That humanity is why we get excited when something goes wrong at these big keynote events. When it comes amid a torrent of marketing lies and fake smiles, a snafu makes us perk up our ears. We sense that something real is happening, and that the person on stage will now have to be a person, like us, instead of a “so excited to be here” executive, like nobody. In a way, the “I’m fine” utterance was the first point at which we could perceive Patrick Söderlund to exist. He was talking to us.
“Talking to us” is an exception to the rule at Microsoft’s Xbox events. Their default mode is to address a demographic caricature who was born in a marketeer’s binder. That caricature, as far as I can tell, begins with a 20-something white male who only loves to shoot at things, except he also thinks magic knights are cool, just not as cool as the shooting. Plenty of those people exist, but the other thing about Mr. Demographic is that he just fell off the turnip truck. Everything is new and magical to him. When Mr. Demographic hears a developer of The Witcher 3 describe its “deep tactical combat, completely rebuilt from the ground up” with “state-of-the-art next-gen DX11 graphics,” Mr. Demographic does not feel like he is caught in a time loop of jargon that has been iterating since 1995. These phrases actually possess meaning to Microsoft’s imaginary friend!