Will Microsoft Give Its Rose To Gamers Or Everyone Else?

Microsoft is about to have a Bachelor-type decision to make during E3 week.


Since 2005, Microsoft has been “going steady” with Gamers via the Xbox 360. The console brought them a better version of Xbox LIVE, the Kinect motion controller, and a plethora of titles that pleased Gamers immensely, with many Gamers dumping their previous main squeeze known as Sony in order to be exclusive to their new Prince Charming.


But a few weeks ago, Microsoft revealed during their Xbox One conference that it wasn't exclusive to Gamers and in fact had been seeing another suitor named Everyone Else. Microsoft gave Everyone Else baubles and trinkets such as hand-gesture channel-changing, Internet surfing while watching The Price Is Right, instant fantasy sports stats, and a Halo TV series “coming soon.” The only thing it gave Gamers is ten seconds of Quantum Break and that Call of Duty dog.


With its pre-E3 press conference on Monday, June 10th in Los Angeles, the question on everyone's mind is: Will Microsoft give its rose to Gamers, who have had a love connection with the platform for eight years now? Or will the Xbox One continue to chase after its new infatuation, Everyone Else? The decision is critical, and a poor choice, or a poorly-activated plan, could send Gamers to Divorce Court with or without Microsoft.


The common conception as it stands is that Microsoft will try to give Xbox players and gaming press the ol' razzle-dazzle, pumping scads of game titles out in an effort to dangle shiny objects in the light to distract from the epic flop produced from the Xbox One reveal. A noted point: When Microsoft told the public of a Rare “historic” franchise reborn for the Xbox One, people took a moment to breathe and even smile in all the madness. The logical thought process is that Microsoft will come down heavy on the side of games, focusing on their triple-A titles for some much needed damage control, especially the Rare IP.

Dance and music games will be showcased to continue Microsoft's infatuation with Kinect, but largely the team will throw all their games against the wall to see what sticks. That, of course, means more Call of Duty, but expect Microsoft and Infinity Ward to continue their “softer side of CoD” routine, emphasizing storyline first, graphics second, and the dog somewhere in the middle.


However, don't expect to see a ton from EA Sports at the pre-E3 press conference, with maybe the exception of Madden 25. EA's heavy presence at the reveal led to them being wed together; a Harley Quinn to Microsoft's Joker, if you will. If Microsoft wants people to look at the shiny thing, away from the reveal, they might just ask EA Sports to wait in the car for a little bit.


This would be, as the gaming society sees it, a logical choice. But love makes people do crazy things, and Microsoft loves Everyone Else's money. With Microsoft's attitude as of late being a combination of “That's not what we meant,” “You'll find out later,” and “You just don't get it,” a less likely but still possible scenario could be Microsoft deciding damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead with their “one console for all” approach. That would mean more of the TV, sports, TV, sports, that was mercilessly mocked post-reveal, with Microsoft giving a hearty “Oh well!” to anyone who might question it. If this tactic is taken, prepare to see much more EA involvement, and much more Call of Duty: Ghosts, with the Rare IP just having been a distraction in times of trouble.


If Microsoft goes down that route, it will have to remember that the Gamer's friend, the Press, will be there at E3. (I know, “press” and “friend” don't always go hand-in-hand, but for the sake of continuing the metaphor, just run with it.) If Microsoft continues to woo Everyone Else while ignoring Gamers, the unintended side effect could be game journalists just turning their nose up at the console that looks vaguely like a modern BetaMax. The members of the Press may be inclined to see various titles at the booths of their individual studios, but may not give as much attention to the Microsoft pavilion as they have in previous years.

And as anyone who recalls shows like Beverly Hills 90210 and Melrose Place remember, when the friend of someone being cheated on finds out information, it's not long before the cheated-upon knows as well. The Press will give the info to Gamers, who may just walk away from Microsoft altogether. In the end, feelings are hurt, relationships are broken, and there's usually a face-slapping scene and occasionally a catfight in the pool.


Microsoft has one rose left to give at E3, and it had better smell delightful if they want to be renewed for another season in the gaming world.