Even the most diehard Microsoft supporter would have to agree that the early marketing efforts and showcases for the Xbox One were close to disasters. Fans flocked to the Internet to express their outrage over the DRM, always on Kinect, and other perceived issues with the system which to many hard-core gamers appeared to have a lack of focus on gaming. While there initial launch at the Microsoft campus and subsequent conference at E3 were textbooks examples of how not to do a product launch, Microsoft has taken a lot of steps to reverse the negative trending in recent weeks. They have promised to remove the controversial DRM features and although they have not promised that they would not be reinstated at a later date this has done a lot to appease gamers.
During their first hands-on time with the public at the San Diego Comic Con they drew steady audiences who were looking for their hands-on time with their system. With their booth located next to rival Sony many gamers took the opportunity to sample not only the Xbox One but the Playstation 4, and see the highly touted systems up close.
What I found most interesting was that during Microsoft’s Xbox One panel, Microsoft took questions directly from the consumer base. It has widely been alleged that Microsoft often takes prescreened questions during events like this as to avoid any embarrassing situations. One individual walked up to the microphone and basically challenged the members of the panel to sell him on why he needed to buy the system. When they handed him the Xbox One controller, he shrugged his shoulders and did not seem that impressed with the system. This resulted in a outcry of boos from the assembled audience towards the dismissive attitude of the individual asking the question.
Now naturally most people attending an Xbox One panel would be fans of the system, but that being said, there were plenty of people in attendance who were still on the fence about the system. The fact that Microsoft was able to pull off successful show with only a few minor glitches and no outright controversy begs me to ask if they have overcome a lot of the initial resistance towards their systems that gamers had.
Pre-orders for both systems are strong although some debate that the Xbox numbers might be artificially inflated due to a limitation of consoles that will be available at launch. I think it is safe to say that despite of any pre-order tactics on the part of either company interest in both up the systems is at an all-time high. Although Sony has enjoyed an extremely large pre-order worldwide for the system that has reportedly surpassed even Sony’s expectations, it appears that Microsoft is starting to gain ground thanks to a willingness to listen to address consumer concerns about their system.
While there still remains questions about both systems one can say that Microsoft appears to have put a lot of the bad publicity behind them and are starting to strive forward to lunch date by letting the features of the console stand for itself rather than the controversy.
There are several upcoming conventions not the least of which is Pax Prime were both systems will once again be front and center to the gaming public. It will be interesting to see just how tight the field has become once the systems make it to launch.