It really, truly does.
In case you didn’t know (and God bless you if you don’t), Microsoft has a monthly show featuring news for its erstwhile console called Inside Xbox. At least it’s supposed to include news. It usually devolves into cringeworthy dialogue, mock interviews, and the hyping up of small and insignificant things. I’ve personally only watched three episodes of Inside Xbox since it launched last year but, while watching the latest episode, I came to realize just how bad the show is. So, buckle up and prepare yourself as we take a dive into the latest episode of Inside Xbox.
Let’s start with the biggest news of the whole show: Halo: The Master Chief Collection is coming to PC on both Steam and the Microsoft Store. Fairly big news, right? It would have been it if hadn’t been leaked at least a hundred times before it was announced. Therefore, when it was announced, it really didn’t seem like an announcement. It is also a little odd that this announcement was in this show since it’s about the PC side of things. It really doesn’t add much value for the average Xbox owner especially since the Halo: MCC isn’t going to be a Play Anywhere title. Play Anywhere means if you buy it on Xbox One, you also get a copy for PC.
This is also not to mention that it was announced in the weirdest way possible. A guy from 343 Industries came onstage (I couldn’t be bothered to learn his name) with pizza and what has to be the worst Master Chief cosplayer in history. There proceeded to be a short interview with this guy in which we learned that Halo: Reach would be added to the collection on both PC and Xbox One. I must admit that Reach is a nice addition. And that was about it. There wasn’t even an announcement of a release date. They simply told us all to stay tuned for more down the road. This will be a common theme for the episode.
After the Halo: MCC reveal, there really wasn’t any news to write home about either. They announced that Minecraft would be coming to Game Pass on April 4th for all two of you who haven’t purchased that game yet. Yet another controller was unveiled for the Xbox One. And that was about it as far as announcements went. It is really telling that Inside Xbox couldn’t even announce the games that were coming to Game Pass later on in March. Those were announced in a tweet and received more exposure. That doesn’t reflect very well on Inside Xbox.
The whole reason I was actually watching that episode of Inside Xbox was because the official Xbox Facebook account had shared an image a few days before the episode aired showing the topics of the show. There was one spot that said “Redacted” which made me kind of excited. Could there be an exciting announcement incoming? Spoiler alert, the answer is no. As the show dragged on and I was beginning to doze off (I work early in the morning), familiar music began playing. I instantly perked up expecting a big reveal to be playing across the screen. Alas, it was not to be. You know what that “Redacted” section turned out to be? It was the announcement that many classic Final Fantasy titles were coming to the Xbox One. That would have been an exciting announcement except for the fact that they already had been announced for the system! What a letdown that was.
Then the talking heads decided it was time to unveil Project xCloud once again. xCloud is the game streaming service that Microsoft is working on that will allow you to play your games on any device as long as it has an internet connection. This in and of itself is pretty exciting but the team at Xbox managed to make it mundane. The interview portion essentially consisted of them saying corporate slogans to one another. Things like “You know, Xbox is more than a console, it’s a brand.” The sort of thing that everyone says so much that they couldn’t have all thought of it independently. Then they did a short demonstration of Forza Horizon 4 being played on a phone. It would have been nice except for the fact something seemed a little off. Almost like the host playing the game wasn’t actually playing it. Of course, all of this wasn’t new information either. All of this had already been covered in a video released late last year announcing Project xCloud.
The biggest complaint I have about Inside Xbox is the complete lack of concrete information. As I already said, there was no release date for Halo: The Master Chief Collection for PC. They teased Xbox’s plans for E3 but of course we were told to stay tuned until later on in the year. They didn’t even give a date for the start of the public trials for xCloud. This episode really boiled down the essence of what Inside Xbox is: the announcements of future announcements. There are no concrete details but the promise of them coming further down the line. It really is a shame Microsoft can’t make the show more exciting like Nintendo does with its Nintendo Directs. You know, a show with actual announcements. Microsoft should really emulate Nintendo and only talk when they have something to say. Inside Xbox lacks substance and that is why it sucks.
Thanks for reading.
p.s. Earlier this week, ID@Xbox released a YouTube video that shined a spotlight on a few indie games releasing on Game Pass on Xbox One. This video featured interviews with developers that were way more interesting than anything shown on Inside Xbox. I think Inside Xbox has a lot to learn not only from other competitors in the console space but also from other departments within Xbox itself.