When I speak about ‘turning the tides’, I don’t necessarily mean that the Xbox One is drifting out to sea. What I’m really talking about is the tides of criticism that have been gently lapping over the Xbox One, pretty much since day one. If it wasn’t complaints about the DVR it was no backwards compatibility. If it wasn’t the lack of backwards compatibility it was the concept of the Xbox always being on, or constantly needing to be connected to the internet. It’s been criticism after criticism for Microsoft’s next-gen console. A good percentage of people would say “rightly so” and, to be honest, if they’d stuck with the plans that they first announced, I’d be begrudged to agree. But, I had faith that Microsoft would listen to its consumer base and purchased myself an Xbox One over the PS4, and listen they did. Granted some qualms haven’t yet been appeased, but they’re working on it. For those sitting on the fence and the hardcore fans that would back the One to the death, Titanfall is the shimmering phoenix that could raise from the supposed ashes of the console. It’s got to the point where, with so much promotion and so many expectations, quite a bit rides on the success of Titanfall.
Whether or not anything actually rides on Titanfall’s success, or failure, is open to debate. There are plenty of potentially great games coming to the Xbox One this year and next, and Titanfall is just one of many. I think the main problem is that quite a few Xbox fans have been using Titanfall as their go-to reply.
PS4: “Well, the PS4 is for the gamers. They give away free games every month and have a tonne of cool exclusives”
XB1: “… yeah, but Titanfall”
They don’t seem to mention the other exclusives, such as the hotly awaited Halo game, Project Spark and Quantum Leap, or the fact that there are tonnes of great games coming to both consoles, Thief and Elder Scrolls Online to name just two. Nope, they just focus on Titanfall. In a way, we Xbox fans are shooting ourselves in the foot. I’m sure that Titanfall will be a very good game, it could even be a great game. But it’s been built up so much over the past few months that I get the feeling it could never live up to expectations. To be honest, I’m not overly excited about it. I’ll probably get it, but to me it looks like COD with robots, and I’m much more of a Battlefield kind a’ guy.
There have been a plethora of articles on Titanfall, from those full of praise, to others littered with uncertainties, to one or two stating that Microsoft are tweaking part of their controller to fit with the game. Would Microsoft do this? I wouldn’t be surprised, not because they’re pushovers but because Titanfall has been hyped to such an extent that, if it were to fail, the word ’embarrassment’ wouldn’t quite cover it. Not because Microsoft would be overly embarrassed, but then they’ve pumped so much into it that they could have put far too many eggs into one basket, and I’d imagine a lot of that egg would end up on their face, were the basket to break.
But maybe Titanfall will be a great success and it will prove that the Xbox One has more to offer than it’s being accused of. Hopefully it will take some of the pressure off of Microsoft and give them a chance to listen to the fans and fix what needs to be fixed. Perhaps they can then focus on backing more developers and bringing us more fantastic games. Titanfall won’t stop the criticism, but it could prove to fans and haters alike (and perhaps even Microsoft) that the Xbox One has a lot to offer. It could even galvanise Microsoft to develop the console, and some games, for the better. It could start to calm the ripples, or it could end up increasing them. I think the future perception of the Xbox One rides on the success of Titanfall, depending on how it’s received. If it’s a success, the critics might start to look at the One for its potential, rather than its shortcomings. If it bombs, then we should expect a lot more criticism coming the One’s way – warranted or not. I think, either way, there probably won’t be a unilateral agreement that Titanfall is a brilliant game. People will always pick holes in Titanfall and One fans will inevitably clutch at any bit of success in the game that they can find, whether it deserves it or not. That seems to be the nature of the gaming industry and the prerogative of the fans, these days. The overall view of Titanfall since the open beta is one of optimism. Romnomnom thoroughly enjoyed the beta, as did the people that he was playing it with. So I guess that things are looking up, perhaps.
So, as an Xbox One owner that isn’t overly bothered by Titanfall, there are a few things that I’d much rather see. I’d rather Microsoft invest in their own studio, giving more money to their smaller developers to bring us some interesting exclusives. I’d like them to address the issues that gamers are having with the console and listen to the community, to see how they can better the Xbox One. I don’t want Titanfall to become the next Call of Duty, or the next FIFA – I’d much rather see five new game series being developed than them spewing out a fifth Titanfall game by 2017. These are the sorts of things that will turn the tides of criticism against the Xbox One and these are the sorts of things that, as a fan and a consumer, I would like to see.