After watching the Xbox One reveal, reading through countless press releases, doing some straight reporting on the event myself, and looking at the feedback en masse, I’m going to guess as to what thoughts are racing through The Microsoft collective, now that everything is said and done.
The hype around the big unveiling was unreal, this should come as a surprise to no one. New consoles are as big as gaming news gets, and Microsoft full well knew what was at stake with this reveal. With Sony upstaging them by a couple of months, and Nintendo already jumping the gun with a next gen console out on the market, now was the time for Microsoft to prove to we, the gamers, just how serious they were about video games.
Analyzing still the lead up to the event, we had a bit of potential to satiate us. The rampant speculation, in regards to the supposed title of the machine, ended up being largely unfounded. 720 seemed the go to, and The Nextbox was another charmed nomenclature of choice. Right before the event took place, others still speculated as to the possibility of Infinity making the cut; many waiting with bated breath as to which one was really going to stick.
After all, the pre-conceived notions of naming, and having the public accepting a machine called the “Infinity”, seemed like an impossibly grand proposal. Many were dubious as to whether MS was going to successfully convince us all that, Infinity, was indeed worth it.
Diving a little deeper into the details, I turn now as to what was shown, discussed, and completely blown. The event itself started off predictably so: a get hype super cheese hallmark expose, involving a whole lot of pointless flirtation, and a whole lot of shallow teasing. If any of us were paying more attention to sub-text, a greater deal of us would have been worried, upon further inspection of the sentiment “You and your TV…are going to have a relationship”.
Awkward sexual fumbling in focus, Don Mattrick had a lot to live up to: pretend to be interesting about an interestingly pretend concept. Mr. Mattrick urged us, along with many other speakers at the reveal, that the Xbox One was all about the TV, and that the console represented a return to “the all in one” entertainment system. Not only does this disservice the basic reality that TV as a device, is no longer priority, but continues to abandon the only priority the Xbox One reveal should have had front and center.
Video Games, you know, the very essence of what the Xbox One, a video game console, is suppose to be all about.
Alas, too much to ask, in this high tech day and age of…television?
Hmm, something seems a miss here, as it did during the conference. I waited with restrained patience, for any number of Deloreans to simultaneously crash into each other on the stage of the reveal. That would at least explain the bizarre time distortion taking place…the one taking place where people at a video game press event, talk about a piece of technology that can effectively render pores on a human face, and how they’re more excited about the future possibilities of television programming.
With this in mind, I’m speculating now that Microsoft will brag about how revolutionary the internet will be at E3, in creating a new form of civilization on the Xbox One.
I use hyperbole with justified vindication in this critique. Representatives trying to impress us with a new video game console, stood on stage and spoke some variation of the word TV over 50 times in an hour. That’s ten times the number of games they even mentioned at the Xbox One reveal, and ten times the amount I care at all about the amount of sports I’ll be able to watch…
…on a new video game console.
This ridiculously misguided attempt at trying to wow an audience, who is mainly streaming your reveal on a computer mind you, about the exciting aspects of a television, still had a chance to succeed. We all could have still walked away happy, forgetting entirely about this futuristic approach involving “TV”, had the second half of the reveal focused entirely on the age old way of playing video games.
Not so fast, you self entitled dog of a gamer.
No, they went from hyping the wonders of TV, to hyping specific kinds of TV. Don and the gang continued to try and impress gamers, with the possibility of watching sports events, which is a lot like trying to sell Prime Rib to vegans.
I know, I know, EA represents a very real casual appeal to any console, and always provides a needed install base for a video game system. That’s the missed point however, as much as gamers aren’t really excited about TV, we also aren’t really excited about sports. The people who will use the Xbox One as a sports watching alternative, who are truly and amazingly excited about the next EA sports game, probably didn’t even know the reveal was happening. With a heavily passive aggressive approach, Microsoft broke the first rule of political pandering: don’t throw your base under the bus.
In forgetting about the very people they were trying to sell to, MS somehow geared this entire event, at a fictionalized version of Microsoft’s core demographic. This “Steven America”, who has loads of money, a perfectly large living room to set it all up in, and the burning desire to play the next Madden game.
This Xbox One reveal should have been a game changer, yet very few were mentioned. The Xbox One reveal was going to be Microsoft’s counter attack to both Sony and Nintendo, yet it only seemed to hurt Microsoft themselves. They spent so much time trying to convince us of what idealistically mattered, they forgot to focus on what realistically mattered most. The only thing anyone ever really cared about, in leading up the big reveal of the Xbox One.
Video games, and they’re the only thing that distinguishes the Xbox One from a personal computer, and a television set.
One technology we already have, and another that doesn’t really matter any more.
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