As we all might remember, the introduction of the Xbox One was marked by three phrases: “TV,” “Call of Duty,” and “SPORTS!.” But while Microsoft stepped away from its plans publicly, it’s still on the charm offensive in private, and a big piece of the puzzle just leaked out.
Honestly, at this point, you can’t blame Microsoft for not completely scrapping a project that obviously has cost the company millions. But at the same time, this Bloomberg interview with Xbox Entertainment Studios president Nancy Tellem is just painful, and the money quote the coverage has generally pulled is telling for all the wrong reasons.
“Whether it’s from a game like Fable, or Age of Empires, or Gears of War, or Forza… or Halo,” Tellem said. “These are things that, frankly if we weren’t attached to Microsoft, everyone would yearn to have. It’s an amazing platform to work from.”
Yes, we’re sure Hollywood is desperate to make Forza, in light of how Need For Speed… uh… barely made its money back. We’re sure that will usher in a new video game movie era.
Sarcasm aside, we’re not knocking Microsoft’s original programming right out of the gate. If they’re willing to do it right, namely by hiring smart filmmakers and getting out of their way, they could have something special.
But they’ve also got a much harder push they need to make and we’re not sure they’re really aware of that. Original content on consoles is something of a hard sell by its very nature; your audience is limited by your hardware, albeit that’s less of a problem than Microsoft likely anticipated. It’s further limited by the built-in interest; unless Microsoft plans to torch consumer goodwill by cutting off other streaming services, it’s going to be harder to compete even on its own platform.
Also, to be honest, Microsoft, let’s just skip over the Age of Empires TV show, and give us a new Age of Empires game. In the end, that’s really why we buy game consoles in the first place.