Posted on Saturday, May 11 @ 11:30:00 Eastern by Alex_Osborn
On May 21st Microsoft will finally pull back the curtain on its plans for the next generation of gaming with the reveal of its successor to the Xbox 360. Up until now we've heard all sorts of rumors, some of which have been positive, while an alarming amount have been negative. Sony came out swinging in February with a PlayStation 4 reveal that knocked just about everyone's socks off. Will Microsoft's showing be able to compete? Here are a few ways in which Microsoft could really screw the pooch.
5. Don't Show the Box
Microsoft mouthpiece Major Nelson took a jab at Sony's PS4 reveal on Twitter by highlighting that the console itself was not shown. As such, it goes without saying that Microsoft better walk the walk and not just talk the talk. Everyone is expecting to see the box after his comment on Twitter and failing to do so would be a major misstep on the part of Microsoft. One of the few things Sony has held back on is the form factor of their gaming box, which is one thing that Microsoft can beat them to the punch with. At this point, it's playing catch-up thanks to Sony's surprise reveal, and holding something like this back when you're already behind is a terrible idea.
4. Only Show Call of Duty: Ghosts
We know that there's going to be at least one game shown off at the event, and that's the latest entry in Activision's super-popular FPS franchise. But what if the company doesn't show anything else on the software front? Sony's conference was loaded with game announcements and lengthy gameplay demonstrations. I know Call of Duty is a big deal, but it simply isn't enough. Gamers want to see first-party content. Halo 4 has been out for less than six months, so there's a good chance we won't see the Master Chief at the show, but what about Forza, Ryse, a new Alan Wake, or something else that truly takes advantage of the hardware? If the Big M throws all of their chips in the Call of Duty basket, it's making a huge mistake.
3. Spend Too Long on Kinect
This one really scares me, mainly because I'm almost certain it will happen. Reports suggest that not only will a new version of the Kinect be bundled with every console, but also that the peripheral must be hooked up to run the new gaming machine. The idea of a mandatory Kinect makes me feel ill inside, and if it's true, you can bet that Microsoft will spend a whole lot of time during the reveal focusing on it. Nothing sucks the excitement out of a major press event like a long-winded demonstration that just doesn't work right. Remember Sony's Wonderbook demonstration at E3? Every time Microsoft has shown off Kinect, i can't help but roll my eyes. If they decide to do it again (which they probably will), I'm sure most of the gaming crowd will be groaning right along with me.
2. Don't Focus on the Gamer
The one thing that Sony absolutely nailed at their PlayStation 4 reveal was their messaging that the PS4 is all about the gamer. Little to no time was spent on entertainment apps and other trivial features the core could care less about. Microsoft better (but probably won't) do the same. Instead they'll likely spend the bulk of their time explaining how and why the new Xbox will be the ultimate media box that can do everything. We'll hear about Xbox TV, the "future of entertainment," and a whole bunch of Kinect nonsense that appeals to virtually none of the hardcore gaming audience. Let's just hope they include enough in there to keep us involved, because ignoring the most loyal chunk of your audience is a very, very bad idea.
1. Announce Always-On Requirement
Perhaps the most damaging rumor that has come Microsoft's way is the report that the next Xbox will require a constant internet connection. Former MS employee Adam Orth only exacerbated the issue after ranting on Twitter. A large portion of the gaming public has made it known that they don't like the idea of an always-on gaming console at all (or an "always-on" anything, really). The best thing Microsoft can do at the reveal is assuage everyone's fears by confirming that such a requirement is not being implemented. On the other hand, should they choose to move forward with this type of functionality and decide to announce it at the event, it had better have a major benefit. Otherwise, this will certainly serve as the first nail in Microsoft's gaming coffin.
How do you think Microsoft may blow their chances at winning over the gaming public? Share your thoughts in the comments below.