New year, new face and a new tone from Microsoft with the company pulling no punches at their recent E3 press conference. For the last few years, the company has treated their E3 showings as much as an ad for their highly divisive Kinect and their secondary media services as they were for games themselves.
This year a large shift was made from the company and how they chose to present the Xbox as a brand. There is no denying that Microsoft has been pushed into a corner and has been made to change their outlook on the industry were they to want to survive and prosper this generation. While the 360 was a large success for the company and helped create the Xbox as a household name in a way the original could have only dreamed, Microsoft’s shift from it’s gamer-centered focus hasn’t done them any favors over the years and a lot of the goodwill has been dwindled since.
Let’s not forgot the huge blunder that was the system’s unveiling and overall vision of what this generation of consoles would have been. While many of the largely disliked elements announced at the system’s unveiling have been rectified, and rightfully so, Microsoft caused a lot of damage to the brand and are pretty much seen as the least consumer friendly of the big three at the moment. Something they needed to, and have been, addressing since. Titles such as Forza: Horizon 2 and Halo: Master Chief Collection is surely doing a lot to please fans of the green machine, whereas rebooting a beloved, if niche, title such as Phantom Dust from the original system is most definitely a nod to their hardcore fanbase and deserves to be applauded. Microsoft is bringing the games, they are bringing the right attitude and, honestly, I am starting to see glimpses of what I saw in the brand at the time of the original Xbox. It has me excited.
While it took a lot of work on the company’s part, I think they have finally found themselves in the position where a lot of the ill-will that they and their system garnered last year is beginning to dissipate. Phil Spencer has a lot to do with this, I believe. Bar far the best face the console has had in a good, long while, he has promised change when it comes to their system and has been delivering. He comes off as a real gamer whose top priority is real games – something I do believe to be true – and he has been doing a much better job than the shill that was Don Mattrick ever could have.
This year was all about the games and those who play them. And when you are trying to sell a gaming console, perhaps that is the way things should be. Just a thought. Anyway, bravo to Microsoft for a highly successful, gamer-focused E3. And here’s to many more like it.