This morning Microsoft unveiled its 'Xbox Onesie' -- an Xbox One themed 'onesie' designed for gamers.
It's had a bit of a mixed response. One response: 'this looks like the best thing ever, where do I sign?' The other: 'isn't this all a bit weird?'
Mark: Okay. Let's talk about this bloody Xbox Onesie.
First background, because this is our first post about the thing.
It's a onesie. It's Xbox-themed. It's called the Xbox Onesie. It has a feature list and I'm just way, way too old for this shit...
- Enlarged pockets to fit your Xbox Controller and Media Remotes - Arm pouch to offer quick and easy access to your mobile phone - Roll-able legs and arms to cater for all temperatures and seasons - Forearm grips to prevent slipping on those ‘edge of your seat’ moments - Extra-large hood to accommodate headsets for the ultimate gaming sessions - Customised Gamertag embroidery
I have a lot of thoughts about this and my thoughts are pretty similar to my thoughts on the Selk Bag which I wrote about a few years back.
I um... Christ. I don't even know where to start with this. I guess I find it a bit stupid and I hate it, but I also feel like getting wound up about it is also super silly!
Rae, help me out here.
Rae: It all comes down to one simple thing: you’re overthinking this.
By all means, own your feelings. But here are plenty of things in this world to get angry about, and IMHO an Xbox One-sie (oh, the pun, it’s so glorious) is absolutely not one of them.
Onsies are nothing new, and the divided opinions on them are pretty well known. But have you ever seen anyone looking sad in a onesie? You won’t, because they are pure joy in a jumpsuit. What other outfit can say “Please don’t ask me to go anywhere with you” and “I’m indulging in super comfy fun times” all at once?
To me, this just seems like a silly idea someone came up with during a marketing meeting that we can all benefit from -- either by the existence of the product itself or by the ridiculousness of it all. Let’s be real, we are all talking about this either way, aren’t we?
Mark: The “overthinking this” comment really resonates with because well, yeah -- I totally am overthinking this! Obviously!
It’s extremely difficult to critically evaluate a onesie without being starkly aware that you’re um… critically evaluating a onesie!
I am very aware of this.
I’m also aware that I look like a humourless buffoon criticising this onesie. The press release was clearly a bit tongue in cheek and I get it. This is something of a joke and the last thing I want to be is the guy who is offended by a joke!
And a quick preface: just because worse things are happening in the world, doesn’t mean we can’t be critical of something more trivial. That’s a pretty bogus rhetorical tactic that’s used to silence a lot of people on a lot of important issues.
But yes, I fully recognise that a sense of perspective is necessary: we are talking about a onesie! This is not life and death.
But this is marketing – you made that point. That’s an important point and we shouldn’t overlook it. You, me and everyone who plays video games -- we’re being marketed to here.
And that hits a nerve. This is something that’s always bothered me. ‘Gamers’ -- we present as this group. We make ourselves so ridiculously easy to market to. “Gamers like energy drinks; gamers eat pizza; gamers like to sit in the dark all day in onesies and watch Cartoon Network”. It’s a stereotype and there’s this duality to it: on the one hand we’re all about dispelling these myths about people who play games. On the one hand this stereotype makes us angry, but on the other we drown ourselves in this identity. We submit to it.
In a weird way (and I totally get that I’m being weird here) this Xbox Onesie is an attempt to hitch its brand to that stereotype.
Does any of that make sense?
Rae: You’re totally on point with “just because worse things are happening in the world, doesn’t mean we can’t be critical of something more trivial.” I think I’m just finding myself sitting back and saying “what’s the big deal here?” while the gamers I know form ‘Important Opinions On The Internet’ about, well, a Onesie -- and I really do find it all a bit silly.
But since you bring it up, let’s talk about gamer stereotypes for a second. I talk with the mainstream media audiences about video games a lot, and have for over half a decade now. The idea of “gamers” being overweight losers living in their parent’s basement (or granny flat, in Australia) is still very much alive. At least 50 per cent of every morning television show, radio program and traditional newspaper I’ve spoken to about games has been confused at best, and at worst aggressive, about “gamers” as a sub culture.
But I believe that tide is turning (slowly). I think there’s a wider “Internet” culture that relates more to what you speak of here --- the “I don’t feel like adulting today” self-deprecating attitude that makes people more relatable to strangers. Yes, this onesie is marketed as something that you wear while you’re on the couch, playing videogames, eating pizza, all of that. Yes, gamers buy into that as part of this wider online community. But I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing, as reluctant as I am to say it, representative of the worst kinds of gamer stereotypes out there.
When I’m finding “busy” my go-to synonym to “good” as a generic response to “how are you” a reminder that down-time is important – and can also be light-hearted and fun – is important in my life. And in a rare moment in gaming marketing, I actually felt included in a totally organic, inclusive and non-sexualised way.
But I think ultimately the most important thing here is the pockets. The pockets, Mark! As someone who is likely to very much used to functioning pockets in your clothing, I genuinely believe you've overlooked in your judgement of this glorious item of joy the importance of the humble pocket, and just how many of them Xbox have managed to cram into this lovable gimmick.
Now I’ve officially done the exact level of overthinking I initially accused you of. #Onesies4Eva
Mark: The pockets I absolutely understand. I also think you make a great point about how these onesies are being promoted – it is awesome for Microsoft to be inclusive of women in this “organic, inclusive and non-sexualised way”. That’s a tremendous point and one I overlooked as a big sweaty dude who plays video games and gets what he wants whatever he wants.
Look, I could pretend I’m not judgemental of the whole ‘onesie’ thing, but that would be dishonest. To me Onesies are symptomatic of that phenomenon you alluded to: the ‘I don’t want to adult today, I just want to eat Froot Loops for dinner and wear this onesie instead of getting dressed’ thing. Video games are already tied to that cultural neoteny and it’s a knot that I worry we’ll never be able to untie.
And it holds games back. Genuinely. Because we’re either part of the infantilism or we’re railing against it with “GAMES ARE SERIOUS BUSINESS” bullshit – much like I’m doing now.
Urgh, what am I doing?
I think I might be in the wrong here. Possibly. But I just look at this Xbox Onesie and I think about all that bullshit and I think – this contributes to that.
THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT XBOX ONESIE!
Okay now I’m definitely overthinking this.
Bugger it. It’s a onesie. Everyone knock themselves out and have a blast.
Yes, this Xbox Onesie is real. No, we don't know when it's going on sale! Microsoft has been pretty quiet about it and says more details are incoming. We'll let you know when we know!