Microsoft has come under criticism following a marketing stunt that some people have branded as sexist. The stunt involved a letter that was posted on Microsoft's Xbox One website and was designed to help gamers convince their partners that they should get an Xbox One. The problem was that many people felt this letter was geared towards helping men ask for an Xbox One or gain permission to purchase one for themselves.
Dubbed 'We Got Your Back,' the letter features blank spaces along with fill in the blanks/Mad Libs type suggestions to help users complete their letter. Unfortunately, some of the suggestions, along with the tone of the letter, came across as a little sexist. These suggestions include the implication that the person reading the letter prefers to knit or dance than play games. Naturally, female gamers were a little bit upset that this marketing campaign seemed to ignore their existence and took to Twitter to voice their outrage. Men also seemed surprised that Microsoft would let something like this go live. Microsoft then changed some of the default answers and apologized (CNet reports that 'knit' was ditched in favor of 'do your taxes early') but the letter didn't last too much longer and eventually disappeared altogether.
The letter in its original form was quickly branded as sexist and condescending on the Twittersphere, but Microsoft was no doubt trying to demonstrate the diversity of the Xbox One as a platform. Highlighting the fact that the Xbox One is not just for gaming has been Microsoft's tactic since the console's unveiling. Unfortunately, in doing so, the company implied that certain aspects of the Xbox One were only interesting to certain people. Not a clever move, especially since the ESA's 2012 numbers on sales, demographic and usage data for the computer and video game industry state that 47 percent of gamers are female. In fact, according to the ESA's data, women 18 or older represent a significantly greater portion of the game-playing population than boys under 17.