The countdown to the 2013 Electronic Entertainment Expo is winding down to its final days. This year is different from any other in the history of E3, because we have not one, but two new consoles Microsoft and Sony will showcase. We’ve just had the official unveiling of the Xbox One, and while a lot has been revealed about the console, some questions remain. Did the Xbox One reveal do more harm than good, or was there a method to Microsoft‘s madness? With E3 a couple of weeks away, in this edition of the Sanchez Soapbox, we’re going to put a spotlight on Microsoft.
Let me say this and get it out of the way; I was not impressed with Microsoft‘s official unveiling of the Xbox One. I thought there wasn’t enough to convince me to buy into their console…Yet. Showing off the entertainment features, the new Kinect, annual franchises in EA Sports games, and the new Call of Duty just didn’t appeal to me. Though I’m not a big Halo fan, I would’ve understood if they showed that game off over Call of Duty: Ghosts. One major reason being is that if I see Halo, I’ll think Xbox. If I see Call of Duty, I see both major consoles. But it wasn’t just the conference where Microsoft faltered in the Xbox One reveal. Some of the news that was delivered may have raised a few more concerns for the Xbox One.
The Kinect being a mandatory peripheral for the Xbox One to work might have turned away some people, and others are still a little worried about the DRM needing a connection to the internet at least once a day. Others were outraged over the news of the possible “used games fee”. Then there were those people that felt Microsoft highlighted too many entertainment applications and didn’t focus enough on the games.
It’s not all grim though; Microsoft seemingly got all the boring stuff out of the way before the big show in June. In doing so, they garnered some criticism along the way. What do they need to do to win back those people that might be apprehensive over the console? Short answer: Games. They need to show off those 15 titles coming to the Xbox One, with a major emphasis on those eight original titles. Sure, Forza and Halo should have a place, but as Ubisoft showed last year with Watch Dogs, original titles will be the talk of the conference.
Another thing that will help Microsoft in the long term is to give straight answers to the questions about the online connection and used game policies and how that is beneficial to the consumer or even the publishers and developers. One thing to think about in terms of the short run is to help out those gamers that might not be early adopters. I’m sure there are games coming out for the Xbox 360, but a nice transition would help them out in case they need more time to buy a new console for any number of reasons.
So we shouldn’t take anything away from Microsoft. The Xbox One might have some more tricks up its sleeve. New games might not be the only things that are showed off, which may or may not work in their favor. Sony has tried their hand at a somewhat “all in one” console, marketing the Playstation 3 with their, “It only does everything” campaign. I think the “all in one” console idea can work better for Microsoft in terms of marketing toward a specific audience. More specifically, in the U.S., the Xbox is a household name. Microsoft has, or at least had, a good share of the U.S. market. Announcing they’re working closely with the EA Sports people to bring exclusive features to their FIFA games can bode well for the European market.
So whether the official unveiling of the Xbox One left people with a sour taste in their mouth or moistened their pallets waiting for more, Microsoft has another shot to make an impression, because they’re going to be the first live conference with a live audience of the press and gamers.