Microsoft’s Inside Xbox livestream gave us a first look at Xbox Series X games yesterday, and it’s safe to say that the event left a lot Xbox fans disappointed. When many expected to see real gameplay of next-gen games such as Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla, what we got was a succession of mostly cinematic trailers with very few gameplay sequences, and even less a-ha moments.
To be fair, the Xbox team didn’t really promise us the moon for the first event of a series of Xbox 20/20 monthly livestreams. “For the Xbox 20/20 May update, we will focus on giving you a first look at next-gen gameplay, trailers and sneak peeks from a wide variety of publishing partners and independent developers across the globe and industry, including Ubisoft’s recently announced Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, and hear from game creators about what they’re doing with their games on Xbox Series X,” the announcement post read (emphasis ours).
Still, the use of the word “gameplay” in that blog post led most Xbox fans to expect to see the actual games being played, instead of the cinematic trailers we usually see at E3 or other gaming events. Mike Ybarra, a Microsoft veteran who recently left Xbox for Blizzard Entertainment probably nailed the general sense of disappointment caused by Microsoft’s ambiguous use of the “gameplay” word. “To me it means a snapshot of what it *is* like for a real person to play, with a controller, on that particular build of the game controlling the experience as the game has intended. Making the terminology even more confusing was an incredibly odd move,” the former Xbox exec said.
Well, it seems that the Xbox team heard the message loud and clear. Aaron Greenberg, General Manager of Xbox Games Marketing said on Twitter that “Had we not said anything & just shown May Inside Xbox show like we did last month, I suspect reactions might have been different. Clearly we set some wrong expectations & that’s on us. We appreciate all the feedback & can assure you we will take it all in & learn as a team,” Greenberg said.
Had we not said anything & just shown May Inside Xbox show like we did last month, I suspect reactions might have been different. Clearly we set some wrong expectations & that’s on us. We appreciate all the feedback & can assure you we will take it all in & learn as a team. ????????????
— Aaron Greenberg ????????♂️????U (@aarongreenberg) May 8, 2020
It’s good to know that the Xbox team is listening to feedback, but it’s still odd to see Microsoft shoot itself in the foot at a critical point in the road to next-gen consoles. After Xbox head Phil Spencer himself compared the launch of Xbox Series X to the transition from 2D to 3D, the reveal event for Xbox Series X games should have been something unforgettable. Instead, Microsoft chose to showcase third-party games first, while promising to show its own games like Halo: Infinite during an Xbox Game Studios event in July. Unfortunately, that leaves Sony plenty of time to reclaim ownership of the next-gen consoles narrative. And according to the latest rumors, the Japanese company is now expected to hold its PlayStation 5 reveal event in early June.