Microsoft, both as a company and leader in the video game industry, has been doing great things lately. They've been working very cooperatively across the board to bring cross-play options to their fans whether they want to play on an Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, or gaming PC. Microsoft also released their newest and most high powered console, the Xbox One X. While the jury is still out on the company's ability to name things, Microsoft is doing great as a whole. It's because of all this positivity that things like the clearly paid for ad on Conan O'Brien's talk show leave me absolutely puzzled.
For those of you that haven't seen it, here's the low-down. Conan called out to the audience and asked for the gaming fans in the house. After a smattering of applause, Conan went directly into a very short, Microsoft-approved introduction to the console. Which essentially said it's new, it's out, and it's powerful. He then brought on possibly the most unexpected special guest to supposedly help illustrate how strong the new Xbox One X is: Ronda Rousey. I haven't followed her career much, but I do know that she's since fallen from grace quite a bit. So choosing her to represent “the muscle” of the Xbox One X was bizarre to begin with.
Things continued to get weird from there, as Ronda and an as-of-yet-unnamed dude in a grey hoodie walked out on stage holding Xbox One X controllers. After few sad and mostly awkward attempts at niceties, Conan finally asked who Ronda has brought with her. She said he was Dustin and there to help show what 4K gaming looks like on the Xbox One X. Conan tried to hype up the crowd for what we assumed was going to be a technical demonstration of some kind. But then Ronda and Dustin took their clearly off and unconnected Xbox One X controllers and held them as if they're playing a game. Mind you, there was no screen anywhere to be seen, so they were obviously pretending. This ended with Ronda punching Dustin directly in the groin.
Andy Richter shouted, “That was awesome!” and what could only be called a sorry attempt at a comedic skit ended with Conan and Ronda kicking Dustin over and over. Conan says this illustrated what it's like to play the Xbox One X with friends. It was incredibly odd and super awkward to watch. I felt entirely confused and unsure of myself after, and I was watching from the comfort of my own home. I can only imagine how the audience felt watching this unfold in front of them. There had to be "applause" lights, because otherwise there would be nothing but confused and shocked silence.
From the choice of guest star to the painfully scripted one-liners and poorly executed physical humor, this Xbox One X promotion was just sad and bizarre. The only person there who even seemed remotely into the entire thing was Ronda, who had a massive grin on her face from the moment she came on stage. The joyful look continued through the dick punch, all the way to the end when she was kicking her “friend” Dustin while he was down.
Microsoft very much seems like they have their stuff together usually, so this entire thing stood out much more than it probably would otherwise. Who was the intern that thought an attempt at a viral video was the best option? And who were the dozens of other Microsoft executives who said, “Yeah! That's a great idea!” I wish I could have the minutes of my life back that I had to use up watching this spot to write this opinion, and I'm sure you would too, if you took the time to watch it. Save yourself the pain, seriously. Don't watch it. Don't watch it here on YouTube at all, it's not worth it.
Morbid curiosities aside, this Xbox One X marketing ploy was a complete failure in my eyes. What do all of you think?