Published on July 21st, 2013 | by gareth0
Xbox One Has Brief Down Time at Comic Con 2013 Was Misinformation Plot to blame?
(Editors Note: People want to call me and have called me a liar over this story. I have been writing for over 25 years and I have never once fabricated a story. The facts are that I came to the booth early Saturday around 10:30 and saw no lines and that the Xbox One Demos were off. There was a panel/signing going on at the front of the booth and that is why I thought the systems were off. Two guys in line said no, they had some tech issues and they shut it down to try to fix it, same issues have popped up all weekend they told me. I went to the Sony booth, checked in with my rep and he also said we are loving their down time that is for sure. Two people in line told me the thing has been acting up. I then met Pallab and exchanged contact info. He is a tech journalist and he told me all about the tech issues at E3 and other issues. I asked if I could cite him, he said yes. So I had a journalist, three people in line at Sony, a rep at Sony, yes I know Bias, and two people in line at Microsoft confirm this. I saw the systems down with my own eyes and saw that they did come up later. But during the 45 minutes I was at the booth and at the Sony booth meeting with them, the demos were off the entire time. I again want to state that I thought it was due to the signings at the booth but numerous sources on site said it was a tech issue and I an confirm the systems were off but were restored later. So I do not see what part of this is a lie).
During our time in 2013 ,Comic Con international in San Diego we got more up close and personal time with the PlayStation 4, and the Xbox One gaming systems which run hand to give consumers their first look at the new machines. Previously the machines had only been available to members of the press and industry insiders and this marked the first time that the target audience was able to get up close and personal with the machines. Microsoft has been waging an uphill battle due to questions about the features of the new system as well as the controversial features it would require which of sense been abandoned in the face of overwhelming consumer complaints.
While the console attracted a good number of viewers initially this tapered off as the weekend went along. During my time at the convention I noticed that people waiting to play the new Xbox were fewer and fewer while Sony maintained a steady and busy flow of traffic during the entire show. I was ok with this as it gave me more time with the system. It was a fun experience but nothing new or earth shattering although I did enjoy Killer Instinct despite some issues. Mainly the background images on this and Ryse became annoying after a while as the foreground was well detailed but not so much the background which caused eyestrain to the person next to me.
A couple of reps told me in confidence that the Xbox One had been having issues with crashing throughout the weekend and that it was decided to shut down the systems until a solution could be determined. While most of the crashes were minor, at 10:30 AM on Saturday I arrived at the booth to find the demo systems powered down and a panel taking place. My first thought was that the systems had been shut down for the panel and signings. But with their later scheduled panel as well later that weekend where (Microsoft was big on promises but short on specifics. My wife will be writing the accompanying piece for that) but I found it very disturbing that at a high-caliber show such as this that the system would be plagued by stability and performance issues especially considering the overwhelming problems they had with the red ring of death on the previous console.
Later in the show I spoke to a technology reviewer, Pallab Chatterjee of Media and Entertainment Technologies who confirmed to me that during numerous attempted meetings at E3 the system crashed repeatedly thus explaining why the one-on-one meetings were ended. He confided to me that they had 6 to 7 attempts at meetings each time the hardware was unable to be stable enough to complete the demonstration and that the issues seem to remain at Comic Con as this had been an ongoing problem over the weekend. The systems were restored but the fact that the stability issues had arisen was a major concern for most gamers in attendance that we spoke with.
Making another visit to the Sony booth, it was confirmed to me by various people in the line as well as other sources, that the Xbox One had been having issues and as a result had been shut down from one-on-one access with consumers for a time. I had asked if this was related to the booth signings and was told that it was not. Gameplay was restored when I came by around 11:45 again but seeing the booth down at 10:30 on a Saturday as thousands of people flooded into the venue did not look good for Microsoft in my opinion as if it was down for a panel/signing then perhaps some signage indicating that would be a good idea and letting people stay in line during this time so not to give the impression of an empty booth.
In light of the mounting issues surrounding the console and the wave of negative publicity one would’ve thought that Microsoft would’ve moved heaven and earth to ensure that they had a stable enough console that was capable of playing the games that were being demoed. This was not full on access to the features of the system, this was simply two games, killler Instinct and Ryse: Son of Rome being demoed which apparently was too much for the system in its current state to handle.
The buzz was that the system was not complete and had been rushed to its current state in order to attempt to compete with the PlayStation 4 which was receiving overwhelming praise during the convention from ever one that I spoke to.
With Pax Prime looming this could be the last chance for Microsoft to make good as it appears that Sony is quickly leaving them in their wake due to each public outing for the system resulting in some form of failure or public relations gaffe.
My take on it was that the system was down for the signing and some brief technical work but for some reason a campaign to spread stories about crashes and downtime was leaked to journalists as both myself and Pallab were told the same story but people lingering near the Microsoft booth. I spoke with some of my staffers and they said that the systems came back on just as the panel was starting. My wife was attending and will have a write up soon. I was off interviewing a director so could not attend. However it does seem odd does it not that people would spread rumors about the system being down for crashes and issues to the media?