Take five minutes and scroll through all of the stories released over the past few days. Break out those spectacles and your fine-tooth comb (are there non-fine-tooth combs?), and attempt to find some Microsoft news. Other than the recent announcement of Sunset Overdrive‘s first DLC pack and the not-so-shocking revelation that Microsoft, not Square Enix, will be publishing Rise of the Tomb Raider, it’s harder to find Xbox news than it is to locate non-cuteness in Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker. This begs the question, why didn’t Microsoft throw an exciting announcement into the wild in order to steal some of Sony’s thunder?
Phil Spencer and Microsoft’s Xbox division could have done literally anything to take some of the attention away from the overwhelming success of the PlayStation Experience. They could have given us a piece of Gears of War concept art, released updates on the soon-to-be awesome ID@Xbox program (or abolished the disgusting Parity Clause that’s secretly hurting the Xbox One’s library), or put out legitimate information on how Games with Gold is actually going to get better. We could have been talking about the Xbox One instead of all that is PlayStation this week, but instead Microsoft seemed content with letting Sony steal back momentum after losing Black Friday. Microsoft has come full circle after the disastrous television, I mean Xbox One, reveal, but now is the time to start throwing hay-makers. The Xbox One has seemingly climbed back into what was seen as an impossible fight, though it’s impossible to win without attempting to put down the opponent, no matter the cost.
Is it the end of the world that we didn’t receive more Xbox One news this week? Of course not, this is the video game industry after all and a fair proportion of consumers and press alike have developed a terrible habit of overreacting to nothing (Author Hypocrisy Alert!). Still, the most exciting part of the Console War thus far has been the all-out bloodbath that was the E3 2013. It would have been outstanding to see Microsoft deliver a press release stating that the PlayStation 4 would make excellent toilet paper or is perhaps the best coaster in the world. Instead we got radio silence.
Being that I have a keyboard and an opinion, and am thus an expert on everything, I’m willing to offer Microsoft a piece of free advice on how to steal a major portion of Sony’s future thunder. It’s clear that Sony has placed a major emphasis on independent games, as AAA development times seem to be increasing due to these titles becoming more technologically advanced. We also know that 2015 is set to be a fantastic year for the ID@Xbox program, if that crazy montage trailer from E3 is any indication. In the near future, Microsoft should announce an ID@Xbox bundle that includes download codes for roughly $100 worth of independent games. If the Assassin’s Creed bundle sold for $350, then there shouldn’t be much of a problem offering an indie bundle at roughly the same price. By putting a handful of hopefully excellent indie games on the Xbox One’s packaging, Microsoft would be sending the message that they’re the go-to console for downloadable titles, regardless of whether or not that fact is actually true. Of course, being able to advertise the Xbox One as a console that comes with five to eight free games wouldn’t hurt Microsoft’s growing momentum either. Brilliant, I know.
If this past week has taught us anything, it’s that Microsoft and Sony shouldn’t ever feel content with their positions. Each company needs to make sure that its console is at the forefront of consumer minds at all times. Microsoft stumbled in this regard over the past week, as the PlayStation Experience has reminded everyone which console is currently in the lead. Here’s another piece of unsolicited expert advice for Microsoft, as this article clearly makes me the go-to voice for all things everything: pump out news constantly, no matter what, as you never know what could wind up catching fire.