not news. New X360 Dashboards post-Blades were and are awful. At least the interface, that is. As a service itself (although being paid) it's still the best one. Wii has an almost nonexistent online service and PS3 online service has flaws compared to the competition (X360).

Posted by afrofools

The advertisements are, as we all know, to make money. Either directly from impressions by selling ad-space, or by informing people of content that they will buy. The advertisement's can be useful shortcuts when the next COD or whatever DLC people want comes out. They don't have to navigate the store, they just have to click the advertisement.

Microsoft will benefit when it begins to target advertisements to each individual user of the Xbox. At the moment the advertisements on the dashboard are basically a form of mass marketing. They should be identifying behaviours, grouping users, and targeting relevant advertisements. For example; I like to play Forza and Need for Speed, so they show me advertisements for car games. You play Battlefield and Halo, so they show you advertisements for Medal of Honour. Your cousin, she loves watching romantic comedies, so they advertise 'this means war' etcetera to her.

Google performs targeted advertising when you search the web. They know so much about you that they can tune the search results to what you are really looking for, and the advertisements that appear above the search are so-relevant they may as well be considered the top results.

Sure people will moan about their loss of privacy, but do you really want to be the skinny guy getting ads that explain how to lose weight? If you don't want advertisements you will need to play on the PC, but that won't last very long. If you are aware of recent device trends, everything is moving toward closed ecosystems with a single store. Eventually you will either have to buy all your games from a)Microsoft b)Apple, and C)Google(look up native client). Steam's coming to Linux, that's awesome... but not that many people use Linux, so it isn't viable for any non-indie company to make games for. So from either of the three vendors you pick, the will expose advertisements to you. Good luck finding your previous purchases on Microsoft's platform, you have a purchase history hidden somewhere with free content that makes your purchases hard to find. They can do what they want, there's nothing wrong with business.

Just be aware that you will be investing into an ecosystem if you haven't already, and you will have to wade through advertisements daily to get to any of your content. There's an ever-shrinking space that you can enjoy your freedoms. Subscriber agreements are already standard.

Edited by SpartanHoplite

Have not used my 360 in couple of years now, do they advertise politics on EU too, or is it only USA?

I hope that kind of heavy advertising wont come to ps3/4.

Posted by MideonNViscera

Uh, I go to the games tab to check out new games. DLC comes on Tuesdays and games come on Wednesdays. I can't be the only one who knows of this pattern.

Posted by Hitchenson

The fact you have to pay for a Gold membership is a joke, yet alone that they shove ads for bullshit down your throat too. Oh 360, you're so shi-- crazy.

Posted by Smithers

"The lack of advertising for Mark of the Ninja upon its released really bothered me"

Holy typos.

That aside, I think this article raises a really good point about the changing nature of games and multimedia, but it comes across as a little amateurish. It kinda just seems like you loved this game, you felt it was slighted by Microsoft and you've scrambled to write an article that backs up your feelings. Like others have said, there's plenty of assumptions here that might be credible with some sales data to back it up. Or it might undermine the entire article.

I'm not on any hating-bandwagon, I think gb benefits from articles like these from Patrick, but I'd love to see him research a follow-up article down the line with clearer thoughts on why stuff like this happens and what it means. The economics and the politics of Xbox Live must be batshit crazy.

Posted by cikame

Unfortunately i'm playing about 5 different rpg's right now and keeping up with practice on tekken tag 2 so i can't play mark of the ninja.

Posted by Sweep

good on Microsoft should for attempting

Might want to rephrase that a bit, Tricky :D

Moderator
Posted by MrBungle

First thing I do when I switch on my Xbox is head to the games tab and then the market places there. I check for new games in each of the three sections. There is no way I'd rely on all new games being advertised on the home section of the dashboard. Same way I wouldn't rely on that on the PS3.

Anyone hoping that every single new thing is on the home page is living in fantasy land.

Posted by CptBedlam

@tourgen said:

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.

Exactly the same for me.

This dashboard is horrible. It's confusing, it's ineffective, it's ad-riddled. I let my gold subscruption lapse a few weeks ago. I'm just not willing to pay for that clusterfuck anymore (and for online play).

Posted by OleMarthin

if there was an ad on the games hub i feel like that should be enough. if i want a game on any other platform i have to go to the store. it's not like every new app i promoted on the home screen of my phone or tablet. IF there was no advertisement at all i would have a huge problem with this. Mark of a ninja is a great game. it's the first game i chose to s rank in a long time. it deserves to be played by as many people as possible. but if i want a game i go to the game tab, if i want a movie i go to the movie hub. an if it was the case that this game had a promotion on the game hub then people who wanted a game probably would have seen it. i agree with Patrick on one point. and that is that MS could do better. but the fact is it is that they still do a much better job than the rest.

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.

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 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 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 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 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 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 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.

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 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.

Posted by Swoxx

Ads, Games, and the Growing Complexity of Giantbomb

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 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 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 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 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?

Online
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 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 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 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.

Online
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 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 EXTomar

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

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 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 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.