A couple of days ago I had an email fall into my inbox, another one from Xbox official and for once it wasn’t advertising or telling me I had bugger all Microsoft points. It was one telling me that January sucks for illness and advised me that I should try calling in sick so that I could play on my Xbox until I was “better” it even gave me a note I could customize to my own nefarious purposes.

Click on image to see full size of Xbox email.

Click on image to see full size of Xbox email.

Sure, it’s a joke, but…

I know it’s a joke, but I don’t think it’s a particularly funny one. I work in retail and you need to have a sense of humour in a profession that is run by people looking to replace you with a robot as soon as they think they can get away with it.

But I digress; I think someone would try this. As I mention I work in retail, and it’s amazing how many cases of ‘Call of Fluety’ seem to occur when a new release is out and suddenly people are ill or dying. When the latest COD and Eminem album was released last year, I was surrounded by jokes describing 24 hour Aids. So, with that, this email: it’s damaging to suggest lying to people (especially your employer). There are those of us who do have jobs and may not enjoy them fully, but it would be a terrible reason to lose a job: pretending you’re ill just to play a game. There aren’t a lot around and unreliability is a mark of Cain to have on your CV.

It’s happened before

This isn’t the first time Microsoft have done something similar to this for the Xbox Brand. A while ago they sent one out about the release of the Xbox One with a customizable note to give to someone, though defaulted on generating one for your partner (very careful on that) to encourage them to accept you’re going to buy one and how great it will be. Very much playing the stereotype that girls don’t want their men to have fun. The backlash of this email needless to say, was not good. But Microsoft did apologise and try to make amends.

It’s not helpful

From another perspective, in the UK youth unemployment rates are falling slowly, but only that. 764,000 16-24 year olds  (link goes to PDF), aka the Xbox demographic, are out of work and not in training or education. So how does one fill the time before finding employment? Bingo! Not actual bingo I mean, there’s enough of that online. Videogames fill that void, which could lead for some to starting to build dependencies on games to feel like they’re worth anything. People can be susceptible and it can be nice to escape from the grimness of our universe into a digital world which doesn’t judge you. But like all addictions there can be struggles that are hard to escape.

It’s funny how with messages like this one, Microsoft is potentially influencing people to show how ‘Rad’ and ‘Rebel’ they are at Xbox, as a brand, rather than being a good person who works hard. Basically it’s irresponsible and it feels like pandering to the demographic who want to suck it up like the last dregs of their ‘Halo’ approved Mountain Dew. Because it makes them feel they’re sticking it to ‘THE MAN’ (the job), who just wants to ruin their 7 hour FIFA Session, avoid their girlfriends who want to make them go outside and discuss their FEELINGS and be the SUPER FUN TIME CRAZY GUY they say they are on Facebook.

What this kind of marketing really does is glamorise being an unreliable worker who won’t amount to much and that’s sad. To sum up: Microsoft, please stop sending these silly and unhelpful messages. You’re making yourself look bad and given how bad some of your OS systems are you don’t need any more reason for people to be annoyed with you.