Well, the dust has settled since the Xbox One has been announced on Tuesday, and it seems like Microsoft is in an all too unfortunate situation, both with it’s fans, and what seems to be their stream of information.
While I was mostly disappointed, let me start with how disappointed I am with the general reaction to the press conference. Most of what I heard and saw while consulting Twitter and our forums over at Retroids, was the consensus that “it wasn’t Sony’s”, which is very true. The conference isn’t even comparable to Sony’s presser though, because Microsoft was never going to play that game. They came into this with the intent to reveal their hardware and some of that hardware’s features. This basic preface counteracts the major complaint that was ,“there weren’t enough games,” which most people should have just expected from the beginning, seeing as Microsoft had said a week earlier, up front. They need to save something big for E3.
That being said, I think Microsoft hit quite a number of bumps along the road. I thought the beginning of the conference was pretty great! They showed multitasking, specs, TV integration, the menu, and the box. Almost all these things we didn’t see at Sony’s conference, which put them out ahead. Now, there was significantly less detail, but that was okay because this was a TV broadcast for mass-audiences. Sony had a very specific gamer-related focus.
Then they showed their partnership with EA sports, which was fine, but there was too much time spent with Andrew Wilson on stage to explain exactly how much he can string together, really, meaningless words and phrases just to quantify this new partnership. I’m glad that there are new features out there for fans of sports games, and no they don’t appeal to me, but I think everyone can agree this time would have been better spent showing those features rather than some highly polished speech that just sounded like bullshit PR speak. This, I think, was what frustrated most of the audience that walked away disappointed, because they either didn’t care, this went on too long, or just seemed like useless words.
There may have been a better reaction if there just wasn’t as much content that no one cared for, instead of inversely having more content that appealed to everyone. If the presser was shorter and was more focused, I doubt I’d be as disappointed, and a lot of people would agree with me.
The focus on the NFL content seemed fine, and interesting to that audience as well, and showing that Xbox franchises can pull in big names like Spielberg for TV has me genuinely excited. Glossing over what the hell is going on with Quantum Break and then just showing a very confusing trailer was a terrible idea though. Made the game come off more as a joke than anything else.
Where Microsoft really fucked up was the post-conference information leak. It should have been organized and clear, much like how Sony handled it, but it wasn’t. Mixed information was coming from everyone, whether it be on Twitter, from six different website all saying different things, or the Xbox Support Twitter account directly contradicting something that Phil Harrison was saying in interviews. What kind of organization and structure was that?
At this point, there still isn’t a clear answer as to how used/borrowed games are going to work, because Microsoft is “announcing that later,” which seems much more useless then they need to be right now. They should have been ready for the backlash when things like “always online” and “blocks used games” came up as rumors months ago and everyone was angry about it then. It just seems irresponsible to be this disorganized at this point. They know the game, they know their fans, and they aren’t stupid.
All I can really say is that they need to get there act together, because unless there is some clear information come E3, most people will write off this system just out of spite. The general word I see out there from people who have been sending me information via Twitter, is that they are clearly unimpressed. It isn’t too late, but it feels like Microsoft started this race with a limp. They need to have a game plan moving forward that is more than “well, we still have video games to show,” because calming the consumers angry confusing is the higher priority then giving them something to be excited about.
I really want to believe in the Xbox One, and I think Microsoft can pull this together over the next month, but I know it won’t be easy.
If you want to see myself and some other members of the team’s reaction immediately following the conference, check out the video here:
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