Microsoft just resorted to honesty in a quite brilliant way | ZDNet

Bravo, Microsoft. Please try it more often.


Screenshot by ZDNet

Tech companies often have a lot to say.

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Much of the time, their words are bathed in so much deflection, misdirection, and gobbledygook that it’s hard to accept any of those words as having any true meaning.

I was therefore unreasonably uplifted to see Microsoft address some very important customers with a level of disarming honesty that I wish every tech company could embrace.

The subject at hand is a game called The Outer Worlds 2. Those who were entranced by the E3 2021 gamers paradise will surely be desperate to learn of its contents.

Microsoft, though, wanted to be peculiarly sincere about how far into development this game truly us.

So it released a trailer utterly devoid of details, yet full of self-deprecatory accuracy.

The mockery begins as all game trailers seem to, with a portentous voice offering: “We begin by hearing an old, wise-sounding voice and we see a quiet, peaceful setting. This will make our game seem big and important.”

Already, you know this game will be big and important, don’t you? The thing is, Microsoft hasn’t got around to really making it yet.

The ad shows a slow-motion shot of someone shooting — because gaming involves a lot of pleasure-filled shooting. The voice muses: “These slow-motion shots make everything seem cool and should bolster pre-sale numbers.”

Yes, viewers, Microsoft knows you very well.

The ad ratchets up the excited tension: “We see our hero, but only the silhouette because the developers haven’t finished the design. Or finished the story. Or finished any game play that’s actually ready to show.”

I confess to having spilled something of my drink at that line. Only to then hear this: “In fact, the only thing they’ve finished is the title.”

Were I still a gamer — and I ceased that practice when I became far too hooked — I’d already be so partial to this game that I’d instantly pre-order it.

Moreover, as a guiding principle, isn’t this communication method far more winning than so much of the transparent nonsense tech companies so often peddle?

I look forward to the next self-deprecatory Microsoft Surface ad.



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