First impressions are critical in business, but not just for potential employees and customers. The first impression people have of your new product can be the deciding factor in its success or failure, and with the advent of social media and the 24/7 news cycle, that first impression may be the only thing people will take away from your product.
The Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) finished up June 13th in Los Angeles, with new next-generation video game hardware on display from both Sony and Microsoft. While both companies had briefly shown their new consoles at unveiling events — Sony in February, Microsoft in late May — E3 would be the first time both systems would be paired up against each other, the first time games were shown at length, and the first time the mass media would be paying attention.
The reactions to the two machines could not have been more drastically different. Chris Kohler of Wired said , “It was a moment that will go down in the E3 history books.” Microsoft’s Xbox One would require regular check-ins with a central server to function as a game console. Ownership of games, previously an assumed right of the purchaser, came into question with Microsoft’s ill-defined digital resale system. Microsoft would not allow independent developers to self-publish their games on the Xbox One. When Sony CEO Jack Tretton announced that their Playstation 4 would have none of these same restrictions, the crowd erupted into applause. When he followed that with saying that the Playstation 4 would launch for $399, a full $100 less than the Xbox One, the applause grew to deafening.
The Official Playstation Used Game Instructional Video released right after the press conference perfectly encapsulated the immediate reaction. Sony didn’t only beat Microsoft at E3, it did so while fighting for the rights of gamers all over the world, from military servicemen who wouldn’t be able to use the Internet-required Xbox One while serving overseas to younger gamers who made the most of limited funds by selling their old games to get enough money to purchase new ones.
Microsoft’s message was lost in the negative feedback they received in the wake of both their conference and Sony’s, with the prospective benefits of their new ownership system overwhelmed by constant questions and demands for clarification. Inconsistent messages only added to the problems Microsoft faced. By the time E3 ended the Playstation 4 was considered the clear winner, while the Xbox One found itself on the receiving end of jabs on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon. While Microsoft shocked the industry by backing off on every one of their controversial stances with the Xbox One only days later, a story broken by Patrick Klepek of CBS Interactive, it remains to be seen how much effect that course correction will have with the mass market purchaser who heard about this on Jimmy Fallon’s show or on the nightly news.
A clear and professional first impression is one of the most important things in the business world. Whether it’s unveiling your new product, welcome new customers into your store, or greeting callers on the phone, no one forgets their first exposure to your company. Make sure it’s a good one.