1. coip's Avatar
    There is a lot of debate about what is a better strategy: to spread your properties out across competing platforms or to keep them all exclusive in order to entice customers to switch. Most gamers are used the latter strategy: you don't see Nintendo games on competing consoles. And most gaming analysts would argue that console exclusives are what make or break a console's success (e.g., Halo's exclusivity to Xbox literally sells millions of consoles). As far as the big 3 tech companies go (Microsoft, Apple, and Google), Apple is arguably the best at this and they have seen unparalleled success in the past half decade (correlation is not causation but...).

    The recent news that Office is now out for both iPhone and Android phones made me think more about this dilemma: on the one hand, one of the coolest things about having a Windows Phone or Windows RT tablet was that it came with a free version of Office that was exclusive to those operating systems. It was, in my eyes, a system seller. On the other hand, the lack of Office on Android and iOS had simply resulted in people switching to other software (e.g., OpenOffice), rather than enticing people to switch over to Windows Phone or Windows RT.

    Similarly, I recalled the Age of Empires news thread back in June that brought a flood of complaints from Windows Phone users. I felt similarly in that I thought another one of the coolest things about having a Windows Phone or Windows RT tablet was the Xbox games. Here we had mobile Xbox games complete with achievements, and some even with cross-platform play! Every friend I showed that too was intrigued by it and got them thinking about Windows Phone. But then, Microsoft went and gave iOS and Android some Xbox games (Wordament, Kinectimals). But not only did they give them those games, they gave them achievements with it too (the one part they definitely should've kept exclusive to their own platform). Even worse, with the AoE announcement, iOS and Android users would actually get the game before Windows Phone, which seemed to be a slap in the face to many. After all, AoE is not Skype, something that needs to be on every platform because of the vast amount of competition it faces. It's just a small-market game that 99% of the population has not even heard of.

    So, we see businesses like Microsoft are faced with some interesting dilemmas on what properties to port: Skype is surely a must, Office is debatable--in my opinion, if Office goes to Android and iOS tablets that will all but suicide Windows RT's hope for success--but Xbox games surely should remain exclusive as they truly could move hardware. I believe Microsoft was on the right foot, finally, with their recent Surface commercials showing all the things Windows RT can do that iPad cannot, with an emphasis on Office (which is why I was surprised they released it for iPhone and Android phones), but I'd really like to see them market the Xbox exclusivity a lot more. To me, that means pulling all Xbox games from the iOS and Android stores and cancelling any other Xbox games in development for those platforms (including AoE and any unannounced ones), and really pushing development of Xbox games on Windows Phone and RT and then advertising it like crazy. Every teenager should see commercials and advertisements that make them view Windows Phones and RT tablets as extensions of their Xboxes--portable Xboxes, if you will. That, coupled with other Microsoft exclusivity (e.g., Office), and they will finally have a real chance to break up the Apple/Google duopoly.
    08-02-2013 02:19 AM
  2. Laura Knotek's Avatar
    I doubt if keeping MS Office exclusive to Windows Phone matters that much.

    Consumers who do not want to spend money will use LibreOffice or OpenOffice. Enterprises will not.

    The reason Microsoft is providing Office apps for Android and iOS is to prevent enterprises from abandoning Office for Google Apps.
    08-02-2013 02:50 AM
  3. khunhorm's Avatar
    Remember BBM? There was time when I have iPhone 3G (2008?) and all my friends have Blackberry. RIM was still a big player and refuse to make BBM available for iPhone and Android. They might think make BBM exclusive could keep its users from switching. Didn't work out well, did it.

    Should RIM make BBM cross platform a few years back, we might never know whatsapp line etc.

    I don't think keeping something like ms office exclusive is a good thing.
    08-02-2013 03:30 AM
  4. coip's Avatar
    Well, the people who care enough about Office on tablets and phones are the ones who would most likely switch over to get it, especially businesses. Office is a much bigger product than BBM. That said, I'll concede putting Office for those who have an Office 365 subscription on iPhones and Androids (and free Office for everyone on Windows Phone and RT), but absolutely not should they put Office on iPads or Android tablets. No one is doing any real Office work on phones, so that is fine, but tablets are a viable platform to get real work done and they should be pushing the Office exclusivity thing hard, especially to schools and businesses. If they give up that exclusivity, I don't think they can usurp the tablet market .They're at an interesting crossroads where phones, tablets, and PCs are slowly merging together. Right now they've got 90% of the PC market, but only about 5% of the tablet and phone market. If they don't make gains in the tablet and phone market soon, in a few years their PC market share is going to plummet, hard. Conversely, if they can use their current PC market share dominance as leverage on the tablet market, they have a real chance of taking that market over in a few years as PCs and tablets merge.

