Its a position no company wants its product to be in: the target of an assault by zeitgeist President and all-round international superhero Barack Obama. However Microsoft found itself in such a position when last week Obama called for parents to “put away the Xbox” for the sake of their kids.
During a speech to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the NAACP, he said: “We can’t tell our kids to do well in school and fail to support them when they get home. For our kids to excel, we must accept our own responsibilities. That means putting away the Xbox and putting our kids to bed at a reasonable hour.”
Rather than just taking this on the chin as a generalised comment by the President, when he really is referring to videogames as a whole, Microsoft have responded in a statement of their own. The statement reads: “We agree with President Obama that it’s a time for families to work together so that kids use media in ways that are safe, healthy and balanced. Xbox 360 is the only console gaming system that has a timer feature allowing parents to set time limits for their kids, as well as parent controls to enable parents to set limits on what their kids are playing and watching.”
Microsoft probably felt that they had to defend their brand from this slightly unfair attack from the President, which in all fairness was likely to not have been so intentionally direct. However, the response will probably fall on deaf ears outside of the industry and the fact they have used the opportunity as a sales pitch to parents is in itself a little cheap.