For what it’s worth, Microsoft’s morning announcements for the Xbox One at Gamescom proved that the company is locked and loaded for the upcoming holiday shopping season. 23 launch titles is certainly nothing to scoff at and out of those titles there are more than a handful of exclusives. Today, Microsoft made a case as to why you’re going to want to spend your gaming dollars on an Xbox One.
However, media and gamers alike were looking for something else that was was still up in the air – and has been since E3. Sure, more games and official announcements are great and all but the holid[ay shopping season is roughly 12 weeks away and well — the biggest standout, in my opinion, from today’s revelations was that Microsoft omitted a concrete launch date.
With Sony seemingly getting the leg up on Microsoft, for what has felt like every single turn since February, would Microsoft really want to announce after? There has got to be more to the story.
Besides the list of launch titles, the biggest story to come from the Microsoft camp was that gamers (in Europe) who pre-order the console before the holidays would also receive FIFA 14 as a free digital download. Gamers who have already pre-ordered the console would get the same thing. Giving away free FIFA in Europe is like dropping off some of Walter White’s crystal blue at a methadone clinic (Breaking Bad reference but it works here). It’s giving the people what they’re more than willing to already pay for.
So this got me to thinking, “if Microsoft (likely) paid a devil’s ransom to EA for FIFA, would they pay up and provide something similar for buyers in the US?
That thought alone helps me rationalize and come up with my own theory as to why we were left without a solid release date announcement from Microsoft. Think about it, such a huge deal with arguably EA’s highest profile and highest revenue generating sports title, without anyone knowing (or even hinting at it) seems a bit crazy in an industry where it feels as though everything leaks. This makes me believe that the FIFA move could have been a game time “we-need-to-make-a-statement-in-Europe-so-let’s-throw-this-giant-bag-of-cash-at-EA” decision.
With that out of the way, I don’t think it’s too much of a reach for Microsoft to still be finalizing — better yet, realigning — their launch plans to possibly sweeten the deal in the same way they did for EU buyers. Because if there’s one thing gamers love — it’s a bargain. And if in the US you throw FIFA‘s chart topping equivalent at prospective buyers for free (whatever that may be), people will quickly start to forget about all the unpleasantries and flip-flopping from earlier in the year. All of a sudden, for many gamers, Microsoft’s Xbox One is a contender again, even next to the mighty do-no-wrong PlayStation 4 PR machine.
What do you think? Does it seem like the FIFA thing was last minute? Could Microsoft have a bombshell to coincide with their US launch? Let us know in the comments.