E3 2014: A chip on the shoulder of Microsoft

Xbox One (Console) Screenshot - Xbox One

Head of Xbox Phil Spencer has long said that this year's Microsoft E3 presentation would focus on games. That promise was delivered with a 90-minute blowout of the company’s upcoming games Monday, but those in attendance appeared reluctant to totally buy in.

Just miles away from the Galen Center and all things Xbox green, Sony gave fans a similar showcase. The result was much different. The big announcements were met with bigger applause. No hesitation. The praise was genuine and the atmosphere was electric.

There were many examples of this, but none more staggering than when Media Molecule took the stage. Before the developers could say one line from their teleprompters, fans roared with the sight of a LittleBigPlanet 3 logo. It was a moment of authentic excitement — just one of many during Sony’s show.

Spencer E3

Now, I don’t believe that same level of enthusiasm was absent from the Microsoft presentation. In fact, I think those in attendance left more impressed than anyone could have expected going in to the conference. Still, there’s something telling when you give the fans what they want on the biggest stage, yet you cannot match the electricity of your competitors even with a lineup many believe is more exciting.

The issue is trust — a lack of it. Microsoft is still feeling the blow of months of mixed messaging. It’s still affected by a $499 price tag. It’s bogged down by horsepower and numbers “under the hood.” The list goes on and on, and they absolutely deserve to be knocked for them.

However, with Spencer in charge, Microsoft has begun to turn the tide in their favor. A new Kinect-less bundle was announced at a competitive price. Games with Gold has been restructured to offer up a similar experience to PlayStation Plus. And of course, Microsoft has given fans what they want at E3: games.

Xbox One without Kinect

This isn’t “fanboy” editorial. It’s far from that. This is a piece recognizing where Microsoft is at, because where it’s at can tell you one thing: this dilemma can bode well for both Microsoft and gamers.

The phrase “you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone” comes to mind. Microsoft was on top. King for a long, long time. That’s not the case anymore, and one can only hope that Microsoft has learned a big lesson in complacency. More so, you want Microsoft to use that chip on their shoulder and help push the company to innovate, create, and respond in favor of the consumer.

These coming months will tell us all if that’s Microsoft’s motivation, but E3 tells us that there’s at least reasons to be determined. 

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Tate Steinlage I write words about video games and sports. Hope you like them.
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