Microsoft has responded to criticism of this week’s Xbox Series X “gameplay” reveal, admitting it had set wrong expectations for fans.
The company had teased Xbox Series X gameplay for the special Inside Xbox show, but gameplay was in short supply as Microsoft issued a raft of trailers from third-party publishers and developers.
Microsoft’s Inside Xbox video has 33,000 dislikes on YouTube, and the comments are packed with complaints, with many saying they felt misled. Other Xbox Series X gameplay reveals on Microsoft’s Xbox YouTube channel have seen a similar reaction.
Responding to a tweet from a fan, general manager of Xbox Games Marketing at Microsoft Aaron Greenberg held his hands up:
“Had we not said anything and just shown May Inside Xbox show like we did last month, I suspect reactions might have been different. Clearly we set some wrong expectations and that’s on us. We appreciate all the feedback and can assure you we will take it all in and learn as a team.”
Perhaps the biggest culprit was the much-hyped gameplay reveal of Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla, which itself was teased by publisher Ubisoft by a trailer that went live after an elaborate Twitch stream that unfolded over the course of a day. This gameplay reveal turned out to contain no gameplay at all, rather, flashy in-game cinematic camera work. The reaction to this video has been similarly negative, with thousands of dislikes and angry comments across the various channels it’s been uploaded to.
Ashraf Ismail, creative director of Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla, took to Twitter to respond to fans.
“You rightfully expected to see more today. We have a long marketing campaign ahead of us, you will see in-depth gameplay and get a lot more info about the game.
“Thank you for your excitement and passion! Be patient with us and be kind. It will be worth it!”
The episode has brought to mind the question of what gameplay means when it comes to video game marketing. Based on this week’s episode of Inside Xbox, to Microsoft this means – or, perhaps from now on, meant – in-game footage, as opposed to showing how the game will look when it’s actually being played by someone.
Microsoft has promised a gameplay reveal for its raft of first-party Xbox Series X games, such as Halo: Infinite and new projects from Double Fine, Ninja Theory and Obsidian, in July. I suspect then we will see a bit more gameplay than we saw this week.