“The world is being re-shaped by the convergence of social, mobile, cloud, big data, community and other powerful forces. The combination of these technologies unlocks an incredible opportunity to connect everything together in a new way and is dramatically trnsforming the way we live and work.” Marc Benioff
The focus of this article is to suggest how we can utilise the convergence between social, mobile, big data, AI and community to build a more profound and deeper user experience. The article will look at the purchase funnel, the impact of the Internet on the flow of information, a strategic model for Microsoft and then propose ideas on how to improve the user experience.
The Purchase Funnel – AIDA
The Purchase Funnel was developed by St. Elmo Lewis in 1898. It is a consumer-focused marketing model that illustrates the theoretical journey that a customer takes towards the purchase of a product or service.
AIDA stands for:
Awareness (A) – the customer is aware of the existence of a product or service.
Interest (I) – the customer expresses an interest in the product or service.
Desire (D) – the customer aspires to own that product or service.
Action (A) – taking an action towards purchasing the product or service.
If there is no awareness of a product there cannot be an interest in the product. Without interest, there is no desire to buy, and without desire, no purchase will be made.
If we can optimise awareness, for example, running a banner campaign introducing a new game, we get visitors into the funnel. If the visitors watch a video or read an article about the new game we can generate interest. We can then run a retargeting campaign over social, web or in-app to generate desire. Once we have desire we can follow up with a direct response campaign to lead to a sale.
Before the Internet
Before the Internet, if you wanted to learn something you would attend a lesson, read a book, visit the library, buy a magazine or talk to someone. Yes, in those day people used to talk.
If you wanted to know about a video game you would buy a computer magazine. Information flowed from the software houses to the magazine writers and then to us, the readers. The information was managed, controlled and in one direction.
The dawn of the Internet
The Internet allowed information to flow in real time to anywhere in the world. Search Engines like Google and Bing crawled the Internet to discover new information that could be accessed in the blink of an eye through a simple search.
Platforms like YouTube or microblogging sites like Twitter gave anyone the ability to express their opinion and be heard globally.
With the Internet, information became accessible for free, models for generating revenue for reporters had to change. One such model of generating revenue was the use of click bait. Click bait is content whose sole purpose is to attract attention and encourage visitors to click on a link. It is a form of journalism that presents little or no well-researched news, rather focuses on eye-catching headlines that exaggerate news events or to cause sensationalism. Katherine Viner, editor-in-chief at The Guardian wrote in How technology disrupted the truth, “chasing down cheap clicks at the expense of accuracy and veracity undermined the value of journalism and truth.” Journalism can take the backseat if it is more profitable to create sensation.
As humans, we all form opinions and they do not always agree with each other. When it is done in person it usually carries a level of understanding and respect. In the online world, someone can easily create an anonymous profile and troll someone else. So rather than encourage an environment of learning and respect it can lead to a witch hunt where differences of opinion is crushed or humiliated.
The Internet has provided gamers with the ability to access a wealth of information but can also contain elements of bias and the distortion of facts.
Starting with Why
Before we discuss how we can leverage the convergence of technology I believe it is important to have a framework or foundation for such a discussion. For this blog post, I intend to use the framework suggested by Simon Sinek in Starting With Why.
The Ted Talk by Simon Senek was published in September 2009 and is the 3rd most watched Ted Talk of all time.
Who is Simon Sinek?
Simon Sinek was born on October 9th, 1973 in England. He is the author of Start with Why: How Greater Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action (2009), Leaders Eat Last, Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t (2014), Together is Better: A Little Book of Inspiration (2016) and Find Your Way: A Practical Guide for Discovering Purpose for You and Your Team (2017). His blog can be found here.
The Keys Lessons from Start with Why
Some organisations and people are more innovative, generate more profit, are able to retain customers and staff longer than other organisations, but why? According to Simon Sinek the way they think, act, and communicate are in line with each and the opposite of what everyone else does. Most leaders talk about WHAT they do – the products or services that generate money. Some leaders talk about the HOW – the process they use that differentiate themselves. Very few leaders talk about (or even know) their WHY – the reason the business exists in the first place (money is a by-product of the WHY).
