Xbox and the Gift that keeps on Giving

I have a Microsoft Xbox 360 gaming console, that I originally purchased for the occasional online game with far-flung friends. It continues to amaze me that a half-dozen of us from around the world, sporting goofy call-center operator style headphones, can chat and catch up while tossing virtual grenades at each other. The other aspect of Xbox that amazes me is that the device has evolved well beyond gaming. It can play movies, check the weather, suggest interesting songs and movies, and remains easy to use, with a fluid and intuitive interface.

Technology companies are constantly touting “partnerships” and “value-added content,” but this usually comes in the form of technical feature porn, or thinly-veiled advertisements for you to buy more, the worst offenders also appearing on a Microsoft product in the form of dozens of “crapware” applications that litter a new computer.

Where Microsoft gets it right with Xbox is that new features and capabilities are truly beneficial to the user. One gets the sense that the Xbox team is looking to make the product better for the end consumer, rather than add spec-sheet puffery, or squeeze another dime out of the consumer by loading the product with ads and junk. While most products lose utility and value over their lifespan, Xbox grows in utility with every software update. Does your product or service do the same?

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