Xbox Series X Event Whelmed & Was a Marketing Misstep

May 7, 2020 at 8:28pm
By Jason Stettner

When it comes to the first gameplay showcase of a next generation console, one that’s had some really great momentum marketing wise it’s just perplexing to end up in a situation where one’s whelmed by it. I might even lean a bit towards being underwhelmed, but I also thought some of the games were quite interesting.

They did actually showcase a varied offering of titles from a number of genres, but they’re not exactly what I’d expect to see in that first display of what the next generation can do. I think a bigger issue is that we didn’t necessarily see actual gameplay.

Now, this is something that has become an issue industry wise in recent years. It really seems like the companies are shifting away from showcasing how a game does run in favor of in-engine cinematic moments. With that, I think the marketing aspect needs to be changed from being a gameplay trailer as that’s not necessarily what it is.
Xbox Series X The Medium
Moving past that, these are possibly some great showcases of what smaller games might look like going forward. A bump in quality at that end is really interesting, as they all looked excellent visually. It’s a shame they’ve been lumped into the sort of narrative going around.

These are games that would have traditionally padded an E3 event, and perhaps give them a break until we see more as some were really neat looking. I’m personally intrigued by The Medium, and the most out there trailer goes to Scorn. I personally think I’ll have a blast with Second Extinction since that one is just cooperative dino blasting.

I also was thrilled to see DiRT 5 be announced, but that’s not really the caliber of a title I expected to see. With this being a showcase of global partners I was expecting some big announcement out of nowhere from a large publishing group. I suppose some creep towards that, but nothing really left the impression as to this is why we’re truly hyped for what the next generation will bring. That’s not the type of feeling you want when showcasing the potential of your upcoming console.
Xbox Series X Second Extinction
Especially when they’ve had what I’d consider to be generally excellent marketing thus far. They’ve been very transparent in their presentations and what it’s bringing, this felt awkward. It really does feel like a misstep that might have almost been brand damaging to a degree since the word online isn’t very pleasant towards it.

I do ask, that when thinking about the event that you consider separating the idea of it from the games. Those games really do have some neat aspects to them, and I think they were hyped up far too much, or well put on a stage where they couldn’t necessarily live up to the expectations that were set for it. It’s just weird that these were specifically chosen as the very first “gameplay” presentations to build hype towards the release.

It should have been framed as something different, or a stepping stone for building further to the big hitters that are going to arrive in what was noted as being July. I honestly hope they bump that up a bit to cover for this, as fans are going to want something more to sell them. They could have even had a teaser reel of a few seconds for their first party.
Xbox Series X Dirt 5
I think they really did have a good thing going for the Xbox Series X and this didn’t add fuel to the fire that was going. It was mostly just confusing for those out there, in the general crowd. I get what they were going for after having seen it, but it should have been a showcase of some exclusives they’re bringing in. I’m saying that’s how it should have been teased. This is a brief presentation of some exclusives and special partners.

It keeps expectations minimal, and leaves room for everyone to be surprised by what we see shown. It really was rather short too, with the developer interviews actually being the largest chunk of it all, and those weren’t even that in-depth. It was just weird honestly, small segments to display a game and then a good bye. The at home shots in-between didn’t really help either.

I get the situation we’re dealing with globally, but some smoother pre-recorded segments might have been better. That’s about all to go over for this event, I hope we get something more interesting down the road. I thought some of the games stood out, but I have a bad feeling they’re going to get less attention due to the nature of this event and that’s a shame.

It was really cool to see a Yakuza title shown at a Xbox event like this, and that Madden 21 showcase was just straight up bizarre as a final note. Read our write-up about what to expect in future reveals, or check out the general hub for the Xbox Series X platform below.

Read about Series X Reveals & What to Expect
View our Xbox Series X Hub

Gamerheadquarters Reviewer Jason Stettner