So the biggest gaming news of the week was the big MTV Xbox 360 unveiling. LIke most people, I found it to be totally vapid and lame. (If you didn’t catch it, there are torrents out there) For those looking for more substance, there is the ourcolony video as well as tons of other previews.
This makes me wonder why Microsoft (oops, I’m sorry, I mean Micro$oft!) is doing it this way. What seems to be going on is a dual pronged launch. The MTV for the mainstream people and the online stuff for the hardcore. However, I can’t imagine that the MTV special got anyone excited. It was the exact same thing as the SpikeTV Videogame Awards — a great example of people who don’t play videogames trying ever so hard to make videogames cool. The similarities were striking. The same big warehouse that was dimly lit with laser beams flashing, the same lack of actual videogame content, and many of the same b-grade celebrities. Wow, Elijah Wood plays videogames! (While I loved the Lord of the Rings movies, is there anyone that would describe Elijiah Wood as cool??) This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone since MTV and SpikeTV are both owned by Viacom.
While this might make the case against media consolidation as well as the case that corporations are full of incompetent people, it also brings us back to Microsoft. If there is any company that is less cool or less sexy than Microsoft, I can’t imagine what it is. However, even Microsoft must have realized that this MTV thing wasn’t going to satisfy gamers, so they hedged their bets with Our Colony. But if you go to google news and search for Xbox, you’ll get lots of hits, but not much coverage from mainstream media. Perhaps the real coverage will come next week with E3, but right now, it doesn’t seem like the mainstream media cares. Is Microsoft just throwing money out the window with this then? Sure, they can afford to, but is any of this working? Gamers online are excited about it, but does anyone else care?
I’ve got no thesis statement. I’ve got not real point here, but the vapid wasteland of the MTV spot combined with the more substantial our colony video as well as the near-astroturfing of the gaming sites makes for interesting advertising. Is it significant the an online video that is only a few minutes long seems to be much better received and much more news worthy than a 30 minute program on MTV? Who knows. But it sure is interesting to kick back and see the hype unfold. The real test will be on the day the Xbox 360 goes on sale.