Much has been made about one nasty rumor Microsoft has had to contend with in the past week or so. If you don’t remember, a NeoGAF forum member, one who has proven themselves to deliver trustworthy information in the past, told the world of a possible strategy by Microsoft to pay off third-party publishers to show their wares as Xbox One titles during their E3 2013 presentations.
I’ve talked to more people since then though and this isn’t the usual jostling for publishers on stage that happens at E3. Microsoft is throwing BIG money around to reverse course on idea that they aren’t a games console. The rumors are that PS4 versions of multiplats, by those who do take the money, won’t be shown AT ALL. Not on stage and not on the show floor.
Something like that isn’t outside the realm of possibility and is totally believable, but it’s only a rumor so there wasn’t much to say in regards to the allegations. Today’s latest developments might not be perfect proof of any of that, but it’s worth noting anyway. Amazon has published a section in its Video Games carousel titled “Xbox One at E3, Sponsored by Microsoft.”
Immediately, we know one thing is true — Microsoft is paying to be a “sponsor” for an unbiased retailer. That doesn’t say anything regarding publishers, but it’s telling to a degree. Clicking the link takes you to a page listing the Xbox One itself and a couple of Xbox One-exclusive titles. Considering we haven’t heard from any of the third-party publishers or console manufacturers yet we suspect this page will be updated with more games as the day goes on.
It should be clear whether or not this rumor holds any legs by the time Sony finishes their press conference later tonight. It’s possible that Microsoft was only able to entice a few publishers to show off certain titles as Xbox One games, so even if a lot of them are shown as Playstation 4 games the book on this won’t be fully closed. Who knows? We may never find out whether or not this rumor was true.
But why is this so important? Well, for starters, it would show that Microsoft is willing to throw money at a growing problem right now — PR hell. With the latest round of information regarding their used games, always online and DRM policies, Microsoft has taken a beating in the public eye by both media and gamers.
Many have written the console off, and are instead seeking refuge with Sony with high hopes that the Japanese manufacturer doesn’t go along the same route Microsoft has. Perhaps the best way for Microsoft to bolster the Xbox One’s worth in the eyes of the common consumer is by getting publishers to show their newest games as Xbox One titles, which would give the illusion that the Xbox One is getting many titles that the PS4 isn’t. That won’t fool us hardcore gamers, of course, but some of the ignorant masses might fall right into such a trap.
Whatever the case may be, we’ll be at E3 to see just how much “support” Microsoft really has from third-party publishers. Be sure to stick around for our continued coverage of the show throughout the week, including all the latest from Microsoft’s keynote starting at 12:30PM Eastern time. Let us know how you feel about this possible money-fueled strategy in the comments below!