So here we are, after the not-so-subtle announcement of Microsoft planning to do their reveal in May things have been up in the air for Microsoft. Will they show off their software before E3? Or will they just play it safe? Well as it turns out they did play it safe, but at the cost of alienating some or most viewers from their conference. I know this isn’t a very appropriate way to begin things, but since the coffee just started to kick in I may wind up going on a tangent at some point.
Things begin as usual with any one of these Microsoft press conferences, you see a clip of a happy family who look like they just came straight out of a JCPenny’s ad. Afterward we shift into full gear as we transition to the reveal of ‘Xbox One’, a new start, or to be more technical a ‘reboot’ to the system. And man did it look fine, the system was shaped like a classy VHS box, the controller had this nice polished retro look to it, and even the Kinect looked good on it. It grabbed my attention and made me excited to see what they were going to show afterward.
Next up we were shown how Kinect has integrated with ‘Xbox One’ by having the host give a demonstration through voice commands. Not only was this proof that our version of ‘Skynet’ was being developed through the form of a Wii knock-off, but it was also one of the segments that lasted a little too long. I don’t think I even need to linger on this much, so basically if you seen any of the previous E3 conferences you know that Microsoft was planning for Kinect to be used as a navigation tool through voice commands. If you didn’t know, well, I just said it right there, the only difference here is that you can now flip to televison, television, television, music, oh and more television. Did I mentioned that television played an important part in that conference?
And then there was the confirmation, I mean, reveal for Skype being used on Xbox One (I really do not want to keep saying that). It was somewhat of a less complex interface than the current one people use on their phones or computers, but to be fair we still don’t know a whole lot. Moving on from a mildly interesting point to an entirely predictable and non-interesting point were the sports titles. The models looked shiny, alright in all seriousness the segment was about displaying the high resolution textures and technology used to capture the perfect sports game, so to speak. Oh and I should mention that the sports and TV segment took up a good chunk of time in the press conference, but whatever!
Eventually they pulled out the PowerPoint presentations, saying how they now integrated Blu-Ray, improved the Kinect, and something-something Smart Glass (does anyone even care?!). It was like when Sony showed off the specs for their hardware, except much less thrilling when you realized that Sony swapping out their processor for a PC-like drive was something be gained from. This was just forgettable and not to mention…where were the games?!
Luckily my wish was granted in the form of more sports games! Even better were the racing games on top of that – sorry, not even my sarcasm can ascend that far. What was interesting to note and to bluntly put it, stupid, was how instead of presenting actual demo’s they decided to present trailers. Not only were they trailers, but some were even ‘pre-rendered’ and didn’t show any semblance of gameplay. Sure there was the promise of 15 exclusive Xbox One titles, 8 of which were supposedly new IP’s (though my guess is that they’re mostly indie games), but they didn’t even show off one of those new IP’s so I’m going to brush over this just like Microsoft brushed over their games.
Next up was the milking of the 5-starred cow, also known as Halo, by announcing a new TV series co-produced by 343 Studios and Steven Spielberg. Another point of interest that would soon be forgotten, because what happened afterward was one of the biggest disappointing build-ups I seen in a while. And that was the reveal of ‘Call of Duty: Ghosts‘, which even if it was a reveal it still would have been bullshit otherwise because everyone knows that Activision was already preparing for another Call of Duty! The good news though; you get a dog. Bad news, that was the end of the conference.
Never before have I ever felt this way, disgusted. I mean I always do feel like conferences can go on for too long, and at the end of the day why bother sitting through them when you can just wait for the announcements to appear on major gaming media facets? But this one right here got to me, due to how safe they played it, how much they lingered on segments that didn’t need to be lingered on, and most importantly forgetting the goddamn games! Just recently I read an article from Wired that had a lot of juicy details about ‘Xbox One’, but one thing I absolutely disagreed on is this:
“Meanwhile, perhaps Microsoft has read which way the wind is blowing and realizes that a gaming-only box just isn’t going to cut it anymore. Maybe even gamers want more than games. Last I checked, we care about Game of Thrones, too.“
– Chris Kohler, Wired.com, How Xbox One Plans to Fight Sony, Steam, and Everything Else
The main reason why people go out to buy these systems is for the games. Sure there are times when some people do buy these systems to play Blu-Ray discs or other feature like that, but the majority of people who buy these systems want to play their videogames. Oh you’re giving me Netflix, and now ESPN along with Kinect voice integration? Great, how about making some fucking games for my ‘videogame’ system! You know, the one that was marketed as a gaming platform!
Also before someone points the finger at me and declares that I am a ‘Sony fanboy’, yeah, I have an Xbox 360 in my room and I constantly play on it all the time. In fact I find it disconcerting at times when I do try to play on my PS3 because of the menu layout. I’ve even pointed out the flaws with the PS3’s processor and how it’s much more difficult to run games on that than on the Xbox 360. However this right here was just every Microsoft cliche rolled into a ball sprinkled with major bullshit on top of it.
Although before I do end this on a very, eh, passionate note I will say that it is best to see what’s happening at E3. Not to say that I’m gonna give Microsoft a complete pass on this, but let’s see what’s going on with the developers (all 2 or 3 of them) at this years biggest gaming expo. That’s the one positive thing I’ll say, at least we got some games to look forward to at this years E3.
Anyway, I need cool myself off and prepare in case the Kinect decides to become self aware and take over the entire world. It may not know what it’s doing when I’m playing ‘Steel Battalion’, but it is watching…everything.