The Xbox Series X showcase was disappointing and Microsoft knows it

Assassin's Creed: Valhalla
Ubisoft (Image credit: Ubisoft)

The first Xbox Series X gameplay reveal event was a bit of a miss for Microsoft – especially since some trailers showed more cutscenes than actual gameplay. A day later, the Head of Marketing at Xbox admitted in a tweet that they had set ‘some wrong expectations’ for the day’s content.

Fans had been expecting to see footage showing off the power of the upcoming console, but the gameplay shown was simulated based on what they should look like on the Xbox Series X. But videos for big-ticket games like Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla didn’t even show that much, resorting to what looked like cutscenes. 

Fans weren’t happy, taking to Twitter and downvoting the stream’s official YouTube video 23,000 times (against 19,000 upvotes). Xbox games marketing general manager Aaron Greenberg responded to one such tweet by noting that reactions might have been different if they’d just shown off an ‘Inside Xbox’ video without preamble, and admitted they’d set ‘some wrong expectations & that’s on us.’

As Greenberg pointed out, gameplay was just one of the things promised in the Inside Xbox video alongside trailers and sneak peeks – which, collectively, the stream delivered. But given the absence of footage showing how games will look on the Xbox Series X, fans were clearly anticipating more.

The first of many streams to come

Fortunately, this is just the first event in an announced season of reveals, with new trailer roundups coming on a monthly basis. It would be surprising if Microsoft didn’t bow to fan frustration and release more gameplay in the next one: ‘We appreciate all the feedback & can assure you we will take it all in & learn as a team,’  Greenberg noted in his tweet.

Nor is he the only game lead promising more to come: Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla creative director Ashraf Ismail admitted in a tweet that ‘You rightfully expected to see more today’ before assuring more in-depth gameplay and info would be shared during the long marketing campaign ahead.

It’s unclear when we’ll see more from the games shown off in this third party-focused Inside Xbox video; the next one will focus on first-party titles headed to the Xbox Series X, like Halo Infinite. Whether that stream will show off the upcoming console’s capabilities is still uncertain – the high-performance features like 4K resolution and up to 120 frames per second are a bit harder to show off on a compressed YouTube or Twitch video, as Polygon pointed out.

David Lumb

David is now a mobile reporter at Cnet. Formerly Mobile Editor, US for TechRadar, he covered phones, tablets, and wearables. He still thinks the iPhone 4 is the best-looking smartphone ever made. He's most interested in technology, gaming and culture – and where they overlap and change our lives. His current beat explores how our on-the-go existence is affected by new gadgets, carrier coverage expansions, and corporate strategy shifts.