Simon Sinek argues that when we start with WHY in everything that we do, we inspire action in a way that WHAT does not. That is because WHY engages our emotions, while WHAT engages our logical brain.
As an example, which of these statements is more compelling:
I write code (the WHAT)
I create magical gaming worlds (the WHY)
If you want to inspire others, always communicate your why first. If the why resonates with them, they will be inspired. Simon Sinek said, “people don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.” Employees who are inspired by the why are the best resource for any business.
Benefits of Starting with Why?
Organisations live or die by their culture. A toxic culture eventually kills the organisation, the confused culture is like taking two steps forward and one step back. A culture based on a Why where the employees rally around it would lead to several benefits.
- Speed – Every decision can be seen in the light of whether it is in line with the objective of the organisation or not. This makes it quicker to make decisions and decision making can be decentralised.
- Direction – Everyone within the organisation knows the direction the company is headed towards.
- Motivation – If an employee believes and is motivated by the company’s Why they will be more motivated then somebody who is motivated to make money.
- Trust – A leader of an organisation whose actions are in line with the Why will generate trust amongst their employees.
- Recruitment & Retention – Everyone is passionate about something but we are not all passionate about the same thing. When an organisation takes a stance, and defines its Why some people will be attracted towards that organisation whilst other will not. Those who are attracted will both want to work for the company and want to stay with the company longer.
The External Benefits to Microsoft include:
- Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony all make consoles to play video games. Demand is influenced by changing prices, improving technology or adding exclusives. Having an identity (the Why) that resonates with gamers can be a more significant factor in the purchasing decision than price, technology and exclusives.
- Starting with a Why establishes trust. If someone trusts a brand they are more confident to invest more time and money with Microsoft.
- A mistake or an error of judgment by Microsoft is more likely to be forgiven and forgotten.
- Brand advocates. A company with a Why is likely to have a greater number of promoters. And a promoter has two distinct benefits. They can take a detractor and help them so they become either passive or a promoter. Or they can help attract new customers to the brand.
- Millennials and identity- By 2015 the millennials became the largest generation in America overtaking the baby boomers.
According to a blog post from Oracle by Michael Svatek, “millennials are particular, easily distracted, and more demanding of brands than any other generation, that is, when they choose to engage with them.” Millennial marketing state over 50% of millennials would be more willing to make a purchase from a company if their company supports a cause, and brands that stand for more than their bottom line receive greater millennial brand love. By Microsoft having a Why it stands a greater chance to be relevant and engaging with a millennial.
Does Xbox need to have a separate Why to Microsoft?
I believe Xbox should share the same Why with Microsoft for the following reasons:
- As much as Microsoft Excel is a Microsoft product so is the Xbox. Brands need to speak one language and be consistent, so the customers will view all products as one.
- Xbox does not work in a silo, resources sharing works better when the individual has a single and unified direction.
- Both Xbox and Microsoft are in the technology business and bring people closer together, so it makes sense to have the same Why..
My Suggestion for a Possible Why?
This is my suggestion for a possible why:
We believe through technology we can bring the World closer together
Microsoft’s 5 key principles are:
- Discover Together
- Work Together
- Play Together
- Watch Together
- Be Together
Xbox’s 3 key principles are:
- Discover Together
- Play Together
- Watch Together
The Xbox App: the centre of the new AI, Social and Chat Bot Experience
The focus of this section is to show how the Xbox App can leverage AI, user content, user input, and Cortana to create a richer and deeper user experience. This will be highlighted in the following sections:
- Guide a user through the pre-purchase funnel.
- Setting up the Xbox for the first time.
- Extend the current feature set of the Xbox app.
The history of the Xbox App
Xbox Smartglass was originally announced at the 2012 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). It was the second screen for the Xbox 360 promising ‘new ways to interact with your Xbox 360.’ With the release of the Xbox One it is simply known as the Xbox App.
