One of the all time success stories in the gaming world was the Halo series of games for Xbox and Xbox Live. It still puzzles me that the games were rated M (mature) as there are a lot of T (teen) games that have a lot more gore and fighting in it than Halo. At some point I thought it was a clever marketing ploy to make people want the game even more.
Many of us bought the game for our teenage kids, and while I do not have exact numbers, I bet you that a majority of players were teens.
The game keeps evolving through the download of special maps – blueprints for specific game play. If you do not have the latest maps you cannot play games with friends that use them.
All of sudden Microsoft decided to prevent child accounts (less than 18yo) from downloading Halo maps. The only way kids can play the new maps is by starting a new account and lie about their age. That of course wipes out all of their standing in the game – something many kids are very proud of, and which is totally part of their online persona.
That’s not all – apparently Microsoft also decided that Live Messenger is not for teens, so they cannot use that either. I wonder what market research showed that Live Messenger would not be of interest to teens or could potentially be harmful to them…
What are they thinking? Not only are they alienating an audience that is key to their future success, they are also alienating the parents of those teenagers. I like to think that I am in charge of what my son will watch and play with, and that I do not need the help from Microsoft to make that decision for me.
Or is this another example of the tyranny of the minority – where a small group of freakish parents contaminates the well for the rest of us?