Yesterday, Microsoft held their highly anticipated Xbox Series X Games Showcase, and well...after its conclusion I was left with the weird feeling of being less excited about its arrival. I was underwhelmed and highly critical of Microsoft's first showing back in May hoping that they were simply holding back for this showcase to blow us away, but honestly, it just felt flat. Here are the reasons why I was left disappointed by the Xbox Series X Games Showcase:
again...where was the gameplay?!
This was the biggest issue I had with the previous Xbox showcase, and I was honestly left bewildered (especially after Sony's showing) that it would be my number one issue again. The event could not have started any better with a full 8-minute demo of their flagship title Halo Infinite, but quickly turned into a near 45 minutes of CGI trailers. To be fair, we did get some gameplay from indie titles Grounded and The Gunk as well, but we mostly got short fancy CGI trailers for the majority of the announced Microsoft Studio titles. I understand we are currently in a global pandemic and I agree it is reassuring that your shiny new box will be supported well in the near future, but there exists this clear disconnect with fans due to the majority of these titles being brand new IPs, leaving our minds to wonder if these games will be worth the wait. I mean we learnt of Hellblade 2's existence way back in December, and here at this event, all we got was a direction to where we can find videos about the devs trip to Iceland.
where were the major 3rd party titles ?!
Again, if you are comparing this showcase with the PS5's, another glaring difference would jump out at you...the lack of major third party titles reveals. This Xbox Series X showcase was promoted as the console's big first-party showpiece, but we were treated to a few 3rd party surprises (such as Stalker 2 and New Genesis Phantasy Star Online 2) along with a few nifty looking indie titles. All par the course for these types of events but base on what was shown this area lacked bite. Sony gave us our first look at major third party titles like Resident Evil Village, Death Loop and Godfall so, I was looking forward to something on the same level from this event. Could you imagine the hype if the first gameplay of Elden Ring running on the Xbox Series X was shown? Ironically, the best third party game (and my personal favourite game overall) was shown before the event started during the pre-show.
However, I must mention this showcase wasn't all doom and gloom. Microsoft doubled down on their messaging about the Game Pass service and how it will all tie in with Xbox Series X going further. To have the ability to play all the games, past and present, from the Xbox ecosystem on almost any device was the real MVP of this showcase. All of this left me in a weird state of being more excited about the future of Game Pass rather looking forward to owning a Series X. And strangely...I feel this was Microsoft's goal all along.
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Hey I am Marlon Mcfarlane the writer here at Blue Crescent Studio & a longtime lover of all things Animation & Gaming.