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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 Cday

adbox live cashboard

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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 cancerdancer

"and are often part part of contrats between Microsoft"


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 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.

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.

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 Vegetable_Side_Dish

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

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 ABK_92

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

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 algertman

Did Patrick write this on his new iPhone 5?

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 liste3r_fi3nd

I understand that argument, but for someone like me or my friends who are relatively hardcore gamers the ads mean nothing. Purchasing a game is based off of pre-launch coverage and reviews. I'm not exactly sure that the casual market crowd (who doesn't follow gaming sites or publications) is going to pay $15 (or any money) to purchase a game based on an ad. Though I am sure that it would be more than 0% of those people which would still help sales.

Posted by BirdkeeperDan

"and are often part part of contrats between Microsoft." Needs more cowbell (proofreading). 
Also I do check the games tab for sales so I would have seen the ad had I signed on. If only the games tab was right next to the home tab.
Posted by gizmo88

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.

Posted by BreakfastKing

Every time I turn my xbox on these days I get mad. Everything on the front end has nothing to do with anything I care about (i.e. games). Finding Rock Band Blitz on my arcade games list (that takes forever to populate) takes about 30 seconds of scrolling right.

Inefficiency at its finest.

Posted by DemonGeese

@Residentrevil2 @patrickklepek @xMEGADETHxSLY:

In the new dashboard they had a Mark of the Ninja advertisement on the home tab when you first boot up the system. I remember, Patrick said something about Microsoft not advertising Mark of the Ninja in a I Love Mondays video and kept my eyes open to see if it was true. That advertisement was on the home tab for almost a week. (I don't think the advert showed up until a few days after Mark of the Ninja was released, so that criticism holds some weight.)

Posted by Khann

*hugs PC*

Edited by umbaglo

@starfurydysan: For the record, the PS Vita has parties and cross-game voice chat as free, the PS3 has downloadable profiles as standard and cloud saves as a PS+ service. Add to that that any multi-platform game would also have the same matchmaking.

For me, the idea that I need to pay money JUST TO HAVE MULTIPLAYER is ludicrous. I'm far more willing to pay for PS+ because of the discounts and free games, then I am to pay the MS tax just to do things that REALLY should be core.

Edited by Residentrevil2


The New Dashboard Kinda Makes Games More There.

Yeah, I've noticed that the beta preview has made the dash a little neater and really brought games into the forefront. Also, I'm enjoying the Pin feature (allows you to access items -games/videos- faster) and Internet Explorer isn't bad. Oh, I've said too much...

Posted by Oginam

Not going to defend Microsoft or anything since I mostly agree that the dashboard isn't good right now, but the 360 dashboard is still the "best" in terms of complexity and infrastructure compared to it's peers.

Leaning on the ads may be a way to deal with the cost of building, iterating, and supporting it - even more so because of the declining hardware sales at the tail end of a console generation and lackluster Kinect sales.

Posted by starfurydysan

Posted by sempiternal

It always surprises me to see the amount of ads on the American 360 dash. We get hardly anything on the Australian one.

Posted by beepmachine

Good article. There really seems to be growing frustration with xbox live in the past year or so. I really hope Sony can knock one out of the park next cycle, but honestly who can even tell with that company nowadays.

I would love to get Mark of the Ninja (and a lot of other games on xbox) but it's never been worth it for me to have to buy another console and shell out more cash on top of that for xbox live. More and more stuff has been coming to PC lately so there's another reason for me to just avoid the xbox.

Also Patrick, I love ya, but you need to get a proofreader man.

Posted by JJWeatherman

@ExZippo said:

"good on Microsoft should for attempting to inform a demographic"


Yeah, there's like a dozen typos in there. Just letting it be known.

Good idea for an article, though.

Posted by Wuddel

Yawn. Having owned a 360 and a PS3 I never could understand why people this this is the superior service. Ok achievements are cool. I am living in continental europe and many of the services are not available here. So it really comes down to how quickly can I start games etc.

I am really excited for the next generation. Especially with Steam and the PC packing the most punch and most versatile game-centric features - arguably with the most "tinkering" involved (compared to buying a box and putting a disc in).

Posted by Corvak

I could go on and on about my disdain for the current dashboard, but I am pretty sure everyone here either agrees with me, doesnt own a 360, or doesn't care that much about user interfaces.

But what it all boils down to - does Microsoft really have to be this greedy? Not only do I pay several hundred for the device, and sixty per game, I am giving them another sixty a year, just for the privilege of connecting to the internet on their machine - do they really need to start advertising banks and big box retail at me?

Another thing that burns me up, is the fact that a tiny fraction of the services and apps available are in canada, yet we still pay the same for Live. And more for points, since we don't have a 1200 point denomination to buy, and the cost per point is higher.

Especially glaring is the fact that they're alone in doing this. All of the other major services, all of which are free to users, don't shove advertising in my face at startup. Nintendo and Valve only advertise games being sold on their service. Sony does have ads on PS3, but not front and center when the device turns on.

At the very least, could we only get ads for video games and related products?

