Can Microsoft’s Xbox Change Fans’ Opinions at E3?

With both the Sony (NYSE:SNE) PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) Xbox One unveiled, there’s finally a chance for gamers to voice their opinions. Unfortunately, it seems that neither company can get everything right.

At the Xbox One premiere event, the majority of the time was spent showing off how the gaming console could quickly switch between operations, like TV, movies, games, and the Internet, all through voice commands or physical gestures. In other words, most of the time was spent showing how the gaming console was something other than a gaming console.

Of course, it may be Microsoft’s goal to make the Xbox One the center of all media in consumers’ living rooms. Funneling all games, TV, movies, music, and services like Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) through the device could be the perfect way of achieving that goal. But, this approach might not satisfy one key consumer group.

Hardcore gamers have been a driving force behind the success of game consoles in the past. For that reason, console makers had to cater their devices to that demographic. The premiere event for the Xbox One didn’t seem to show hardcore gamers that Microsoft was thinking about them when it developed the machine. Only a few games were shown, a few more mentioned, and any displays of those games were brief and more focused on showing off the machine’s graphic performance than actually showing games.

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It might make sense for Microsoft to focus mostly on the console and what it can do at the premiere. Considering that one of the most popular conferences for the gaming industry, E3, was scheduled only a few weeks after the premiere, Microsoft was aware that games would be able to showcase prominently in due time. Hopefully, for Microsoft, hardcore gamers don’t get too upset about the premiere and let their opinions harden before E3.

The gaming conference is scheduled for June 11 to June 13. According to a spokeswoman for Microsoft, many game companies unveil their games just ahead of E3. So, the sentiment of hardcore games could quickly change after June 10.

As the PC industry has been on the decline, the Xbox business — part of the entertainment and devices unit — has become increasingly important for Microsoft. Fortunately, that unit is strong, as sales in the most recent quarter were up 56 percent year-on-year to $2.53 billion.

Interestingly enough, Sony ran into a problem similar to Microsoft’s but quite reversed. Some fans were upset that the PlayStation 4 didn’t seem to do enough with other forms of entertainment. So, while the Xbox One might appear to lack focus on games, the PlayStation 4 might be too focused on games.

It is important to start off on the right foot in this competition, because many consumers will only buy one console, waiting several years to buy the competing consoles — if at all. Whichever company has the most enticing console with the hottest game lineup early on can take the cake in the competition. The winner will also have more influence on the gaming industry while its console remains on top.

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Microsoft has already announced that it will have a number of exclusive games coming to the Xbox One, which is a useful tactic for ensuring consumers choose the Xbox over the PlayStation. However, it will still be critical for Microsoft to show that it has the right balance between games and other media with the Xbox One — otherwise Sony may win over the gaming crowd with the PlayStation 4, which features stronger gaming hardware.

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