“Live Sports TV”
“Live sports TV and Skype!”
“TV on demand”
“Now here’s barely a glimpse of a new original game”
“Back to TV”
“Here’s a sequel to a racing game… just good old tradition to show off a racing game”
So the reveal was basically terrible. Only a couple of interesting aspects were raised, neither of which really have much to do with the console itself. First is Spielberg on board with a Halo series - hopefully using his Band Of Brothers production team. Second was Microsoft’s plan to put up thousands upon thousands of servers for online live TV streaming and gaming.
From the very beginning of the reveal things seemed to get off to a bad start for any gamer listening in. The fact that the console was tagged as an “entertainment system” created major alarm sounds for any hardcore gamer out there. This was then followed up by an exhaustive period of focusing on Live TV, TV on demand and using the voice recognition of the new Kinnect. And then we see Skype. Yey! Skype!… I don’t use Skype… I have a mobile phone. I have Facebook. I have Twitter. I used Skype once and it was in a work environment.
Anyway after this there seemed to be a focus on sports and sports games coming from EA (voted as either the worst company or one of the worst companies in America). Way to go Microsoft. The thing that annoyed me about EA is that they decided to be so ignorant as to say “only on Xbox” when we all know that they’ve sung this tune before and whatever is coming out on Xbox will make it’s way to other consoles, one way or another. I had no interest in what EA had to say - I’m not a sporty person and if I were, I would actually play the sports not “play” sports on a games console.
I think near this time in the reveal conference we got a glimpse at Remedy’s Quantum Break. The company behind the Alan Wake franchise. Did they show any gameplay like the introduction suggested? No. What was shown was live action cutscene mixed with pre-rendered cutscene mixed with some screenshots and all of it simply wasn’t that impressive or interesting. Some what of a back fire reveal.
Also revealed at some point was the next Forza. Typical next gen console reveal always needs a racing game. Something that shows off the graphics but holds very little interest. Plus graphics, in my books, is the visual representation of what’s on screen; the combination of both colour and textured imagery as well as animation and FX. Where might I ask is the animation in a racing game? The fact of the matter is, a racing game is a terrible example to show the power of a console and this was no exception. NEXT!
The absolute nail in the coffin (for the conference, not the console) was finishing with the next, tiresome, Call Of Duty game… so finishing on something original then? Trying their best to show off the power of next gen except failing miserably because the game looks about as good as Crysis 3 - a current generation title. COD fans will clearly be blinded by the inclusion of the ever-so-gimmicky “dog companion” they’ve now put into the game. “Wooooooow a dog…”…. brother, please. Also I wonder how many fans jumped up for an air punch when hearing that all DLC will be coming to Xbox first? Yeah “Xbox first”, which basically means Xbox first and then 2 weeks later, PS4 and WiiU (if it’s coming out for WiiU - I don’t know coz I don’t care).
Apart from the Halo TV series that has Spielberg’s involvement (or rather his name pasted on something somewhere) the only other thing that raised my eyebrow was the amount of servers Microsoft are putting up for online TV streaming and gaming. Of course it’s going to be great for online multiplayer FPS games like Halo - bigger maps for more people etc and obviously instant live TV like what was demonstrated. But what else could it mean? I’m no technical wizard at the end of the day and I don’t know if it’s possible or not with the amount of servers Microsoft now has but surely MMORPG’s aren’t far from becoming a much more obvious reality with such power? Considering how old World Of Warcraft is now and the fact that it has primarily been a Windows PC based game (not sure about its availability on Mac - can’t be bothered to look it up), surely its sequel is and has been in the works for some time? With all these servers, could it mean that developers have a safe future to develop MMORPG’s for XboxOne/ a games console? If so, Microsoft would use their servers and take a cut of the subscription fee which would mean big bucks. Just a thought but nothing more than that - my technical skills with regards to technology are basically bum fluff at the end of the day.
So what exactly has this new games console… sorry “entertainment system” got going for it? The fact is, not a lot. Microsoft should’ve come out fighting showing the power of the console with new and familiar games that truly push the limits of next gen. Instead they chose to push forward the gimmicky features the console has (or rather Kinnect has) and that’s about it. I really wanted to say that the conference was rushed and not planned well but it’s obvious that it was planned well and was in no way a retaliation to Sony’s PS4 reveal. Both companies it seems are aiming for different things and trying to dominate different markets, which is quite a surprise. Sony seem to want to put right what went wrong with the PS3 and developers, hoping to gain better and faster development with better and faster (although not by much) power. So in a sense, it’s all about the games with Sony. But rumours are that XboxOne will put a stop to the pre-owned sales, renting and lending that so many of us choose. Whilst not a favourable approach with gamers, developers will welcome this new decision and may consider the XboxOne over PS4 for such reasons despite console power and development time. Regardless, many gamers are surely now questioning Microsoft’s actual intent for the future of Xbox and where their commitment lies - is it with games or TV? Where does Microsoft want to be in next 10 years? - Behind the greatest games console there is or in control of how the world watches TV and films? Question is what’s bigger financially? TV or gaming?
Microsoft Execs have said that the XboxOne is still very much about gaming and they are probably shitting it a bit having the need to express that point. I guess we’ll see more at E3 as the next gen war really begins.