Xbox promotion causes sexism row

Xbox promotion causes sexism row
Seth Tipps

By Seth Tipps

November 28th 2013 at 8:40AM

Advertisement offered reasons for significant others to approve console purchase, but assumed buyer was male

An Xbox promotion that offers gamers points for debate in case “someone in your life” is standing between them and buying the new Microsoft console has been accused of sexism.

The marketing for the Xbox One has targeted a wider demographic than the general gamer, focusing instead on it's general appeal as a home entertainment device.

This latest promotion chose to angle that towards the “core” gaming demographic though, and this meant trying to touch base with a decidedly male group of users.

Clicking through the link would provide a form that provided reasons why a living partner should approve of the purchase of an Xbox One, and a space to enter an e-mail address so the results could be forwarded on.

“You’d rather knit than watch me slay zombies, but hear me out on this: Xbox One is actually for both of us,” read one of these default responses early on Wednesday.

That was later changed to “You’d rather do your taxes early than watch me slay zombies, but hear me out on this. Xbox One is actually for both of us.”

Now it looks like the promotion has been removed entirely, as an attempt by Develop to fact-check has shown the link doesn't take users to any of the above content, but The Wall Street Journal has provided screenshots in its own article on the controversy.

In the same article, a Microsoft spokesperson said that no offense was meant, but that the company understood how the default reasons could have been perceived as offensive.

The letter is fully customizable and we meant no offense, but understand how the defaults could be perceived,” the spokesperson said.

“We’re making changes to the letter defaults and apologize for the oversight.”

Regardless of the changes, Xbox is still very conscious of the wider appeal of its multimedia device, and is marketing its next generation console to take advantage of this.

One video, shown below, shows a typical (if the average user looked like a Gap commerical) user being ordered to “get me a beer” and “go to the shop” by his girlfriend, parodying the voice controls offered by the Xbox One.