The Xbox Series X gameplay reveal was a disappointment

Sean Carey - May 12th 2020

The recent Inside Xbox 20/20 stream was lacklustre. People from across the world tuned in to what Xbox described as a “first look” at Xbox Series X gameplay from third-party publishers and developers. However, there wasn’t much gameplay footage shown, which left the gaming world disappointed.

The reveal was supposed to be our first glimpse at what the Xbox Series X could really do — or so that’s what many of us thought. Expectations were set high — perhaps a little too high — and the hype train was full steam ahead. Aaron Greenberg subsequently came out and said Xbox had indeed “set some wrong expectations” for the event. When you say we can expect gameplay, funnily enough, people expect to see some substantial gameplay and not just cinematics.

A total of 13 games were announced for the Xbox Series X. While we did get some gameplay footage, was any of it (or the games) memorable? Sure, Bright Memory: Infinite looks great and is probably one of the highlights, but the rest haven’t stuck in my mind. Scorn seems impressive, but gameplay footage has been around for the horror title for a while now, and we only got a cinematic trailer instead of gameplay.

The stream needed a big game reveal or more on something already announced. Considering Xbox has partnered with CD Projekt Red on the likes of the limited edition Cyberpunk Xbox One console, we thought that there might be some more Cyberpunk 2077 gameplay shown running on the Series X. Of course, we now know that CD Projekt Red will be holding its own Cybperunk E3-style event in June, but nothing was stopping the developer from showing more here, too. We did get another look at Assassins Creed Valhalla, and while it looks to be game engine footage, it’s hard to tell whether this is representative of real gameplay.

Several of the games mentioned are also believed to be console exclusives to the Series X and Xbox One. The Medium, Second Extinction and Scorn are all thought to be exclusives or timed-exclusives to the Xbox platform. However, this only emerged after the stream and pieced together from various press releases. On Scorn’s Kickstarter Q&A page it clearly states that Scorn is exclusive to the Series X, but Microsoft failed to mention this during the stream. This is key information that could have perhaps persuaded more people over from the blue side and given existing Xbox fans more reasons to be excited.

While the exciting gameplay footage wasn’t there and some essential information was missing, Microsoft does need to be commended for the way it delivered its message. The stream was relatable and, at times, funny — which is hard for a corporation as large as Microsoft to pull off. The Series X joke with the fridge was a great way to open and close the episode. It’s just a shame what happened between those moments was disappointing. While what we saw was fine, the event could have been so much more.