Xbox One: Mainstream Media Reacts... Are We The 20%?

It's bizarre. On my twitter feed, in the Kotaku comments and from what I've heard from people involved in the games industry, the reaction the Xbox One reveal has been overwhelmingly negative. But the mainstream media? They seem to have missed the memo. While we've been spending the last five hours complaining about the lack of new titles and issues with used games, they've been praising the design, the ethos and — yes — the games.

Are gamers living in some weird echo chamber? Execs at the Microsoft event in the US believe the reaction has been mostly positive. Aaron Greenberg mentioned to Kotaku Editor Stephen Totilo that twitter's reaction to Xbox One was roughly 40 per cent positive, 40 per cent indifferent, 20 per cent negative. When I heard this I almost burst into laughter — that can't be possible. But then I did a brief check of multiple different mainstream media outlets — how had they reacted to the Xbox One news?

The answer may surprise you.

Are we the 20 per cent?

Fox News

Indeed, the Xbox One demonstration was so impressive it made me wonder, why the heck didn't they do this with the disastrous Windows 8?


The console itself is more angular and practical looking than either of its two predecessors. Flat and rectangular like a cable box, you could almost call the design reserved. But it is by no means unattractive, and will probably sit tucked away in a cabinet anyways.

The Register

On the face of it, the new console looks pretty impressive. Response times and gesture control are very good indeed, the visuals are stunning, and Microsoft scored an instant win over rival Sony by actually having a working console to show off. The demonstrations were in a tightly controlled environment, but the upgraded Kinect system looks impressive and the console looks very speedy to operate.


Xbox has been the exclusive home to such popular gaming franchises as sci-fi first-person shooter Halo, racing simulator Forza and alien shoot-'em-up Gears of War. In recent years, Microsoft expanded the scope of the Xbox 360 beyond just games, adding streaming media apps and the camera-based Kinect system. With the innovations showcased on Tuesday, Microsoft is taking those ideas further.

Key features of the Xbox One revealed in Microsoft headquarters in Seattle are advanced voice controls and the inclusion of a new-generation Kinect controller with every console, allowing you to switch from watching TV to playing games by spreading your arms as if you are grabbing the screen similar to the way you pinch an image on a smartphone or tablet.

The Sun

But the news that really got gamers salivating was the exclusive gaming deals they announced.
CALL of Duty: Ghosts takes the critically-acclaimed franchise into the next generation. Downloadable content for the new Call of Duty game, Ghosts, is available exclusively first on the Xbox, as is FIFA 14's Ultimate Team feature.
Fans were treated to some spectacular footage from both flagship titles, as well as some glorious footage of Forza Motorsport 5 — one of a number of titles that will be available as soon as the console is out.


Out in the Twitter peanut gallery, we've been hearing people calling the case design "boxy."One guy said, "Looks like a VCR. Hopefully that means it will play VHS," while anotherechoed, "Does it come with a cassette rewinder tho?"
Cosmetics aside, the response for the whole system seems more upbeat, ranging from "Sexy" to "Can't wait to have mine!"
But this is a big year for gaming, and things are just heating up.

Are we going crazy? Have consoles passed us by? Are we becoming increasingly irrelevant as a demographic? In a sense mainstream media reports err on side of caution, particularly when it comes to products they don't quite understand, but I found it difficult to find a single negative comment.

Very strange.


    I can't believe the amount of negative feed back about the Xbox one. Specs look good, the console is minimalistic in it appearance (subjectively) and the controller looks great. I personally have all consoles and a gaming pc so I believe I am rather objective and I think there is potential for both the PS4 and the Xbox one to be great consoles.

    I got sick of all the negativity on Twitter during the livestream and just turned it off.
    All this negative talk about the TV stuff and 'no games'. Xbox One reactions: why companies shouldn't innovate. Why on earth is putting all this stuff in to the one box a bad thing?
    And it's funny because in a year's time the Xbox One will have more games than the Wii U currently has anyway.
    The internet stuff isn't the best though, although I'd say workable for the majority of people.

      And its even funnier that in one year the PS4 will have more games, better exclusives, better running multiplats, and not nearly as many restrictions as the X-One will at launch.

    And yet, no one seems to bitch and moan like they do about apple when they hold a event for the new iPhone, and show off that it can still just play angry birds...

    Do we as gamers feel irrelevant and sidelined because something that was made for us originally has evolved into something not solely focused on us anymore. It's become something that embraces a much larger audience and thus marginalizes us, the core audience that gave it life in the first place. Of course we feel upset at what our games machine has become. We feel betrayed.

