Yesterday’s Inside Xbox X019 broadcast was hard to watch.
Xbox pulled out all the stops with the announcements. Age of Empires IV, Obsidian’s new IP, a breathtaking raft of a new Xbox Game Pass titles, Rare’s Everwild, a new Dontnod narrative adventure, and quality insight into Project xCloud – it was a stacked roster. If it came down to the announcements alone, this edition was among the best Microsoft has concocted.
Yet, there’s the sense it was all overshadowed by the presentation itself. The format does Inside Xbox no favors.
It’s difficult to fathom what Xbox is going for with the manufactured applause and cheers of the crowd and the uncomfortable cringe-inducing moments. Someone at Xbox must have given all of it the green light, and I find it increasingly challenging to understand why.
It as if some corporate boffin has stamped the whole thing with their warped perception of “what’s cool.”
It all feels so detached from what viewers want out of these hyped broadcasts, and although there’s a sinister pleasure in watching the occasional interview or segment go wrong (that’s half the reason we all watch E3), it all feels like too much.
At one point, one of the Inside presenters had a fake tattoo branded onto her forearm for no apparent reason whatsoever. These cheap set pieces feel not only superfluous but also awkward for the viewer.
See for yourself (clips starts at 1:24:05):
Worse, most of it is scripted, but more often than not, goes wrong. We saw this in the segment with Project xCloud boss Catherine Gluckstein as she stumbled over her words as the interview derailed from its set path.
The saccharine sincerity of the Inside Xbox presenters is jarring, and the excitement that seemingly everyone in attendance shares is glaringly fake. I mean, it’s all well and good that this or that title is hitting the Game Pass. But, to cheer in almost hysterical fashion feels a tad misplaced.
The pacing is off as well, and it’s all too long. Xbox, please take note of PlayStation’s latest State of Play – concise, snappy, and without the phony presenters at every turn.
There was one saving grace, though. This gentleman in the crowd looked precisely how I felt watching the broadcast.