A few days ago, Paul Norris of Mad Fellows games, the developers of Aaero, famously said that he was tired of every announcement regarding the Xbox One being met with backlash by the gaming community. His point did make sense- and I say this as someone who is largely dissatisfied with Microsoft’s showing this generation on the games front.
Discourse in games can often be vehemently negative, and for Microsoft, especially, that seems to be the case. We asked him to explain why he thinks this is in an exclusive interview with GamingBolt- is it because of Microsoft’s infamous E3 2013 showing?
“People seem to go out of their way to find something to moan about and seem genuinely incensed if someone dares to actually think it’s pretty cool and look forward to it. For something that’s supposed to be fun, gaming seems to have more than its fair share of haters,” Norris said.
“The launch and that particular E3 seemed pretty disastrous from an on-looker’s point of view. I think that leading up to the launch Microsoft had had some really cool ideas that were overshadowed by DRM, focusing on the TV aspect and the ‘always online’ issues. All these huge corporations are so used to looking ahead at the whole life-cycle of a product, I think they misjudged that the average gamer was ready to be prevented from playing if the internet went down. I don’t think it’d be as controversial to suggest that a new console needed to be online in 2017, but in 2013 it was pushing things a bit too far.
“The frustrating thing for me personally was that I’d come to accept that it’d need to be online and I was looking forward to the feature where you could share games with your friends and family. Then, after the infamous ‘this is how you share a PS4 game’ skit and an E3 arena chanting ‘Sony! Sony!’ it seems that Microsoft did the mother of all U-turns.”
Norris goes on to say that he assumes that last minute change in plans is what led to the Xbox One being as barebones at launch as it was. “I guess if they had to restructure how the whole console worked at the eleventh hour, that’d explain why it was a bit bare bones at launch. In terms of features, it felt like I’d downgraded from the Xbox 360 at the time,” he said.
“To Microsoft’s credit, despite it completely disrupting their launch, they did listen to the feedback and went out of their way to address it. It’s a ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t’ situation at that point. Do you push ahead regardless and try to prove everyone wrong with the original plan or do you do everything you can to deliver what people say they want?
“In answer to the original question, I don’t think it’s possible to please everyone (and us gamers, much less so). I think it’d still happen if E3 2013 had gone without a hitch. Can you imagine if after the Sony and Microsoft keynotes everyone just said “We’ll this is all looking amazing. Great work Xbox and PlayStation. Let’s go to the pub together and celebrate a win for video games!”? Would that be so bad?”
As I have already said, I do agree with his larger point. However, with that said, I do need to point out that the phenomenon is not restricted to Microsoft, either. Everybody is raked over the coals at some point or the other in the gaming industry. It is Microsoft who are suffering negative discourse at the moment, but has everyone forgotten how bad Nintendo had it during the Wii U era? Or Sony in the early PS3 days?
Yes, Microsoft gets backlash- but they also have the most flawed strategy at the moment. As fans of gaming who get invested in and passionate about the hobby, I don’t think it’s necessarily wrong to vocalize how you feel about that either.