      It's not that 'gamers' got sidelined, it's that the kind of 'gamer' that dominated the market 10 years ago is no longer the typical gamer. Doesn't mean the console doesn't still cater to gamers, and it doesn't mean it's not catering to a core demographic. It just means the typical gamer has shifted and we're not it any more. It's not betrayal, it's reality.

    But Microsoft glossed over the bad parts like a required connection and no used games in their presentation. Those facts had to be beaten out of them by various sites. Did mainstream media look that deep?

    I don't think it's something that Microsoft will advertise beyond some fine print on the back of the box so you can bet there will be a lot of disappointment when someone who doesn't read gaming sites buys the latest CoD or Need for Speed then realises they need to have their console online, can't lend the game to a friend or trade it in.

    But what makes their coverage significant? The first quote from Fox News mentions Windows 8, but what was Fox News' reaction to Windows 8? Did they form that opinion after it was almost universally decided that Windows 8 was awful or before? What did they say about the PS3 in the leadup to it's incredibly rocky launch? What was their reaction to the original XBOX?

    I think the simple fact is that most of those groups are covering it for the sake of covering it. They'll repeat what was presented with a smile and not really delve any deeper because they know their audience just isn't that interested in hearing about speculation on the long term ramifications of today's announcements.
    Opinions aren't without their bias, but reporting at face value isn't very useful either.

    The question is will Microsoft be able to make it look like the shallow, mostly positive but ultimately pointless response is the correct response. I'm guessing they'll come close to pulling it off. For the past year or two the internet has fallen in love with accusing everyone of being self-entitled because it makes their lack of interest towards a subject seem heroic. All it's going to take is for the idea to take off that you can call anyone who is against always-on entitled and I think that will be enough to shame one side of the argument into the shadows (even though yes, I'm totally entitled to a proper justification for the always-on requirement).
    We've seen it a lot with recent disasters like Sim City but I think Microsoft are really going to try and fan the flames for the XBOX One.

    Last edited 22/05/13 2:56 pm

      Probably the same way that they had to use fake crowd cheers/applauds during the conference. It's all a sham.

    It's cos us 20% are fighting against the 21st-century. You know, the one where everyone gets told what's what by those in power and resisting makes you an outcast and crazy.

    Remember the mainstream media's reaction to the PS4? Overwhelmingly negative, while the industry and consumer reaction was mostly positive. What is happening?

    This is the same Fox News that is running stories every other week that gaming is the devil, so how far can you trust them?
    Part of it is Microsoft's marketing department ensuring every mainstream outlet has a media release about the launch. They invite a lot of outlets that know little about the industry and either rarely or never review games. The outlets which say GTA and COD are the source of all violence will always be amazed, especially those who will never own one.

    "The console itself is more angular and practical looking than either of its two predecessors. Flat and rectangular like a cable box, you could almost call the design reserved. But it is by no means unattractive, and will probably sit tucked away in a cabinet anyways."

    What on earth? It's like they were desparately trying to find something positive to say about the appearance but still failed miserably.

      It's like, "Hey this console looks good, but it really doesn't, but it actually does, who are we kidding, it doesn't even matter! Right? Riiiiigggghhhhhtttt?"

    I don't expect main stream media to know what they're talking about when it comes to consoles or gaming in general, hence why I'm not surprised many main stream news sites are being positive about the Xbox One. They wouldn't understand about the internet connectivity, or care about the lack of backwards compatibility, or not being able to lend/borrow games or buy secondhand ones, or any other problems that may turn the rest of us off buying it. They're just seeing the potential, the next big thing, whereas we all know enough about this sort of thing to know how annoying it's going to be, or how it won't work as well outside of the US, etc. Are we being cynical? Maybe just a little. But we also know more about gaming and tech than the average person, so we're able to have a more informed opinion on this.

    I still don't know why the TV thing was such a huge feature... I already have a TV, that's what I'm playing it on. Oh, but that's right, I can VOICE COMMAND it to change to TV now. That's going to excellent for me as I live next to a very busy, very noisy road. So I'll have to shout the command a few times for it to register what I was saying properly.

    Much easier than simply hitting one button on my remote....


    The remote is always near me... that's how I change the volume on my telly, and more importantly, turn it on....