The Second Screen – Discovering Together
Current scenario –If someone wants to learn about the Xbox, they can ask their friends, do a search on Google/Bing, read a review on Amazon or search in social media/YouTube. There is no doubt there are lot of positive reviews, comments, videos, and tweets on Xbox but at the same time there is a lot of content that would create FUD (Fear, Uncertainty or Doubt), and for every positive Xbox story, there is going to be another that is negative.
Proposed solution – to create an environment where a user can learn more about the Xbox One console and its family. Using an app, we can integrate analytics, a chatbot to respond to user queries and AI to deliver a highly tailored experience (Discover Together).
Pre-purchase Funnel – Discover Together
In this section, we are going to assume we have a user who is interested in purchasing the Xbox One and has installed the Xbox One App.
Guiding a user through the pre-purchase funnel
Different ways people learn
Before jumping into the app and how we can apply the idea of Discover Together it is worth mentioning the different ways people learn:
- Visual. Learning through diagrams, charts and watching videos.
- Auditory. Learning by listening through audio files, live transmission or listening to a video.
- Experiential. Learning through reflecting on doing. It is a form of active learning.
- Kinesthetic. Learning by carrying out physical tasks.
- Read/write learning. Learning by either reading or writing.
We should ensure as best as we can to cover as many content types as possible when we put together content for the Xbox App. These could include:
- Video interviews
- Video reviews
- Ask questions (active learning)
Modelling and predicting the user’s journey
Bryan Eisenberg defines four different personality types:
- Competitive. Fast-paced decision-making, logically oriented
- Spontaneous. Fast-paced decision-making, emotionally oriented
- Humanistic. Slow-paced decision-making, emotionally oriented
- Methodical. Slow-paced decision-making, logically oriented
To be inclusive the user journey must appeal to all four personality types, so, for example, we need pages that:
- Have a call to action above the fold (competitive and spontaneous).
- Talk about the benefits of the Xbox One (spontaneous and methodical).
- Talk about the Why of Xbox e.g. Play Together (spontaneous and humanistic).
- Have detailed specifications, FAQs, video, reviews etc. (methodical)
Data mining customer QAs and AI
There is over 16 years of queries from customers, retail, e-tail and online discussions. Compiling all the data together will help determine what are the common questions that a potential customer may have. These questions and answers can be incorporated into the Xbox App to help with the user journey.
Launching the Application
The more we learn about a user, the better we can tailor the experience. Putting too many hurdles in front of the user will result in frustration and then exiting the app prematurely. My suggestion is to ask three simple questions with the option to skip.
Question 1 (Yes, No)
Have you ever owned an Xbox?
Question 2 (Multiple Choice)
What is your prime reason to buy an Xbox?
- The new Xbox One X
- Playing online with friends
- Playing Xbox exclusives
- The price
- Looking for a gift for friends or family
Question 3 (Textbox)
What would you like to know about Xbox?
Taking the answers from these questions, we can build a personalised experience for that user. If I said I have owned an Xbox in the past, interested in buying the Xbox One X and wanted to know more about 4K games then an experience optimised for me would include content (video, text or auditory) that was centred around:
- Xbox One X being the most powerful console
- The 4K difference
- Xbox One X building upon the Xbox heritage
- The biggest franchises in 4K
- Xbox live reimagined on Xbox One X
- Xbox Game Pass, EA Access and Play Anywhere
If on the other hand, I said I have never owned an Xbox, am interested in playing online and wanted to know about which games I can play online, then an experienced optimised for me would include:
- What makes the Xbox unique
- An introduction to the Xbox family (S and X)
- Xbox Live – the most powerful platform for online gaming
- Play the best franchises on Xbox Live
- Xbox Live and Games for Gold
- Xbox Live in 2018
The home screen should contain the information that could encourage a spontaneous and competitive person to act.
