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When the chips are down, the sales are staggering and the crowd is no longer on your side, there's only one thing left for you to do: make a commercial that says your product is the greatest thing to happen to mankind... ever.
The commercial is part of the new wave of media marketing from Microsoft to help promote the Xbox One. Technically, it's two commercials in one but you get to see them together in the video above. The first half is a guy in a concrete looking bathroom that looks like the Batcave-lite, where the action from Ryse is so “real” that it's cutting up the dude playing the game. That's just what anyone wants from their game... blistering cuts and bruises so that friends and family think there's all sorts of unsavory domestic abuse happening between you and your game console. That's not to mention that these cuts are happening in a game that can't even push 1080p. Ah, glorious realism at 900p... because it wasn't strong enough to hobble up the resolution by 180 lines.
The second part of the commercial is where things get surreal – as if bloody cuts from a game barely pushing 30 frames per second wasn't surreal enough. The clip starts with a soccer – football to the rest of the world – bit and then eventually starts rolling out quotes from top tier media publications and users alike.
Quotes are a fine thing to use in a commercial because it gives people a gauge on what others think about the product. The one quote that Microsoft decided to use for the commercial from Twitter user Nick Allain is the most absurd, where he wrote...
“The Xbox One is the greatest thing that's ever happened to mankind.”
Yes, because “Xbox Sign Off really is a much greater thing than sliced bread, roller skates and democracy. Well, I suppose that last one is up for debate. I'm also pretty sure that Allain's girlfriend would think batteries are a far more important thing to happen to mankind than the Xbox One... especially if that's where he's spending most of his time.
Overall the commercial kind of reeks of desperation. Right now Microsoft is trailing beyond Sony when it comes to concurrent sales, and they're leagues behind Nintendo when it comes to market share.
Beyond sales, the Xbox One also trails behind the PS4 when it comes to hardware performance, hence all the 720p'ism. So the commercial couldn't use any actual benchmarks or hardware comparisons to say that it's stronger or the most powerful home consoles, because it's not.
Microsoft has really ended up in a peculiar situation because they're now in third place, have weaker hardware than the PS4 and they're having a hard time finding a niche outside of the American football crowd. I'm curious to see what direction Microsoft takes with the console throughout 2014, because they certainly got off to a rocky start.