While E3 is still blazing along with so much news our ethernet cables are catching fire, the important parts were yesterday and I look to dig into the main events that were the Press Conferences.
In part one, I give you my impressions of Microsoft’s conference with part two covering with EA & Ubisoft’s, and finally part three dedicated to Sony. Read more below to hear about Microsoft’s conference.
First out the gate was Microsoft and boy did they start the show. With special guest Hideo Kojima making an appearance and learning 7 (YES SEVEN) words in English Microsoft showed the world Metal Gear Solid V. This showed Microsoft meant business, after a hugely successful seventh generation of gaming which seen Sony lose pretty much all of it’s third party (and second party!) exclusives, Kojima standing on ‘the enemies’ stage must have hurt alot of Sony/MGS faithful. (Ask Snake-oo!) For me though, this was the first solid punch in my face from Microsoft for thinking they’d forgotten about the games. It didn’t matter that there wasn’t any exclusive content, whether you personally like it or not, the whole segment was a massive, massive deal for Microsoft.
With the first punch bruising my eye, they swing again… Showing us they’re still supporting the 360. A new design, and new games. And the bit we should have ALL seem coming. Microsoft’s version of PS+: two games a month, no extra cost. Win for customers.
Games, the reason we’re all here. And from that point on, Microsoft didn’t stop showing us games. New games, and exclusive games. Without listing the games, there wasn’t really anything that made me get excited. From Ryse to Titan Fall; nothing really impressed me. And I know I’m gonna get some hate for this so I’d love to hear what make you excited because, to me, none of the new games have given us anything special. A stand out experience that didn’t just look pretty but gave me something new. However, this is a criticism I’ll also past on to Sony in part three. I have to applaud Microsoft for their efforts with new IP’s. For a company with so little creative talent (in the form of video game studios), they really did pump us with new games.
Microsoft continued their assault on the Playstation faithful by bringing out the saving grace studio for PS3 during it’s first couple of years, Insomniac Games. I must admit, from the trailer shown for Sunset Overdrive; I wasn’t particularly impressed. While like many others, I feel Insomniac have dropped the ball in recent years, we shouldn’t underestimate them and I think next-gen they’ll dust themselves off and start fresh.
Prediction for the future: Watch Insomniac Games’ Space.
Convergence and Quantum Break…
The one game I do like the sound of, is Quantum Break. This could be the Halo of Next-Gen. Its fresh, it’s unique and has potential. I can’t wait to hear more about this game. Done correctly, this game should move consoles. I believe this is because, for the first time; the convergence effect is coming from a single organisation. By this I mean the game and the TV series are both being created under the same corporation, with the same intentions. I think where games/tv series like Defiance has failed is because of its divided creative strategy. For such high-concepts to work (media crossovers), there needs to be a solitary visionary and I think thats what Quantum Break has. This can become its own new medium of entertainment, and if Microsoft get this right they really will have a money maker on their hands. It’s not difficult to see Microsoft envisioning this concept as the future of gaming, is it? After all, the Xbox One is (supposedly) the home of all your entertainment, so why doesn’t it all entwine? Be Excited.
A new Microsoft or a reflective one?
However, as Microsoft continued to churn out video games, I actually felt something was missing. Microsoft for the past few E3′s have pushed the 360 as an all-in-one. Spending time on all aspects of entertainment. They didn’t do this, and this felt odd. This is what Sony does, not Microsoft. It’s clear they changed their battle plan because of the backlash they received but to almost pretend the Xbox One ONLY plays games didn’t feel like the company we’ve grown to appreciate.
XBL: ‘Innovation’ or ‘We can do it too?’
And this is where things started going downhill for me. After the Xbox One announcement event which forgot the games, Microsoft done a total 180 and showed nothing BUT games. Most people probably loved this but I don’t. I wanted to see how the Xbox One could enhance my entertainment as a whole (I’m sure there’s more than just the hour they showed three weeks ago). Or even a focus on Xbox Live. There doesn’t seem to be any new relaunch of the service. They touched on Smartglass 2, which seems to have the same functionality as Sony’s Playstation App. As well as other cloud-features that, again, replicated what Sony already announced such as video uploads. But for the last 7-8 years Microsoft have been the innovators in multiplayer experience. There were no innovations.
The Main Event
Finally, in came the news all of us were waiting for. Price and Dates. I actually found it interesting that Microsoft seem to be playing a dating game with Sony. Sony announced in February ‘Holiday 2013′, Microsoft announce ‘Late 2013′. Microsoft went first this time, but only gave us a MONTH. November 2013. Why? Because you can be damn sure if Sony announce November 2nd; Microsoft will say November 1st. I’ll bet my car Microsoft releases first, whether thats days, weeks or months – they’re dropping first.
The Xbox One will retail at $499. A price most of us feels acceptable for a next gen system, although Microsoft’s exchange rates to Europe/UK seem to be a long, long way off. Which is an issue I think will severely hurt Microsoft, they seem to be burning everyone outside of the States from both ends of the candle. Lacking features with inflated prices? Wheres the sense? In my opinion, the One should be cheaper in any foreign market that doesn’t support the key feature list: You wouldn’t buy an iPhone in North Korea when you can’t connect to the internet, would you? Why buy an all-in-one for a premium price when it isn’t an all-in-one? But back to the price itself. I don’t think Microsoft will have an issues shifting millions of these in the first few months in the US at $499.
Microsoft impressed the world. Gamers rejoiced and suddenly Microsoft and Xbox One became a serious contender for a day one pickup. EA and Ubisoft showed came out and gave us a reason to buy a Next Gen system. How and Why? Find out in part 2. And as the dust began to settle, Sony began flashing their laser lights. How has that effected Microsoft? Find out in part 3.
My-kal // Twitter: Mykal_uk // PSN: My-kal_UK