    Office aside, what about the Xbox game exclusivity? I really disagree strongly with their plans to bring Age of Empires and a few other select Xbox games over to iOS and Android. These games are not the moneymaker that is Office. No one is going to buy hardware for a mobile game, especially if those games come out on all platforms. But, they absolutely will buy hardware if a plethora of those types of games (i.e., Xbox games) are forever exclusive to Windows Phone and Windows RT tablets. Eventually, young gamers are going to realize, "I can get an iPhone and play 'candy crush' but not get any achievements for it, or I can buy Windows Phone and get Halo, Age of Empires, [insert other exclusive Xbox games] that supplement my Xbox One games and give me achievements!' and that will result in some market share gains. The trick is, though, that Microsoft cannot give any Xbox games to other platforms, which in my opinion means cancelling AoE for iOS and Android and pulling the other few Xbox games from those stores.
    08-02-2013 12:46 PM
  5. Laura Knotek's Avatar
    I don't think gaming exclusives matter that much. Gaming is much more fickle and subject to fads and trends. What's popular now might have little appeal in a couple of years.

    Also chasing gamers might not work so well overall. How many people have much time to devote to gaming once they are adults who are working and have families? And once those people have kids of their own, the kids won't care about their parents' games; the kids will have interest in completely different games.
    08-02-2013 12:55 PM
  6. coip's Avatar
    I don't think gaming exclusives matter that much. Gaming is much more fickle and subject to fads and trends. What's popular now might have little appeal in a couple of years.

    Also chasing gamers might not work so well overall. How many people have much time to devote to gaming once they are adults who are working and have families? And once those people have kids of their own, the kids won't care about their parents' games; the kids will have interest in completely different games.
    I don't know, I think it's a huge selling point. The videogame industry is a $67 billion industry, with most of the most recent growth coming in mobile. The average age of a gamer is 37, and 40% of gamers are women. The Xbox 360 sold nearly 78 million consoles so far and has a huge following in North America and Europe. Absolutely there are millions of people out there that would be intrigued by the possibility to take their console gaming into the mobile realm and have carry-over benefits both ways. This is a big opportunity and Microsoft needs to push it even further. Like the fact that few people who bought Surface RTs knew that it had Xbox 360 controller support means they failed to properly get word of that out.
    08-02-2013 02:52 PM
  7. Laura Knotek's Avatar
    I don't know, I think it's a huge selling point. The videogame industry is a $67 billion industry, with most of the most recent growth coming in mobile. The average age of a gamer is 37, and 40% of gamers are women. The Xbox 360 sold nearly 78 million consoles so far and has a huge following in North America and Europe. Absolutely there are millions of people out there that would be intrigued by the possibility to take their console gaming into the mobile realm and have carry-over benefits both ways. This is a big opportunity and Microsoft needs to push it even further. Like the fact that few people who bought Surface RTs knew that it had Xbox 360 controller support means they failed to properly get word of that out.
    The problem is that people need to buy multiple copies of the same games, one copy for each device. What's the advantage of RT if a user needs to buy a separate copy of a game to play on RT even if he/she already owns an Xbox copy of the game? It's the same with Windows Phone; the games for Windows Phone will not play on RT/Win8 unless the RT/Win8 version is also bought.

    Apple only requires one purchase of a game, which will run on iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch.
    08-02-2013 03:15 PM
  8. coip's Avatar
    The problem is that people need to buy multiple copies of the same games, one copy for each device. What's the advantage of RT if a user needs to buy a separate copy of a game to play on RT even if he/she already owns an Xbox copy of the game? It's the same with Windows Phone; the games for Windows Phone will not play on RT/Win8 unless the RT/Win8 version is also bought.

    Apple only requires one purchase of a game, which will run on iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch.
    This is a good point, and I agree with you, but Apple is not unique in that: Microsoft already does it with the Windows 8/RT store. I bought Halo: Spartan Assault for my Surface RT and I could then install it on my Windows 8 PC too without paying again. It's nice, and something Apple doesn't do (can't get an iOS app on a Mac), but Microsoft should take it further by integrating the Windows Phone and Xbox app stores into the mix too. That way if I bought Skulls of the Shogun once, it could be accessed on all systems: Xbox 360, Windows 8, Windows RT, and Windows Phone, rather than all of them separately. And this strategy would further advance the synergy that I'm talking about by making your Surfaces and Windows Phones true extensions of your Xbox (as well as all other non-gaming apps too). That will appeal to a lot of people.
    Laura Knotek likes this.
    08-02-2013 04:08 PM

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