Not everything lives up to the hype. The NFL off season in New England, in which Patriots fans (like myself) anticipated Brady's return along with the aggressive pursuit of high level receivers (I'm still reeling in self pity). Or the chicken sandwich at Popeye's (sorry, no sorry for that hot take). You can add to the list Microsoft's Xbox Series X livestream
, in which Microsoft was "so pumped" to show people "a first look at Xbox Series X gameplay."
Like the chicken sandwich that failed to impress me (in relation to the hype), quantity is not a substitute for quality. I understand we all have our different tastes, fair enough. But no matter where you stand on that one, you would probably agree that cinematic trailers are not the same as actual gameplay, yet that's mostly what Microsoft and its partners delivered during the Xbox Series X livestream.
"Had we not said anything & just shown May Inside Xbox show like we did last month, I suspect reactions might have been different. Clearly we set some wrong expectations & that’s on us. We appreciate all the feedback & can assure you we will take it all in & learn as a team," Aaaron Greenberg, general manager of Xbox Games Marketing, stated on Twitter.
Greenberg is responding to the backlash over the reveal. Following the livestream, Microsoft
uploaded a condensed video to YouTube titled "First Look Xbox Series X Gameplay," and at the time of this writing, it has a negative Like/Dislike ratio, with 20,000 Likes and 26,000 Dislikes.
"Stop using the word gameplay when it's just in engine cinematic cutscenes. Gameplay should only ever be used when you're showing what the player will eventually see when they are actually playing the game," a user wrote in the comments section.
"The most next generation thing in this video was the definition of gameplay," another user wrote.
Perhaps the biggest disappointment came at the end, when Ubisoft's
anticipated Assassin's Creed Valhalla splashed across screens of curious viewers. Starting at around the 26min20sec mark in the video above, the short 'reveal' didn't offer much in the way of gameplay, either.
Adding insult to injury, the short clip came with a disclaimer: "Game and console in development: footage representative of expected Xbox Series X gameplay." This was not lost on Ubisoft's marketing director, Ashraf Ismail, who also acknowledged the disappointment on Twitter.
"You rightfully expected to see more today. We have a long marketing campaign ahead of us, you will see in-depth gameplay and get a lot more info about the game. Thank you for your excitement and passion! Be patient with us and be kind. It will be worth it!," Ismail wrote.
This is the first real stumble for what has otherwise been a successful campaign to this point. Microsoft had initially come out of the gates swinging hen, earlier this year, it showed off the finalized design of the Xbox Series X
, and revealed a bunch of hardware details
. It remains to be seen how much it will matter, but on paper, the Xbox Series X offers more raw horsepower than Sony's PlayStation 5
in the graphics department.
Microsoft has also claimed gamers will be pleased with the price and performance of its next-gen game console. Expectations are high, and unfortunately, the gameplay reveal did not benefit from the momentum, falling short of what many hoped it would be.
It's still early, though. Microsoft and its partners have a chance to atone for the reveal by showing actual gameplay footage in the coming months, before the Xbox Series X arrives at the end of the year.