Microsoft has had a bit of a public image issue since the very early days of the Xbox One unveilling. They had the always on connection, and then the not so always on connection. They had the no used games policy, and then they decided they were just joking about that whole thing because they totally love used games and letting friends borrow their games and all that non-evil stuff. The backlash was severe, but major decisions were reversed and they ultimately did what they could to respond to consumer concerns. Basically, they just copied Sony in every way short of renaming their console the XB3. Still, the fact that they listened to their customers was a great thing, and for a long while Microsoft has done a great job not doing anything stupid. I mean, a lot of what they had to do was fairly common sense at this point, and as long as the launch went smoothly they just had to smile and not do anything stupid like act like a jerk to handicapped people and everyone would be happy.
This past week Microsoft might of acted like a jerk to handicapped people, and not everyone is happy.
Seriously though, this story is less about Microsoft being a jerk to handicapped people, and more that Sony having an amazing customer service department. Last weekend at the EBGames Expo in Australia, both Sony and Microsoft showed up to showcase their upcoming system to throngs of eager fans. Part of this eager crowd included an individual that uses the reddit handle RandomHypnotica who posted the events of his day on Facebook.
Score one for Sony on the absurdly generous apology front. Microsoft didn’t really do anything wrong, but failing to make your booth handicap accessible is a fairly big oversight on both companies parts and Sony was the only one to do anything to rectify it. When your competitor is handing out free consoles to make up for accidentally slighting a group of disabled gamers, you need to step your PR game up somehow. Perhaps a bit more of a sincere apology was expected, but the gaming community has been waiting for an apology for Kinectimals for years so maybe apologies aren’t Microsoft’s strong suit.
Additionally, while this has been gaining some traction in the media (stories about being mean to the disabled tend to do that), it is important to note that the original source for this story is Facebook and a reddit post. Others have reported and confirmed that it stated on EBExpo’s official page that some companies were indeed adding second stories to their booths and that these second stories would not be wheelchair accessible. However, neither Sony nor Microsoft has commented on the story yet, and while Sony’s generosity is certainly possible it is important to remember that these stories all rely on the veracity of a single reddit post. So….hooray Sony? Maybe?