Though, who am I to say anything, i'm the one who keeps buying games for this machine, since i'm too invested into it at this point. I think Microsoft has really got to sell me on their next platform, however. I don't feel like I am ready to tolerate another generation of ad spam and fake money points right now.

Posted by thirteenyahs

I think people make way too big a deal about ads on the dashboard. I know where I'm going for what I want to do on my Xbox so I never focus on ads.

Posted by oasisbeyond

I wanted Mark Of The Ninja... But MS's stupid point system made me not buy it. I wanted 1200 so I can buy it... Not 1000 + 500... That's well over 25$ here in Canada, so no thanks. Considering I just bought Max Payne and GTA3 perfect ports on tablet for less then 8$ total.

Posted by MordeaniisChaos

I think it's really silly to say that seeing an ad after the first day will be different than seeing it day one. While, yes, games do best on the first day, someone isn't going to click that ad, then see "this came out like 6 days ago!" and decide not to buy it because of that. I also kind of think ads SHOULD be kept to their respective categories, instead of that front launch blade or whatever we call them now. That way you see ads for things you want. Wanna see what the new hot movie is? Go to the movies section. Wanna know if there are any new XBLA games worth promoting? It'd solve most of the problems people talk about today with the ads. Just get rid of the ones on that initial screen, pack more functionality in there, and then put the ads somewhere else. The best way to get targeted advertising (which is generally the best way to get clicks) is to let the user chose what he wants to see. While an ad for Snow White or JoJo's latest album won't be seen by as many people if it's on the movie/music panel, it'll be more likely to be seen by media folks who use their 360 for things like music and videos.

It is a shame that Mark of the Ninja wasn't advertised right on release, but I have to question the idea that ads for a week old game will be less useful than an ad the day of. If anything, it keeps the game in the eyes of the public (the educated section of which already has plenty of knowledge of this game) a bit longer, and gets that tail to last a bit longer, which can help by spreading the gospel about the game. It's not as simple as "games sell best the first day, so ads work best on the first day." Advertising is there to counter-act a lack of knowledge in a crowded market. So if the game is going to sell well that first week anyway, why not wait a few days and then start pushing ads?

I'm not an ad man, but I'm pretty confident that a few days won't make much of a difference to most people.

Also, edit this duder. Hell of a lot of errors. You got Greg's last name wrong the second time, "good on Microsoft should for attempting to inform a demographic" and I think there were one or two others that have slipped my mind.

Posted by Rihanna

Good on Patrick should for writing this article.

Posted by Draxyle

This seems pretty standard for Microsoft. They're large enough to the point where one side doesn't know what the other side is even doing, so they end up with many "factions" vying for control over that limited space. I imagine that there's a lot of politics that allow this to happen.

I'm not entirely sure if it's a good or bad thing that are gaming machines are becoming "entertainment centers". Part of me wants to resist it, but at the same time, it's only the logical progression for technology.

Posted by CornBREDX

I wont be playing it unless it gets ported to PC anyway as I sold my XBOX.

This is a common complaint with XBLA from developers, though. They had this problem with Super Meat Boy I think (or similar). In general I think the whole thing needs work. Have to give them credit, though. They are technically off to a good start. It's just a shame, like all big companies, they don't seem to have a very good communication across the board. That seems to a business problem more then a Microsoft sole problem, though.

Posted by Wong_Fei_Hung

@Snipper138 said:

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

And "contrats".

Wow, had no idea political shit was being promoted on XBOX LIve, that's not something I would want to see over here on any console, I don't think Microsoft would ever do that in Europe, thankfully.

Posted by Sergio

I don't think it really matters in this case. People who would have bought it through word of mouth would find the game under the games tab anyway. Those who would have bought it because of an advertisement on the home dash ended up buying it later. One can say that day one sales are usually the highest, but in this case, wouldn't that simply result in day x being the highest? It's silly to assume that someone's interest in a product they didn't know about to begin with will be less if they learn about it later.


@patrickklepek The New Dashboard Kinda Makes Games More There.

Posted by Nightriff

@DougQuaid said:

The lack of focus on games bothers me, but the fact that I am paying $50 a year to be blasted with ads every damn time I turn on my Xbox bothers me more.

I only hope that PSN+ will push Microsoft to do more with Xbox Live than update it every year and it worse ...and fuck my face with ads.

I doubt it will, Microsoft will keep doing what they are doing with Gold until something else comes along and competes. PSN+ is a great alternative but it came to late in the game. With the next consoles I will be very interested to see what these services do but until then expect to pay $50 for ads.

@InsidiousTuna: With Value I trust that games will always be first and media will be optional. Microsoft just feels like movies and tv shows and music videos are trying to be their big focus instead of games. That depressing. And you say 5 to 10 years from, thats a long fucking time in media and video games. I don't know what the industry will hold for us then, but I trust other companies over microsoft to keep with video games as their main priority.

Posted by RE_Player1

@samsara said:

Something was wrong as soon as that game didn't make Summer of Arcade. I wonder if someone at MS was feeling a bit spiteful.

So many of the core Xbox higher ups have either been moved around in the company or have left so I have a feeling these new guys in charge are out of touch with your traditional game player. I bet Microsoft will pull a Sony next generation, being over confident, make stupid decisions and drop to third.