Post-Gamescom Microsoft appear to be a lot more confident and in control than pre-Gamescom Microsoft. And thank Xenu for that! We want to be wading into Christmas as consumers with two gaming leviathans at the top of their powers slugging it out and firing on all cylinders to woo us with their wares.
But has the Microsoft party PR line gone a bit too far the other way? And do they regret all of the u-turns that they had to make?
Xbox Europe VP Chris Lewis has talked up consumer choice, and the decisions made by Microsoft in the wake of their original Xbox One reveal to respect their retail partners and the opinions of their fanbase.
"We remain true to our vision that we want to be wherever our consumers want us to be," Lewis told MCV in one of the first interviews he's given since the Xbox One reveal event (Microsoft infamously cancelled all of their E3 interview appointments at the last minute earlier this year).
"We think that digital consumption patterns will change and grow over time. We think that the Cloud gives you a level of sophistication, depth and breadth that people can only dream of. And overtime more people will embrace that. That said, we want to offer consumers choice, including physical discs and being able to do all the things that they want with those physical discs. We want to be available in any format that our consumers are looking for. We’ve always been very committed to consumer choice."
Hmmm. Not sure about that last statement, but it's a testament perhaps to Microsoft's desire to please their fanbase that they didn't simply run roughshod over consumer concerns.
"As a business, the minute we don’t listen to our customers attentively, and adapt and react in an appropriate way, then we would be in a dangerous place. I love the fact that we are reactive and agile in that way. We remain true to our vision – digitally and physically – and we are genuinely in an enviable position versus anyone else in being able to deliver that. I wouldn’t trade places with anybody."
This newfound confidence, albeit a somewhat evasive bravado given that Sony have brazenly revealed their pre-order sales figures already and Microsoft haven't, is welcome. And Gamescom, it seems has been the ick up the backside that Microsoft wanted -- a little injection of consumer confidence to match their own.
"The whole thing is fascinating," Lewis noted. "People, when I have these discussions, go: 'You must be really worried about the competition?' Actually, it is the most exciting time. Good, strong, healthy competition creates so much more of a vibrant environment. It pushes the quality bar up for everything – your marketing, the approach to your consumers, the games themselves. And that’s great for retail. It is a really healthy time.
"This Christmas we will be locking horns with Sony, of course we will, you’d expect that, but I think the ultimate beneficiary of that will be the consumer. It’s really healthy and exciting for the industry that we are taking such big strides in terms of the technology and what that experience means for the consumers. It is a great time.
"That said, I wouldn’t trade places. I think we are in an enviable position."