I think by next year the tone will have changed to "where do we go from here?" but not in reaction to all the problems before launch. In 12 months time I would expect all the next gen consoles to either be rounding off the implementation of their advertised new features ( I'm guessing in the xbone's case the TV stuff etc.) and gearing up to react a little to how the consoles have been used. Lets face it, there is only so much you can predict about human behaviour and what will happen when excitable people and shiny new games consoles meet would stump a lot of people, especially with all the added extras this generation promises.
I know there is constant feedback now, but understanding it all, and coming up with new ways to act on it will take time and I suspect the end of year release orgy will give them a bit of cover to respond to whatever people have been doing. (On a personal side-note the idea of getting ready for, or seeing how the "every xbone can be a dev kit" idea is one of my highlights to come.)
This year, however, I expect there to be more public consciousness outside of the internet and forums than would be expected, if only because of what MS are aiming for. If you want to have an all-singing all-dancing one stop shop for every entertainment need, you need everyone to know. Regardless of where games come in people's priority list you can bet that the reaction that has spewed forth about the game requirements will have repercussions. Sure many people will be less excited about XboxID than I am, and many more won't give a second thought to what to do with Kinect, but the way the internet ate its young over the myriad of sticking points that cropped up will affect the launch.
Every new must-have tech release gets normal news coverage and while the successes and failures of each launch and subsequent teething problems aren't necessarily top news, this time there will be far more attention paid.
Normal news outlets were invited to the launch events alongside specialist outlets. Microsoft has just bought Nokia. Halo has made the leap to tablet gaming in what seems like the first tentative steps towards cross-platform integration and windows 8.1 can do everything, ever. MS aimed big and has a very small margin of error.
They wanted as wide an audience as possible and they've got one. While the reports in mainstream media won't get into the insightful, witty and often infuriating nitty-gritty that we get on sites like this, they will be aware of it and it will be reported, it's too good a story not too as it has largely been writing itself for months.
Whether that means a blind bit of notice will be taken is another matter entirely. I was reading a very interesting op-ed column the other day in which the author, a government minister and an opposition MP debated anther team consisting of the head of a policy think-tank, a government minister and, if I remember rightly, an MEP. The debate was designed to cover ,and try to link, a multitude of topics and used the EU as its starting point.
At the end of the debate, it was seemingly clear the author's pro-EU platform had had the better of the debate and he asked how many people would consider changing their position or looking at it more closely than before the debate. He got a tiny showing of hands.
While I will concede that the EU is not the next generation of console gaming, the point is that between was has been and what will be, despite the best efforts of everyone involved in the launches, long memories and personal desires could well fart in the general direction of well meaning console manufacturers. That does not mean there is unavoidable body blow coming at launch time though.
There is, I believe, too much at stake here for these issues not to come up again, but I suspect that much of that will be done by Microsoft. If they do it themselves then they can, possibly, get out in front of potential problems.
They need to talk up their products, they need to do so in a manner that sets them up for their long-term development strategy and the problems that have dogged them since the reveals will have to be dealt with. If done well, i.e. in such a way that learns from the PR shenanigans of earlier this year and possibly with the help of big developers chiming in, it can actually be presented in such a way that it won't hurt them too badly, certainly not to the extent that they will die. They do one final mea culpa and then stop harping on about it.
If they try and defend everything and spend another two month over the Christmas period trying to micro-manage everything they don't like that appears after the launch then they'll have defended nothing and will be stuck where they were before.
In fact, what could be taken away from them is the ability to move forward as they want to, their flexibility and resilience severely weakened by their inability to act decisively and on a far-reaching scale just once to cope with the final death-throes of these issues. It feels to me now that this only needs to be the time you stab hydra in the heart, rather than gearing up to take a few more swings at its head. If MS can do that they will be just fine.
@ Turtle: I hear what you're saying, games will make the console in the future, but right now, right when everything is up for grabs, I still feel that nothing will be off limits when it comes to deciding who does what, when, how and with whom.
Never mind what happens when it comes time to argue over what goes in where and when.
And for those of you with minds in the gutter, forshame gentle-people, forshame.