How Microsoft Faceplanted on the Starting Block

There’s something to be said about this latest generation of console releases. Both libraries have very few “new” games involved in it’s line-up (and of those, there’s nothing that really stands out for me – or for many others right now, honestly) and the only real “boast” about tech progression right now is that the graphics are better – but it’s such a barely noticeable difference on the common HDTV (when you don’t have a room that is a host to a 50″ tv, at least) that it’s pretty much negligible. At least the potential for progression is there in the new systems? Well we’ll see how it goes…

…but when it comes to Microsoft, I think I’m done with them. It’s been nice on the 360, but they’ve really lost their way since then. Starting off, they flopped on the unveiling of the console, effectively starting their campaign as a “One console for all!” outcry which, when you’re a console gamer, is a huge kick in the teeth early on. But then they unveiled the game line-up and things just snowballed from there: From the entire fiasco of the poorly explained Xbox One functionality (and it’s subsequent reversal and removal of Don Mattrick) to Adam Orth basically eating his own foot over a twitter outburst to even alienating independent developers with further restrictions (which then also found itself overturned). And this is all BEFORE the console’s released, when they may have even fancied making a discless console!

And I hold my head in my hands every time, because in all this mess there’s so little problems reported with the PS4’s release. In fact, it’s probably the smoothest release I’ve seen in over a generation – and that’s an achievement in some people’s minds. Even in my search for bad articles on the PS4, all that come up are the post-release problems that were plaguing the XB1 and PS4, so it’s effectively a moot point. Honestly, the PS4 never needed to run much of a campaign for it’s console, only it’s games, because so much of the above is Microsoft self-destructing on their own advertising campaigns (which, when your opposition is stumbling on the starting block like a drunken brawler, sometimes the best thing to do is to just leave them to it).

The most frustrating part for me? There was POTENTIAL! When thinking about it, if I’m not playing games, Youtube is on in the background, or I’m watching a stream of something while playing a game on the console. With XB1’s snap feature, that could all have been done on one console. The PS3 checks in each night to update trophies or add patches to games – particularly if you have a PS+ account. This is the same goal of the Xbox One console before their reversal! Their goal of the advertisement was there – the method was just flawed. When someone advertises TV features for a gaming console, it’s going to set a bad precedent. When someone says “Always Online” they assume that means literally. Though when indie devs feel they have to jump through hoops to develop for a console (and when the competition has no such thing), that promise of supporting indie devs doesn’t really hold true.

Especially when the “indie” you promote is Minecraft, a multi-million selling game that’s now across three platforms and was already a runaway hit on the PC before getting an exclusivity deal on the 360.

 

 

And then we get to post-release, and I’m really struggling to find reasons to support Microsoft. From the lackluster line-up from them (and the sheer lack of variety in the line-up – on checking the game list, the most highly advertised games are all shooters of some kind and/or releases from the previous console) to their utterly senseless advertisement campaigns post-release (see: above) all I am seeing is a desperate clawing – grasping, reaching, clinging for dear life – to those few people who feel shunned away by the console and what it’s continuing to fail in realising: That the people are speaking with their wallets and their voices, and they need to fix the problems of their own making.

I’ve seen and heard the Xbox One advertisements so often at this point that I could probably hum the goddamn ‘music’ that plays in it every time, and I actually had to ask if the PS4 has been doing any advertisements whatsoever (they have, apparently). And it’s remarkable that I am at the point of having to ask that – if this really was a console war, it feels very one-sided, but not in support of the side making the most noise. It’s also disappointing that companies are now working on promoting the Xbox One through other outlets (read: Machinima deals) and not all of it is entirely above board (see end of post for TotalBiscuit’s perspective on this that explains it far better than I could). If your console truly is as worthy of it’s price point, truly as worthy of it’s praise as you claim it to be, you wouldn’t need to try and undercut, mislead or make a noise about it yourself.

So yeah…sorry, Microsoft, but I’m through with you. I’m going to a PS4 this generation.

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