Game consoles are far complex now than they were when we were born – this is true even of those born after the turn of the century. They don’t simply play games, they play movies, music and more and they do it online through an ever-strengthening internet. Unfortunately for the platform holders, their ability to communicate what their game system does is becoming a more convoluted affair with plenty of hard questions and no easy answers. From here, our three biggest fears of E3 – the biggest stage for Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo to deliver their message – emerge.
Fear #1: Microsoft Can’t Control Its Message
I enjoyed Microsoft’s conference for what it was: a prologue to a games event that skimmed on the games in favor of revealing all of its core concepts, a reverse of what Sony did during their February PlayStation 4 unveil. Gaming fandom at large, however, didn’t seem to share the same opinion and it’s not hard to see why: Microsoft doesn’t exactly know what they’re saying.
But why is that? Two big reasons: 1) they don’t actually know, yet and 2) it would spoil some future announcement they’ve been preparing as part of a larger campaign. When scribed out on paper, their approach, a complex task to ensure each element of the Xbox One experience is given the appropriate amount of attention at the right time, makes sense. Unfortunately for Microsoft, even the best plans fall apart when they make contact with air. Now the company, which had planned a one-two punch, high-impact reveal with their initial event and their pending announcements at E3, is left scrambling to answer questions that perhaps even their best minds couldn’t have come up with and it has the potential to drag them off course. Case in point: their large, three-pronged “answer” to the Xbox One’s approach to used games, rentals and always-on connectivity that was designed to be an impersonal way to resolve lingering issues so they could re-gain control from their press conference on. That appears to have not worked.
Not helping things? That they’re stone-walling journalists and even canceled their post-conference media roundtable where they would traditionally dive into deeper concepts that their highly-scripted stage show doesn’t.