It’s been awhile since the Xbox team did something stupid. Fortunately, this week they did something stupid… with gusto!
In a nutshell, in case you haven’t heard, Microsoft has announced that they have tenative plans to stop selling certain Xbox Live Arcade games which both have low review scores, and have a low “conversion rate” (users that download the trial versus users that purchase).
So, without further ado, here are the 10 ways that Xbox Live Arcade Delisting is completely stupid:
1) Review scores fail to fully represent the popularity product.
2) Conversion rates fail to fully represent the popularity of a product.
3) Auto download feature inherently makes conversion rates low… everyone gets every trials with that feature on.
4) Bungie will hate you for deleting Marathon 2: Durandal.
5) It gives Sony and Nintendo a new feature to tout… “we don’t stop selling cool games”.
6) New concerns form about the scalability of Xbox Live… when this wouldn’t help those real problems to begin with.
7) Makes buyers scared of purchasing new content. Yes, I know, people can re-download delisted games they already own… but the typical consumer won’t hear that in the news.
8) Kills the multiplayer value. Friends can’t get someone else to buy the game and play on.
9) Per Reason 8, less new sales of Xbox units… less reasons for Xbox owners to convince friends to buy an Xbox.
10) It’s an online store… there’s unlimited retail space!
Update: Major Nelson has chimed in on some of my points. The policy appears to have changed a bit in response to the points raised… as people will now be able to purchase de-listed games, but they’ll have to ask for a referral from someone that already owns the game.
This means that hardcore fans of an XBLA game, can get their similarly-interested friends to buy the game when they finally buy an Xbox 360.
Now, that just makes this restriction seem silly. The games will still be for sale, but you’ll have to jump through hoops to get them. Why not make a Bargain Bin of sorts, and move the games there? That way, they won’t appear on the normal classifications, but if you still want the game… you can get it there.