I know I’m basically committing social suicide by writing that headline, but the reality is that I was gripped to the screen much more by Microsoft’s direct-style show, Inside Xbox, than I was with Sony’s State of Play.
I don’t want to say that arrogant Sony is back, but there’s a feeling that the company can do no wrong amongst its fans. Don’t get me wrong, I consider myself a part of the fandom – I own and run a PlayStation-centric website after all – but I still can’t help but feel that Sony is happy putting minimum effort into its show, meanwhile, Microsoft is doing all it can to get eyes on its show and the games it is promoting.
Today’s State of Play went about as well as I expected it to, minus the omission of a certain caped crusader. Where was that prick?! We already knew that Sony’s next big-hitting title would be a part of the show thanks to the numerous tweets and teases leading up to the broadcast. I’d argue that The Last of Us: Part 2 was the biggest part of the show, yet we all knew, going in, that it was going to be a big part of the show. And while the game only took a few minutes of the total runtime, it ended up generating the most buzz. Just look at any gaming website and you’ll see several articles about The Last of Us: Part 2. Gotta get them clicks…
The rest of the show, to me at least, was a little… meh? Call of Duty: Modern Warfare got a new trailer, which I enjoyed, but the rest of the broadcast wasn’t all that exciting. Perhaps that’s just me, but I’m guessing there are others out there who’re thinking the same thing; State of Play was a little boring.
The Inside Xbox show, however, was much more up my street. From the word ‘go’ you could tell that Microsoft had put more than a little thought into what it was putting out. Where Sony was happy just putting out trailers and letting the videos do the talking, Microsoft was invested in getting its likeable personalities in front of the camera to help the enthusiasm flow from screen to consumer. Yeah it was a little cringey at times, but what American-produced media isn’t? In fact, the presenters themselves even acknowledged that they’re working to a script and they made light of it in one of the four seconds they were allowed to deviate away from the micro-managed words they’d rehearsed for the last two weeks. Did I mind? Not one bit! It gave the show some flair, a little pazazz, a bit of identity. State of Play? Could have been a sizzle reel to an E3-intro.
The Inside Xbox show also had more content to get invested in. There was a spot on the new HITMAN 2 location. We got to see some more of Ghost Recon Breakpoint with Jon Bernthal giving his take on his in-game character. We got to see more of DayZ. Alright, that last one is a turd that can not be polished, but the point is that it felt like Inside Xbox was a proper show, not just a few trailers slapped together with the expectation that I would get excited and start hyping over social media. I didn’t.
Where Sony was happy to show a trailer for Afterparty, Microsoft went the distance and got one of the developers on its show to sit and talk about the game. It might not seem like much, but for me at least, it makes the world of difference. Seeing people being excited for the games I’m excited for gives me a sense of belonging. Seeing a trailer after trailer dumped on me with some voiceover acting as a connector doesn’t. Long story short, I prefer Microsoft’s format to Sony’s.
It wasn’t always that way, mind you, as previous livestreams by Sony have had presenters. Why they’ve been dropped from the recent livestream is anyone’s guess, but it’s to the detriment of the viewer, in my opinion.
Of course, not everybody will agree with me. In fact, I expect the hardcore Sony fans to call me every name under the sun, but the simple fact is: I game on every system, so I watch what every platform holder puts out. I can’t help but judge one against the other. I have no bias – plastic boxes are plastic boxes. I just want games, but I appreciate how I’m being spoken to by a brand, and in this case, Microsoft spoke to me better than Sony did.