Having integrating analytics would allow us to understand which content resonates (read or watched to the end, shared or upvoted) and which content does not. If I have a user who is interested in getting an Xbox to play Xbox Live who reads an article about Xbox Live – the most powerful platform for online gaming and then watches a video on Xbox Live in 2018, I could offer the user a bundle with an Xbox One and 12 month of Xbox Gold and EA Access to that user. As another example, if I know a user is interested in Xbox Live when they are reading an article on the Xbox Elite controller, there should be a section on how the elite controller is the best controller for online gaming. If they were interested in Fifa 2018 and read an article on the Xbox Elite controller, there should be a section on how the elite controller can be optimised for Fifa 2018.
In addition to answers from the user questions from the original survey, I envisage having multiple tabs with different themes. These could include:
- An introduction to the Xbox family.
- An introduction to Xbox Live and Xbox Gold.
- Playing with younger children and safety online.
- Exclusive Xbox games.
- The best place to play multiplatform games.
- What is 4K, HDR and Dolby Atmos?
- Xbox Apps and non-gaming activities
- Buying an Xbox
To take the interaction further, having a chatbot who can ask and answer questions could provide valuable insight to the user. For example, after reading an article or watching a video I have a chatbot asking me if I found the content useful and relevant?
If I answer Yes
The chatbot would suggest other relevant pieces of content. For example, if I watched a trailer for The Witcher it could recommend a video about The Witcher running on the Xbox One X and its improvements (especially if I stated I am interested in the Xbox One X) or similar games I may be interested in.
Taking this a stage further, if the Chatbot knows I am interested in Xbox One X, the Witcher in 4K and Rise of the Tomb Raider, it could create a special bundle of the fly and ask me:
Would you be interested in an Xbox One X, The Witcher and Rise of the Tomb Raider for a special price?
If I say yes, it then takes the user to a shopping basket and checkout.
If no, then it needs to understand what is missing – is it the price? The offer?
Use of Push notification
Buying an Xbox could be a single use of the app (competitive or spontaneous), but there are others who will use the app multiple times before deciding to buy an Xbox (humanistic or methodological). To encourage the user, we could use push notifications to highlight relevant pieces of content. The idea is to get the user to use the app on a regular basis to become more familiar with the Xbox.
Purchase and Set-up
In this section, we have assumed a user has now bought an Xbox One and our objective is to introduce the user to the Xbox family.
Setting up the Xbox
Setting up an Xbox for the first time and installing a game can be a long wait, anything we can do to make the experience more enjoyable will help.
- As soon as the Xbox is on the local network (wireless or wired) it pairs with the Xbox App.
- The Xbox App welcome the user to the Xbox family and explains what will happen next (updates, user account login etc.).
- The App has a countdown timer and pushes notifications to tell you when the Xbox is ready. This gives freedom to the user to step away from the Xbox.
- Any sort of text entry on Xbox can be done using the smartphone keyboard (much quicker than using a controller).
- Once the dashboard is ready and the user is logged in. The next steps are all about welcoming the user to the Xbox family.
What We Want to Achieve
- Help the user to connect with their friends and family.
- Help the user to understand the benefit of Xbox Gold and sign up if they wish to.
- Help the user to understand the benefit of Xbox Game Pass and sign up if they wish to.
- Help the user to understand the benefit of EA Access and signs up if they wish to.
- Help the user understand Xbox clubs and sign up for any relevant clubs.
- If the user uses twitter ask them if they wish to connect to the Xbox Twitter Account of @xbox, @xboxuk, @xboxP3, @majornelson, @xboxqwik and @xboxSupport.
- Ask the user if they are interested in subscribing to the Xbox YouTube channel.
Forcing a user to sign up to multiple accounts all at once may leave the user overwhelmed. If done gradually using the Xbox Dashboard, push notifications, emails and the Xbox App, there may be a higher chance of engagement and sign up. Taking inspiration from gamification and lead page generation it is all about getting the consent of the user and then rewarding their action.
We could build a program that starts with an email to introduce Xbox Gold – if they agree to learn more, the next time they open the Xbox App or play on the Xbox, they get the option to watch a video on the benefits of Gold. If they do not open the email, then we can use a push notification asking them if they would like to learn more about the benefits of Gold.
