Honestly, I think Microsoft may have just wrapped up the biggest gaming audience in the world. A heady claim indeed, but given what I’ve just seen, not an unwarranted one. Despite the lack of clarity concerning online requirements and second hand game sales, to your average Joe American, Microsoft have just knocked it out of the park.
Sure, they didn’t mention many games, but hey, they didn’t need to. The ones that they did, primarily Call of Duty: Ghosts and Madden NFL 25, they are the two biggest franchises that side of the Atlantic, and while they may not be exclusives, they have been revealed on the Xbox One, thus making them immediately synonymous with the console to your average punter. Don’t believe me? Just check out the mainstream press today – Call of Duty everywhere and all right next to a story on the new Xbox One.
On top of that, Microsoft have once again claimed that exclusive timed content for Call of Duty (do not underestimate how big a deal that is) and thanks to their unique relationship with the NFL, are offering something that the PS4 cannot in relation to the biggest sport in the country.
I know, a lot of people will point towards the lack of games, but other than the hardcore community, who really took any interest in what Sony announced? I actually love the Killzone franchise, but even I struggled to get excited about the latest reveal. The fact is, Microsoft knew that they didn’t have to show a lot of games – show the console, show what it can do and, well, that’s what they did. The whole presentation was delivered with on the assumption that, from a technical, gaming specific standpoint, the Xbox One will be able to do everything that the PS4 will be able to do. There was no need to press that home. They just needed to specify the reasons that the Xbox One will be unique……there were plenty of them.
It may have been staged under perfect circumstances, but there is no doubt that what Microsoft presented was slick, innovative and, above all else, new. If Kinect 2 can really deliver on what was promised, it will revolutionise the way we interact with our home entertainment system. Screen-on-screen, seamless switching between media, it all felt, well, very next-gen. As great as those abilities may be though, the real trump card, for the US at least, was the seamless integration of fantasy leagues into live TV.
They may not be a big deal over here, but over in the US, fantasy sports leagues are massive business and the potential for viewing stats live as you watch games will surely be a huge selling point for Microsoft’s new console. If nothing else, it’s just another unique selling point for Microsoft to show off to potential punters.
Your average gamer may not be fussed on the additional features, the enhanced emphasis on Kinect or the entertainment hub set-up, but from a marketing perspective, they are all solid gold. Now, if Microsoft can back-up their promise at E3 with a host of Xbox One exclusives, then, honestly, regardless of your views on its online requirements, its approach to the second hand game market or its move to towards all-in-one entertainment, as a mass market product, the Xbox One is going to be difficult to beat. If the PS4 can’t beat it on games, what will it beat it on?