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Monday, June 24, 2024

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A Genuine Reaction to the Xbox Games Showcase

I’ve got to say, gaming is not like many other mediums. It invokes strong emotions that  are currently noticeable around the internet. You can see happiness, sadness, anger, and some down right trolling. Now that both PlayStation and Xbox have shown us their cards I too want to share my emotions. First of all, I have to share that I myself was pretty emotional and had to rewrite this article several times just to make sure the entire thing wasn’t dominated by one feeling. Some people don’t understand why emotions run wild in gaming, it’s not much different to why people get emotional in sports. You don’t like seeing your team lose and unfortunately I think I saw my team lose.

Now not every Xbox fan feels like yesterday was an letdown from team Xbox. In fact there is a lot to celebrate. The new Halo looks like it plays like a Halo game. There is a large variety of games coming to the Series X that completely destroys that old argument that the Xbox is just a Halo, Forza, and Gears machine.

The variety is insane and that’s not unsurprising coming form Microsoft. The current generation of Xbox games included Killer Instinct, Scream Ride, Crimson Dragon, Zoo Tycoon, Recore, Ori, Cuphead and more. That being said the showcase Microsoft demonstrated to thousands of viewers online left me a little worried.

The issue is that yesterday we saw a glimpse into the future. Nothing solid for the immediate launch window of the next generation. The showcase many Xbox fans had been waiting for was littered with trailer after trailer of games that may not even look like their CGI counterparts.

You’re telling me State of Decay will actually look like this?

It’s not my first rodeo, I know these trailers aren’t representative of the final product. I don’t put much weight in them so I look past the visual fluff. Unfortunately most of the showcase was just fluff.

Surely the gameplay will be satisfying right? EverWild looks cool, what’s it about? Is this a Viva Piñata spiritual successor? Is this a Pokemon clone? Will you play as a veterinarian? Who knows we didn’t see any game play! Okay okay, how about this new game Avowed, cool I see a sword and magic casting is this guy going to at least swing his sword? Nope. At least theres Halo right? Yup that’s Halo alright, good old reliable Halo. Personally the way everybody was hyping this game up during the preshow I was expecting the second coming of Jesus. Next, ah yes Forza. Forza always has a standard level drive through with a cockpit view. Surely that can’t let me down…


With each trailer came a sharp dagger of realization. “Wait a minute, that trailer doesn’t even have a release date on it.” I thought to myself “How long would that game take to release? Two, maybe three years? That’s an RPG, that’s definitely going to take more than three years.” All these trailers were just eye candy, something to distract from the lack of real content.

In the end I was let down by the fact that besides Halo there wasn’t that one game to dive deep into. When the Xbox One was announced alongside its games there was one game that stood out that I could go follow, see a community grow with it, and could potentially play day one. That game was Killer Instinct. There was nothing like that during this show. Instead Microsoft offered a promise that games were indeed coming. Sure you couldn’t trust that the games would look like the trailers, or that they would release any time soon, or even know what they played like but hey you knew the general concept of the game right? That’s enough for gamers right?  Apparently it was.

Look I get it. Game Pass is definitely the best deal in gaming and am sure the Xbox team is using it as a means to convince the brass at Microsoft of the potential of gaming. The issue is that it feels like Xbox is just catering towards the Game Pass vision. Eurogamer shared a perfect view of what is wrong with Microsoft’s current strategy.

And yet, 2013 still has an important lesson to teach us. Microsoft fluffed it so hard then because it thought a pitch to the core gaming audience no longer mattered…If your games don’t thrill us, if your pitch seems driven by theory rather than passion, you are in trouble. Xbox still has work to do.


“Console Wars” or the points in time when these consoles launch are a period of fierce competition between both Xbox and PlayStation. For some reason people don’t believe this same concept applies to the cloud gaming front. Xbox is racing to secure itself as the Netflix of gaming because they know once you become that, it’s hard to be contested. The thing is, at this point any company can be that, if Sony so choses they can outright take the idea and run with it. This is literally the 2013 view point in which Microsoft so confidently thought they could just convince the common gamer what’s best with little to no footwork on their end. Sony could easily take up the mantle and do it better.

Xbox has been behind since the Xbox One generation and yesterdays conference didn’t give any indication that they plan on being anywhere past second place. While I don’t think Sony’s presentation was that much better, the good will and respect the PlayStation brand has amassed over the years gives its fans the trust that even with a mediocre showing, PlayStation will bring an A+ generation even on inferior hardware. I don’t think the same can be said about team Xbox when their flagship title with a rumored 500 million budget looks visually impaired.

All the negativity aside there’s still hope on the horizon. According to Matt Booty during the end of the show, another game conference is still in the works with the remainder of the first party studios at the forefront. Perhaps this upcoming August we will see tangible games that will launch alongside the console. Maybe we will see some progress on the Warner Bros. deal, Xbox still doesn’t have an answer for Spider-Man hype and with what we saw yesterday, yeah they’re going to need more teams delivering exclusive content sooner rather than later.

There is no excuse this time around. The leadership has been revamped, the most important moment in gaming is here with Game Pass and xCloud but if Microsoft can’t sell the Series X all of that could be lost to Sony. All Microsoft really needs is one game. Give the audience that one game that will sell the console. I just hope they realize that Game Pass won’t sell us on the Series X alone.



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