As another example, adding friends and family can be time-consuming, but we could leverage the Xbox app to search out friends and family from the phone contact list or social media. We could reward that action with a free 7-day extension to Xbox Gold once we get their consent.
We could use banner adverts within on the Xbox Dashboard or the app advertising the benefit to follow us on Twitter e.g. latest news or win a game of your choice.
What if we could recognise when a user has set up their Xbox for the first time, finished a game or had not played a game for a while and promoted Xbox Game Pass or EA Access through multi-touch points?
We could create an introductory series where each day the Xbox app has a new topic. Day 1 could be adding friends and family, day 2 the benefits of Gold. Opens, clicks and views could all be tracked and follow up emails and Xbox Dashboard banners can be used to facilitate action.
Extend the Current Feature Set of the Xbox app.
The purpose of this section is to suggest some additional features for users who have an Xbox One.
Idea Number 1 – The Second Screen
I am a great fan of watching E3 and Gamescom – what if the Microsoft event could support a second screen (the Xbox App)? Whilst a game is being presented on stage I could get extra information about the game, the ability to pre-order online, save the game in the recommended tab (more later) and the ability to share a screenshot or a trailer on social media.
Idea Number 2 – The Xbox Button
There is a game I really want to buy. I saw at E3 2017, it looks like Blade Runner but I have no idea what it is called or who is making it. I searched for ‘Blade Runner type game for Xbox One’ but I didn’t find anything. I searched on Twitter, I found a tweet that linked to a list of all E3 games on the Xbox news blog. I found the name of the name, but I, unfortunately, have already forgotten the name before I could pre-order it.
What if, whenever I come to an advert or a mention of the game, be that on YouTube, a web page, a live event, a billboard or TV advert, I press a button and the details of the game is stored. The game information can then be stored in the recommendations tab and updated whenever there is more information available (previews, pre-orders etc.)
Idea Number 3 – Email and In-App notification. Talk to me
I have been playing the Xbox since the original OG Xbox so there should be a lot of information about me:
- What games do I own?
- What games have I played?
- Which games have I pre-ordered?
- Which games did I get Day 1?
- Which games do I buy on sale?
- Which games have I finished?
- Which games do I delete and which games I keep?
- Do I buy digital or physical? Or do I buy both?
- How often do I play?
For example, I own Forza Horizon 2 and Forza Horizon 3 but I do not own Forza Motorsport 7. I own Halo 1 all the way to Halo 5 but do not own Halo Wars 1 or 2. There is an opportunity to generate a multi-touch campaign around Forza Motorsport or Halo Wars. What if the game is discounted on the Christmas Sale, it could be beneficial to highlight this to me. What if I installed a demo of Forza Motorsport 7 but never played it? I could get an email about how Forza Motorsport takes what’s best about Forza Horizon 3 and improves on it. What if that email arrived on the day I am most likely to play on the Xbox?
With a little AI, my game preference can be figured out. Or a Chatbot can ask me what my favourite games of 2017 were.
This information can be used in the following ways:
- Games that I have yet to buy but may have a potential interest in. Offer free play days, demos, discounted prices or bundle offers. Making it unique and personalised to me.
- Games that are coming out soon, let me know the ones I would potentially be most interested in. Create anticipation and excitement.
- Predict what type of games should be produced and when they should be released. With enough data and knowing the general schedule for other multiplatform and exclusive games, it should possible to predict the type of games people would want to play and when they would want to play it.
Idea Number 4 – what game should I buy?
There are Indie games, backwards compatible games, AA and AAA games, so sometimes it is easy to miss a game.
Ideas on recommending a game:
- List the games my Xbox friends have played that I have not, ordered by popularity or review scores (recommendation tab).
- Have Cortana predict what I want to play next or have a conversation with me (see below).
- The recommended tab (see below)
- The review tab (see below).
Idea Number 5 – Cortana and what game I should buy next?
Cortana or any AI agent is as good as the data available to it. If I ask what is the weather like today, the AI will check my IP address to determine where I am and return the weather in that area. Cortana, given the right level of permission and support from game developers, can easily build up a picture of my gaming preference.
