The kinks in their armor are now becoming a bit too large to hide.
I like the Xbox. Always have. Probably always will (deepening on how much longer it lasts). I say that in hopes of inoculating myself from the flaming, short-sighted BS from some who refuse to see the “big picture” part of our industry. There are those whom, as soon as they get to the negative part that casts their particular favorite in an unfavorable light (let the record show I’ve criticized all three systems in the past), the fanboy part of their brain flips on and any relative facts that follow are glanced over. But hey, I’m cool with that. I don’t just engage in conversation because I get paid to do so…I truly love it! You don’t have to agree with me and you’re entitled to your own opinion.
But as that old saying goes…you’re not entitled to your own facts.
And the fact of the matter is Microsoft seems to be losing their composure! In a fight, you’re supposed to keep your wits. That icy stare and the puffed-out chest is sometimes all we have to fend off attackers (by exerting our dominance). Recent developments over the last week suggest that some on Team Xbox have given up keeping their poker faces on, instead opting just to lay their cards on the table. I equate it to the desperate ex-girlfriend (or boyfriend) who sees they’re no longer getting anywhere by playing hard to get, and start leaving you sobby voice messages begging you to take them back at 2:00am.
The first tidbit I’d like to submit to the court as exhibit A is the recent push to bolster Xbox sales. No I’m not talking about the well-worn releases via the Games with Gold program. I’m referring to this post made yesterday via the Xbox Wire. For one week only (next week to be exact) those in the market for a next-gen console will have a carrot dangled in front of them in the form of free Xbox games when purchasing a One. Then, at week’s end, said carrot will be jerked away (effectively setting the hook in the mouths of those suckers who gobbled up the bait). Ask yourself this: what happens next week? What is so significant about this specific window that would force them to pull off such a blatant slight-of-hand maneuver?
The release of Destiny on the PlayStation 4 is your answer.
One of the most anticipated sci-fi shooters in recent memory drops on the 9th, and Microsoft wants you to spend your money on their brand instead of its Sony counterpart. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Healthy competition is the back-bone of any good economy (the likes of which other companies have relied on for years). But Microsoft’s “…pay no attention to the man behind the curtain” routine has got to stop. While I’m all for treating gamers right and giving them more value, pretending your looking out for us by giving away free content (when your actually just attempting to dupe some uniformed soccer mom at the register with extra goodies) is so freakin’ lame I get douche chills. I expected more from a next-gen company like Microsoft in 2014, and at the very least, I expect them not to insult my intelligence with such a shady move. I’ve already touched on the soft-bias that exists surrounding the PlayStation within our industry, and the release of Destiny does nothing to refute that. In addition to the “Exodus Blue” map launching as a PlayStation exclusive, Sony users will also get special spacecraft, armor and a strike mission. Now, I acknowledge that Microsoft is just doing their best with the tools at their disposal (and you can draw comparisons to Sony with their exclusive content as well). Where that argument falls apart is, after next week, the PlayStation exclusives WILL STILL BE THERE! Your Xbox deal…not so much.
To this heap, I’d like to pile on exhibit B. As you may know, new markets were recently opened up to Microsoft in countries like Japan. The Xbox One recently went live there, which by all accounts has been an absolute failure so far. The figures trickling in look more like Wii U numbers here in the States (not good, any way you slice it). Reports suggest stores put out “Xbox Line Forms Here” signs for non-existent crowds. Some retailers even state they’ve yet to move a single console from shelves. Yet, to hear Microsoft tell it, they were about to set the world on fire as the gateway to a new promised land had been suddenly flung open. Turns out, these were more like the gates of hell for a system still struggling to desperately prove itself. I mean, did they just outright lie regarding the market research they touted would lead to such huge overseas revenue? Was the prospect of bragging rights really worth risking another epic failure like this? Inevitably, you’ll like see Microsoft pick one or two obscure pieces of market data which can spin this launch into some type of success in the press (instead of just admitting they were never strong enough to tread into their competitor’s backyard). I’m depending on you, my gaming brethren, to be smarter than that and see through this kind of bull shit.
Why must we fight my friends? Can’t we all agree that our once prize-winning race horse may soon require a trip down to the old Elmer’s factory if things don't change (or am I just making too much sense here)?