    I guess as part of the gaming news press specifically, you guys are built to look for what is wrong with the gaming news in question and give critique. The mainstream press is arguably less focused on that and more about the wow factor. You guys will pick at the smaller details, like many of the gaming community will do. Average joe whose gaming experience is just something that happens as a very small side may not care for the nitty gritty. It's probably why the gaming press and the gaming community are so put off by the reveal. We knew what the problems were and we knew that this reveal did almost nothing to address those concerns and instead focused on things that we mostly weren't curious about. We were also curious about the library of games, controller, hardware - everything basically. The mainstream media did not take these into account and focused purely on what they saw on the day and maybe the very surface characteristics of the hardware (the kinect for example but not that the thing needed to be on all the time)

    I don't recall any articles written by say, the SMH about the concerns about always online and the like. It's because frankly, the general public who plays games every now and again probably don't give that sort of news much of a thought. So the level of detail the mainstream media analyses this sort of gaming news at is purely at the surface. It's like movie critique - actual critics will pick a movie apart but for the rest of us, that sort of critique isn't in our mindset. If you don't read too far into it, you're much more likely to like whatever the heck you are reviewing unless it is utter rubbish.

    So to summarise the MSM...

    A square box (CNN) exists (Register), that is better than Windows 8 (Fox), plays Halo and other games (SMH, The Sun), can switch between uses ( and is 'sexy'(MSNBC).

    Pretty sure the opinions of those on forums trump the opinion of one journalist from a newspaper.

    As a media centre, it is really impressive. There is some seriously cool integration happening there. The voice and gesture commands, the snappy responsiveness, the way it multi-tasks and switches from one big, heavy application to another... just awesome.

    Thing is, we are the segment of the market who wants a gaming console. If we get a cool media centre to boot, then bonus. We want games and gaming. We want our games and gaming with more convenience and less restriction and if possible, at a lower price. We did not get that. We got almost no gaming, some very generic gaming when we did get it and a lot of bad new about restrictions on how, when, and where we can play. These media outlets are positive because for the majority of people, it looks like an awesome media centre that does everything you could ask... it even plays cool games.

      You mean like mobile phones have been doing for years? Or how TV's have been doing for years?

      Shite like that has no place in a games console, its just a gimmick. It basically means 100% of your gaming must be done in a well lit, quiet room.

      Problem is, it doesn't do those things right out of the box. Word is that you will need to purchase a separate receiver to use the TV features, AND the tv features won't even be available in Australia at launch, they haven't even promised it ever will.

      I am glad we have Sony and Nintendo around to do things differently, because if MS was setting the trend in this industry, I would have quit it a long time ago.

        No idea why it sounds like you are getting angry at me for defending it. I'm not planning on buying one solely due to that presentation.

        It does do those things. you just watched the guy use the machine to do it. It does all that cool stuff in an integrated setting the way no phone or other device can do right now. Like it or not, games consoles haven't been solely game consoles for a long time. Do you remember the last one? It was the Gamecube. Even then, the competition was all about multimedia as far back as the Saturn and PlayStation. So the last time the industry was just for games was pre-CD gaming. Mega Drive and SNES. There is definitely a place for this kind of thing in the console market and I can almost guarantee that you have bought into it.

        That said, it isn't going to work just like that out of the US. It does raise concerns about an always on camera and microphone sitting in your house with direct internet access and near limitless access by a major corporation. It does mean that there are all kinds of new restrictions on gaming. This is a fantastic piece of tech for people who want integrated home media. This is not a fantastic games console.

      Well said.
      Not great for gamers but probably great for your average American consumer. And that's where the money's at now.
      As much as I dislike the One so far and wont be buying one, I suspect it will do extremely well: it appeals to the general masses and corners the EA sports market, which is also a very large user base.

    The presentation was a bit disappointing but then I wasn't really expecting much given that they basically said they weren't showing much in the way of games till e3. If we see some live gameplay there it'll be a lot better.

    The multitasking looks like it is done pretty well, exciting for a console I suppose but then I'm a bit spoiled by being able to alt+tab out to the desktop... The new Kinect looked fairly impressive, with it being a compulsory part of the system, it might even lead developers to make things that don't suck for it.

    One thing I'm really happy about was the lack of mention of multiple SKUs, everyone has the exact same hardware now, that'll have to please developers.

    Generally speaking the whole affair was a bit meh, the new machine looks pretty good specs wise & dull visually, the new controller looks pretty nice and the services look kinda shite (particularly with their lack of availability to anyone not in america). Ultimately its not worth forming an opinion of any substance until there's actual information rather than pre-rendered footage & buzzwords

    Last edited 22/05/13 3:34 pm

      Unfortunately, pretty good 'spec wise' mustn't mean very much to you then. Neither the X-One or the PS4 are spec monsters, but the PS4 beats the crap out of the X-One.