Do I prefer single player games? Do I pay for DLC? Do I play at a professional level? Do I play multiplayer games? Have I watched, read or listened to any content of any upcoming game?
Cortana could ask, have you considered buying Mass Effect Andromeda (knowing that I like Sci-Fi games)? If I say no, the follow-up question is why? If I give a reason why, this information can be used to find a suitable piece of content to read or sent to the developer as feedback.
Cortana could inform me of the latest DLC for Destiny 2 either when I reach a certain point in the game or if I have stopped playing Destiny 2 to re-engage me.
Or I could tell Cortana I am a fan of Portal 2 or Capcom’s Power Stone therefore any game like these could be recommended even if it is two years in the future.
As a final example, I am a fan of Dishonoured but never really played Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell. What if Cortana could create the association between the games and ask me if I am interested in Splinter Cell? And if said tell me more, it would show me a video, an article, a developer interview etc. If I showed interest, the Xbox backwards compatible team would be informed or even Ubisoft can be told.
Idea Number 6 – The Recommendation Tab and what game I should buy next?
Scenario – Knowing what game to play next can be difficult at times.
How to get games added to the recommendation tab?
- Through the Xbox Button.
- What my friends are playing or have played.
- Cortana’s recommendations.
What information on the game should be available on the recommendation tab?
- Video content (previews, reviews, behind the scenes)
- Written articles about the game.
- People playing the game on Mixer
- Images of the game
- A link to demo links if available.
- How to buy?
What can I personalise?
- Whether I am interested in that specific game or not
- How much am I prepared to pay for it? if it reaches that price I will get an email, push notification or a dashboard notification.
- Share the game details with a friend.
Idea Number 7 – The Review Tab and what game I should I buy next?
Scenario – Spending $60/£45 on a game is a risky affair for some and for others it is the opportunity cost of playing one game over another. What if I could find someone whose experience and taste in games was like mine and see how they feel about a game I am interested in?
Two possible ideas:
- I build my own query i.e. I want to see a video review of Gears 4 from someone who prefers single player story games AND has completed all the other Gears games (including Judgment AND Gears of War Ultimate Edition) on the most difficult setting. (it is beyond the scope of this article on how we can generate user content, but I have a couple of ideas).
- What if you took my preference in games, my Gamerscore and what I have unlocked and apply some AI and then look for similar patterns with other gamers/reviewers? Cortana could get my feedback on reviewers (things like watching the review from start to end, or whether I follow the reviewer or unfollow, comments left could all help to build up a picture of what I like) and then improve its recommendations based upon this. What if I could use the Xbox button to tag a reviewer on YouTube I like. Their content, assuming permission is granted, is now available for me for on the review tab. What if a friend of mine likes a specific reviewer – could that not be recommended to me as well?
Idea Number 8 – help me get into a game
Scenario – I buy a game based on hype e.g. it’s a Microsoft exclusive. I install it, play it for 5 minutes, get stuck/confused or face a bug then move onto another game.
Impact – The games developer and Microsoft have my money but the possibility of future investment including DLC or microtransactions is uncertain.
A possible solution – track where I have reached in a game, understand what achievements I have not unlocked (micro-conversions) and the time I have not played the game. If the time not played is above average or usual for my usual gaming preferences send me a notification (an email or Cortana asking me a question) guiding me on what to do next. Imagine a conversation with Cortana for example:
Cortana: What do you think of Destiny 2? (instead of Cortana asking me I see you have not played Destiny for 7 days, 8 hours and 10 seconds and did not pass the first mission, are you stuck?)
Me: This light score thing does not make sense to me.
Cortana: I know an excellent guide to light score in Destiny written by one of your favourite reviewers:
Me: Please show me.
The purpose of this section is to focus on playing together. Usually, when we talk about playing together we think about multiplayer games, but I want to focus on how we can play together on single player games.
Single Player Games
Why would we want to play together on a single player game?
- Competitive – adding the element of competing against a friend can make the experience more enjoyable
- Working with friends to get through a tough section of a game.
