I’m a fan of video games. Xbox is my favorite brand of consoles, but I often use my Switch and PlayStation 4 quite often. When Microsoft announced Xbox One, I was on board from the get-go. Despite the fact that the company’s messaging didn’t resonate with me, brand loyalty ensured I would buy the console. On November 22nd, 2013, my friend and I purchased our Xbox Ones and quickly drove home to boot up the machines.
The first game I played was Forza Motorsport 5. The stunning visuals and sound quality blew my mind. The packed in Kinect surprisingly became useful for me, and I started to understand Microsoft’s vision for the console. The Xbox One didn’t take off like Microsoft imagined it would. Sony’s PlayStation 4 was the place for indies and exclusivity deals. As a primarily Xbox fan, it was discouraging to see the brand lose out on a lot of deals and advertising. I’m not going to lie, the Xbox One’s situation felt dire at times.
Eventually, Microsoft fired Don Mattrick and promoted Phil Spencer, the current head of Xbox. Even though Xbox One hasn’t been able to recover from the disastrous launch, Spencer has been doing a fantastic job at repairing the brand. While time as the Head of Xbox has been mostly positive, there have been a few instances that were a blow to the brand. Between cancellations (Scalebound and Fable Legends), studio closures (Lionhead Studios), delays (Crackdown 3) and exclusivity controversy (Rise of the Tomb Raider), Xbox has faced an uphill battle since the start of the generation.
The company has been doing so many great things over the past two years. These positives include Play-Anywhere, the Insider Program, and backwards compatibility (Xbox 360 and OG Xbox). The dashboard has been updated a few times, and features such as looking for groups have been a Godsend to players like me. Despite all the good things Microsoft has done for the Xbox brand, their failures always seem to creep into conversations. I think there’s a way to remedy these instances.
E3 is one of the biggest events in the video game industry. Microsoft usually uses that time to talk about features coming to Xbox One and occasionally announces new games. Without fail, after each conference, there’s often a criticism about the last of first-party games. I won’t deny that I occasionally complain about this as well. It’s difficult to see Nintendo and Sony announce stellar first-party games while Microsoft doesn’t follow suit. Last E3, Microsoft announced many “timed” and “console launch” exclusives, but no true exclusives. The other games they talked about are ones we already knew about.
We often have to wait a whole year before more Xbox news is revealed. E3 is like Christmas for Xbox fans because of the conference. It’s a shame to wait for the event only to be disappointed. I think Microsoft needs to take inspiration from Sony. Each year, the company hosts PSX (PlayStation Experience). The event is for people in the industry and fans as well. Sony usually brings demos for people to play and uses that time to announced new games and show off updated demos for upcoming titles. I always look forward to the December event. It almost feels like a mini E3 for Sony fans. It’s a wonderful event during the lull months when nothing is really announced.
Microsoft should create an event similar to PSX. This would allow Microsoft to host an informative event for media and a more intimate setting for fans. Microsoft has a wide variety of studios and IPs that deserve to be in the spotlight again. With an event like this, the company can present a longer press conference and focus solely on the games. Better yet, there can be demo build and interviews with different studios to discuss their upcoming titles. There are plenty of Xbox fans out there that would travel to attend an event like this. Phil Spencer has the community’s best interest in mind, and I think a more open event could put Microsoft in a better light within the industry.
Now that the Xbox One X is on the market, I doubt that Microsoft will launch another console anytime soon. For the next few years, the focus should be games, games, games. Last month, Sony had a press conference during the Paris Games Show and only displayed games. This is what Microsoft needs to do, but there should be a focus on exclusives. Xbox fans need to know what they can only play on their console of choice. E3 is fantastic. Having been there once before, I enjoyed meeting developers and learning about the industry. I think that Xbox would benefit in an event that solely focuses on their own devices. At E3, Sony or Nintendo often overshadow the great announcements that Microsoft makes. A PSX styled event for Microsoft could help the company have the spotlight to itself for a couple of days.
Microsoft has come a long way since the rocky start of the Xbox One. While it has been a slow and steady race, the Xbox brand is slowly starting to recover. I’m optimistic that Phil Spencer and the Xbox team have the gamers’ best interest in mind. I’m constantly impressed by how the company is trying to do better by the fans. Microsoft isn’t perfect, but what company is? I’m happy to call myself an Xbox fan, and I can’t wait to see what they have in store for the future. While I think E3 is a great event for Microsoft, I think a more engaging event that only highlights Microsoft is something that will be positive for not only the company but for the fans who love the foundation that Xbox has built.
Would you go to an Xbox convention? What do you think Microsoft needs to do to enhance the Xbox brand? Leave a comment below.