This is an Editorial post. Views expressed by this post are not necessarily those of GameGeex.

Update: Eurogamer.net has published a statement from Microsoft wherein the company officially apologizes for their ad's wording and promises to correct the letter defaults. 

Original Story: In possibly the worst marketing move I've seen from Microsoft this year, Xbox One offers to help you "make your case" to that person in your life who controls the pocketbook but just doesn't "get" gaming. Their new fill-in-the-space ad lets you talk in little words and patronizing whines as you deal with your "little snag" to gaming bliss.

I could continue, but in this case a picture (after the jump) is worth about 50 words--give or take. 

The green areas are clickable, exposing dropdowns of equally condensending tones for your partner, parents, grandparents, and even roommate. The game-referencing dropdowns give a concise overview of the AAA launch titles available, and the "you'd rather watch me..." dropdown contains otherwise hilariously dull or disgusting activities.

@restokin @Rank4HT @Derevka I would absolutely NOT give Xbox credit for being revolutionary here. It CAN be gender neutral /= it IS.

— Tzufit (@soetzufit) November 27, 2013

Defenders have stated the ad is equal-opportunity on the gender front due to dropdown choices, but then why are the defaults obviously aimed at men who just can't convince their significant others to turn off When Harry Met Sally so they can blast zombies? The alternate dropdown options are amazing and potentially hilarious. With just a few tweaks, the default green zones could have created a brilliantly satirical letter virally mocking what the actual ad represents.

I get where they were going with this. Xbox wants to be seen for all its features, not just gaming. The window-snapping à la Windows 8 and TV streaming are attractive features--or would be, if not for the pandering tone. The Xbox marketing team should take a long look at their intended audience: according to the ESA's demographics, 45% of all gamers are women. Even if they like to knit, Skype with their sister, or watch their favourite TV shows, half the women you meet are likely to be that sniper making your multiplayer experience miserable.

In case you were thinking this may be a great way to bring up your Christmas wishlist with Mom, think again. While 46% of game purchasers are female, that doesn't mean they're buying for someone else. That same study found the largest single demographic of gamers to be women over 18, beating out the teenage male crowd by 12%. An August 2013 study found that 74% of moms report playing videogames with 50% of those surveyed reporting they play on consoles.

A co-worker (also a gaming mom) nicely summarized our gut response, "Refraining from punching something because, unlike some MS ad execs, I am not in fact a Neanderthal." 

For all their next-gen talk, Xbox needs to move into this century first.

4 PM ET Update: Microsoft has removed the "knit" option from the first paragraph. 


8 Comments for this post.
Like 2 Disike 0

Oh wow ha. All I have to say is look up Starcraft pro and NA powerhouse, Scarlett. She would be the equivalent to the sniper that would make my life miserable XD

Like 5 Disike 0
Well said BUT I disagree with the title as the stat isn't right, you are putting in all of the survey women and leaving out the males that could also be disgusted by the ad. Nitpicking i know; but stats are dangerous things to play with :P; otherwise, nice article!
And gosh, that font is hard on my eyes :|

Like 3 Disike 0

Parents! Rise up and crush the bringers of console-based guilt (I mean crush in a nice way, like, sit down, have a hot cocoa and an embarrassing talk about the birds and the bees.) Thanks for the heads up Aimee, now I won't be caught without my arsenal of good-parent quotes...

Like 3 Disike 0

Haha they removed knit XD... But what if I like to knit :/?

Like 2 Disike 1

In case anyone had any doubts of the blatantly sexist nature of the ad, there you go. "Knit" could have stayed in if this was intended to be gender-neutral.

Like 2 Disike 0

Oh what a tangled web they weave (or in this case, knit). Seriously, they really need to stop declaring that they have built "The One box for everyone" while backhandedly pushing away half their audience - with not only sexism, but also obnoxious and outdated cliches and stereotypes. I would like to think that the days of guys having to convince/coerce their significant others into buying a gaming system are long behind us at this point. 

Like 1 Disike 0

If there's anything I've learned in 30 years of shopping for women's clothing, it's that one size NEVER fits all ;)

It's kinda just been one PR blunder after another with them this year.

Like 1 Disike 0

While your original point was valid despite being presented in a rather breathless fashion, the notion that removing "knit" as an option proves that it's blatantly sexist is entirely ridiculous. Like it or not, people don't see kniting as gender netutral. When they became aware people had a problem with the ad, they no doubt removed anything that people might potentially take offense with. Which is totally the right thing to do. But that doesn't prove anything. In fact-- if you were interested in being generous instead of condeming-- you could say that knit originally being included in the sentence context with negative activities but then removed "proves" it wasn't intended to be taken that way, or they would have realized it to begin with.


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