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Xbox & Ubisoft Admit Stupid Oversell after Fierce Gamer Backlash

Last Updated September 23, 2020 1:54 PM
Thomas Bardwell
Last Updated September 23, 2020 1:54 PM
  • Yesterday, Microsoft hosted its highly-anticipated special edition of Inside Xbox slated to reveal next-gen gameplay for the first time.
  • The event was anything but that, with gameplay replaced by in-engine trailers, leaving many Xbox fans disappointed.
  • Microsoft and Ubisoft have now responded to the criticism, acknowledging that fan expectations were mismanaged.

Microsoft and Ubisoft have responded to the negative backlash to yesterday’s episode of Inside Xbox.

Tomorrow Didn’t Change the Game

Microsoft widely advertised yesterday’s Xbox event a first look at next-gen gameplay on the Xbox Series X. Tag lines such as ‘Tomorrow changes the game. Or rather, the games do the changing.’  set expectations high.

As a standalone event, Xbox’s showcase was more than passable and an interesting preview of new IPs from third-party developers, but many felt this was not what Microsoft had promised.

Ubisoft promised Assassin’s Creed Valhalla gameplay (although the developer clarified this would not be the case less than a day before the event), prompting many to expect games of a similar caliber.

Rumors of From Software’s Elden Ring and similarly highly-anticipated titles did the rounds in anticipation. Rather than setting the tone for the presentation, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla was very much the jewel in the crown and saved until last.

The wording used by Microsoft suggested this would be a showcase to sell the next-gen dream and convince people that the Xbox Series X would be worth the expected $500 premium.

In reality, it was anything but that. Microsoft’s promised hands-on gameplay was glaringly absent replaced by heavily-stylized in-engine trailers for games that aren’t even Xbox Series X exclusives.

Even these fell short of expectations with very little to suggest a significant generational leap, let alone the dramatic ‘2D to 3D’ jump promised by Xbox head Phil Spencer.

The Assassin’s Creed Valhalla finale failed to meet the hype Ubisoft has meticulously cultivated since revealing the game last week. A jumbled juxtaposition of clips did little to offer new insight into the game.

Disappointed Xbox fans took to social media to voice their disappointment  and share their criticism, the din of discontent too loud for Microsoft to ignore.

Xbox and Ubisoft Respond

Marketing GM at Xbox Aaron Greenberg took to Twitter to acknowledge the criticism :

Had we not said anything & just shown May Inside Xbox show like we did last month, I suspect reactions might have been different. Clearly we set some wrong expectations & that’s on us. We appreciate all the feedback & can assure you we will take it all in & learn as a team.

Xbox and Ubisoft Acknowledge Inside Xbox Fell Short of Expectations
Source: Twitter

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla’s creative director Ashraf Ismail published a similar tweet recognizing that fans expected more .

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!

Fortunately, Microsoft will have a second chance soon enough as it plans to host monthly Xbox 20/20 episodes moving forward, with July’s edition focused solely on first-party next-gen titles. The hope is that it will feature games with the chops to live up to the next-gen expectations laid out by Microsoft so far.