        Pretty good in this case means that there doesn't seem to be anything freakishly small like the ram in the 360. Nothing there that screams out "devs are going to have to work around that weird limitation"

        After all, if it comes down to a specs battle, the PC is always going to win...

        Specs needed for a high end PC and specs needed for equivalent performance on a dedicated console are very different. The PC has to account for so many non-optimal configurations and running environments, while dealing with a lot of CPU and RAM overhed coming from other multitasked programs.

        This and the PS4 have very smart specs for now. They have more power than devs will want or need now, there'll be a year or two before the specs get maxed and then another few years of optimising the use of those specs. By that time it'll be time for a new generation. Say 6-8 years.

        Comparing it to PC specs is apples to sponge cake.

    The only people who are happy with this console so far, are the Xbots, or people who have no idea what they are talking about, ie the mainstream media.

    This console has been a total load of crap, the specs are below the PS4, the focus on TV is completely irrelevant in a vast majority of countries, it won't even be available in Australia at launch. Unless they show off some cool features that enhance the gaming aspect of the console, then it is basically a crap upgrade for the 360. The only good thing I got out of this was the improved controller (which was just a slight refinement of the previous one, as opposed to Sony's complete redesign) and improved Kinect, which not everyone cares about.

    I am not really comfortable having a video camera constantly hooked up to a console that requires an internet connection on a daily basis.

    The people who DO know what they are talking about, and are capable of speaking of such matters objectively will agree with this assessment.

      Sony did a complete redsign? When? Looks to me like the PS1 controller with a bunch of iterative improvements to me.

      Sorry for replying thoughtfully to your other comments. After that, the Xbot remark, and the fact that you consider your opinion to be objectively correct, it looks like you are a console warrior. Enjoy your PS4. Stop yelling loudly about how you will not enjoy the Xbox One.

      Fight the good fight, buddy.

    I would like to add How do we even know that it was a "working Console anyway it could of been just a shell and everything done a Dev kit like sony did??!!!

    Gamers expected a focus on gaming.. not a multimedia entertainment center approach. That the bad rumors were mostly true is another kick in the pants: the Orwellian mandatory Kinect surveillance, mandatory online every 24hrs, no used games without a fee, Slower DDR3 Ram... this is not how you compete with PS4.. this is how you set yourself on fire and jump off a cliff.

    Tech nerds are a bunch of whinging whining pessimists who claim to want the future but are averse to change.

    I reckon the new Xbox looks freaking awesome, and think anyone who's whining about a lack of games announced in a 1 hour announcement a couple of weeks before E3 is an idiot.

    CNN:- "you could almost call the design reserved. But it is by no means unattractive, and will probably sit tucked away in a cabinet anyways."

    Almost say the design is reserved? It is reserved. It is quite boring. Very boring.

    Sure, not unattractive, just dull.

    Will it probably sit tucked away in a cabinet anyways? My PS3 stands upright along side my 42" Plasma which takes up the vast majority of the available space on my already oversized bureau. I don't have space for a horizontally positioned console. I'm not buying a new TV cabinet, or a small TV in order to accommodate one.

    The Register:- "Microsoft scored an instant win over rival Sony by actually having a working console to show off."

    Win? Really, a win? Having a working console to show off is certainly a good thing, but not enough to win anything. Certainly that in itself is not enough to win me as a customer.

    SMH:- Doesn't say much of anything "allowing you to switch from watching TV to playing games"

    I can do this on my PS3 and TV. I press Menu on my TV remote, scroll down to HDMI 1, press select. Takes 3.5 seconds.

    If I want voice activation, I just ask my wife to do it.

    Personally I'm surprised by the lack-lustreness of the Xbox One. I'm not that surprised, I just think that it's going to take a heck of a lot to impress the audience given that we now all have highly advanced tech in PS3s/360s, have been well schooled in touch based gestures and motion control, etc.

    For me, both the Xbox and PS4 are in the same box of turds in that what exactly are they giving us that screams 'next gen!'

    Slightly shinier graphics that prob still doesn't beat high end gaming rigs?

    We get the next version of every single game already in existence with the same gameplay...???

    What makes these next gen rather than current gen.1 ??? Oh apart from some Facebook sharing crap...disenchanted big time.

    Think of it this way, as long as the other media stuff that is crammed into doesn't get in the way of your gaming, then it should be fine.

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