Competitive Single Player
A single player game is usually played by one person, so running a competition between friends is either ad-hoc or post-event. What if Xbox Live allowed developers to build competitive elements into the game with minimum effort? Microsoft would do the heavy lifting and the developer and ultimately the user would benefit. Every game is different but there are common features that could include:
- Real-time updates when you are playing against a friend (they have just unlocked an achievement and you have this much left to do, they have 90% accuracy with a rifle vs your 72% accuracy with your rifle, you just defeated the boss, whilst they just died or they just unlocked a hidden feature which you have yet to find). The idea is having real-time updates so there is always competition. We can even take it a step further and set up tasks, the first person to defeat x number of zombies, or keep possession of the ball for more than a minute etc.
- What about creating a video of shared gameplay e.g. this is me jumping and landing safety vs my friend falling off the cliff and falling to his doom.
- End of level section updates compared to your friends. Your friend did this section in X minutes, 2 attempts and 4 headshots. Here is a video of them doing it.”
I am Stuck – Help Me Out
There are times when you are stuck in a game and do not know what to do next. Usually, that means figuring it out or leaving the game and finding a solution on YouTube or online. What if you could ask a friend? Xbox would need to be able to determine who could help me in my circle of friends and help me connect with them. Once connected I would want to share my screen and have the option for them to take over my game and either commit their action into my game (once they get through the bit I am stuck on) or let me redo it myself. I may want them to guide me on what to do, or I may want them to do it for me. The idea is I have the option.
Co-operative – Team Battle
Microsoft clubs are a great way to organise a meetup, but it does it still involve organising a number of people to agree a time to play together. What if we could add some AI with an understanding when I play and access to my diary/calendar? I can create a simple query:
I want to PLAY Halo 5 with my friends (A, B and C) Cortana to set TIME and DAY.
Cortana would have to understand my day/time preferences and my friend’s day/time preference, offer options that are localised to each user. For example, my friend A gets a notification: are you free to play Halo 5 on Friday night @ 11 pm GMT, B at Friday evening @ 6 pm EST and C @12pm CET. Once we have reached an agreement a calendar appointment is created and a reminder is set. Taking this a stage further, Cortana would have to manage cancellation, lateness and no-shows. For example, finding last-minute replacements if needed. By Cortana managing the event the gamers can focus on what they enjoy. Let’s say for example we agreed to play at 2 am – I would want Cortana to set my alarm on my iPhone just in case I fall asleep.
As another example I can ask Cortana who can I game with now? Cortana would understand who I game with usually and who is online now. It could send invites for me and provide options of what to play. I could be on the bus and be asked, would I be free at 8pm to play with X, they are interested in playing Destiny 2 or COD.
Who can I challenge? Getting better at gaming
To improve your skills involves playing people who are better than you, so they stretch your capability. We could analyse user performance on a game to create a global ranking system. For example, I want to get better at Killer Instinct, I would want to be able to identify who would be the best people to play based upon the characters I use or the experience I want to gain (I want to practise fighting against Character X). It would return a list of users and invite them to play Killer Instinct even if they are playing a different game at that time.
By having a ranking system, you have regional champions, for example being the best Killer Instinct player in London. Having such an award and the ability to defend it would take the game to another level.
Watching a movie or a TV show can be a solo experience or at least shared with the people in the same physical location as you. What if you could watch a movie or TV show with friends at the same time but in different locations?
Examples of how it would work
I rent a movie from Xbox with the option to allow for one or more of my friends to watch it at the same time as me. I pay a higher price (but still lower than each one of us renting it), but can share the payment between the users and we can watch the movie at the same time.
Xbox could then facilitate text chat on screen or in the app or allow us talk to each other. The idea is to allow people even if they are 1000s of miles away to share the experience of the movie/show together. Taking it a stage further what if you could add gameshow/quiz elements during or post the show or movie?
I really hope you have enjoyed reading this article and found at least some of the ideas useful. If you want to discuss this with me further, please drop me an email, leave a comment or DM me on Twitter.