How the hell was this ever controversial?!

We look back at gaming's most debatable decisions

Why it caused such a stink

Known more for compiling spreadsheet data than making games with compelling headshots, there were few people who thought Microsoft would ever be able to win the hearts and minds of gamers. Holding a monopoly on the image of spoddy by peddling flight simulators and graphs for over a decade, Microsoft almost represented the anti console movement. And initial reactions from gamers on the software behemoth entering the industry were met with all the enthusiasm of Christmas being cancelled. Make no mistake; Microsoft had some job on their hands when they launched the Xbox in late 2001.

Above: For my next trick I'll turn this into a console that'll actually sell a unit in Japan

Uncompromisingly American (the original pads were ludicrously super-sized), ugly and hugely unpopular in Japan; the original Xbox took a while to get going. Despite eventually amassing a cracking collection of games the black brick wasn’t exactly kind to Bill’s change purse either, with Microsoft losing four billion dollars selling the machine. The signs, then, as they entered the next-gen market surprisingly early in winter 2005 with the Xbox 360, were far from assured.

Why it really wasn’t a big deal

It’s easy to look back and congratulate Microsoft for winning the industry over and becoming the hardcore console of choice. But, in reality, while they were always going to be successful at some things – Live was destined for success thanks to their experience with online infrastructure – the company had to work for it.

Above: Green quadrants may have been Photoshopped

If the original Xbox was just a costly test run to amass enough knowledge about theindustry to make the 360 succeed, then any losses were worth it. And since then they've single-handedly popularised online console gaming, secured the best library of exclusive titles ofthe generation, and, most importantly - and basically - identified their market and supplied them with great games.

Why it caused such a stink

The words ‘target’ and ‘footage’ were shoehorned into one infamous phrase mainly thanks to the 2005 E3 trailer for Guerilla’s FPS. Shamelessly cinematic and technically terrifying, it showed a vision of PS3 being a console powerful enough to make your dinner, walk your dog and stream a 60 man deathmatch at the same time. Not that we're all suspicious cynics, but, well, initial responses to the startlingly beautiful footage were understandably cynical.

Unsurprisingly, in January last year, the developers admitted that the E3 trailer wasn't in-game, but also denied deceiving anyone, as the footage was only ever meant to represent what Guerilla were aiming to create. Needless to say some gamers have never quite forgiven them.

Above: We can't have you fighting a post-apocalyptic war without a bit of a touch up

Why it really wasn’t a big deal

Because the real game still looks incredible. We recently compared the original target footage to the preview code - see for yourself in the video below. And we think Guerilla has come pretty darn close to what they originally promised. The game still looks stunning and it’s close enough to the 2005 trailer that any controversy should be forgotten. Still hot and bothered about the situation? Go outside and inhale some carbon dioxide. And maybe talk to a girl.

Jan 1, 2009

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