When things wrapped on yesterday's Xbox Series X event, I wasn't sure if I had been the only one left feeling a little underwhelmed by what had just been shown. After all, the whole point of this month's Inside Xbox was to give viewers some bonafide Xbox Series X gameplay, and that simply just didn't happen. Instead, what we got were in-engine clips "representative of expected Xbox Series X Visual Quality", or in the case of Assassin's Creed Vahalla, footage that more closely resembled a cinematic trailer than actual gameplay.
Naturally, since the nearly-half hour showcase failed to deliver on what was advertised, it wasn't long after its conclusion that the internet began offloading its criticisms all over social media.
Perhaps for damage control, or maybe even because he felt genuinely sorry for what had, or in this case, hadn't transpired, Xbox's marketing manager Aaron Greenberg promptly took to Twitter to address fan's concerns.
"Had we not said anything & just shown May Inside Xbox show like we did last month, I suspect reactions might have been different." writes Greenberg, in response to one critics tweet. "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."
A similar sentiment was expressed by creative director Ashraf Ismail on behalf of the Assassin's Creed Vahalla team, whose gameplay reveal had been advertised in coordination with Xbox. In a tweet, he writes "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."
Was this misstep on Xbox's part as egregious as some fans are framing it? That answer is entirely up to the individual, though I personally feel like the backlash has been a little out of proportion. That said, the folks at Xbox did make the conscious decision to not only establish an expectation, but also make it the focal point of their advertising. With that in mind, it's clear that Xbox had set itself up to fail.
In any case, there's another Inside Xbox slated for June, so let's hope that they turn this slightly overblown scandal into a actionable learning experience.