Microsoft E3 Press Conference

Microsoft E3 Conference

The major Press Conference for Microsoft is over. While it had some pretty neat things in it, I thought it was rather bland and boring. There was a lot of talk about how powerful the system is and what it could do. Too much talk to be honest. Microsoft already dug themselves a deep hole to try and climb out of. This just seemed to smooth the walls to make it even harder for them to climb out of.

Microsoft kept pointing out how powerful the Xbox One is, when used with the Cloud. They kept on reiterating that over and over trying to drill it into our head. If Microsoft’s Cloud servers are down, then what? Will we still be able to play games? If I remember correctly, some of the games will be dependent on the Cloud to draw the background scenes. Again, if the Cloud is down, what happens to our games? I was really hoping that Microsoft would go into more detail about the console and how it will operate. Show us some real time offerings that the Cloud will bring. Instead they just decided to talk about it and how wonderful they think it is.

One of the big stories that is coming from the Microsoft conference isn’t really about the X1, or the games. It was the now famous “rape joke”. If you haven’t heard about this, I will explain what happened. A Producer for the game, Killer Instinct, was brought on stage to play a round against a Microsoft Community Manager. You can tell that she was getting really frustrated. This is what happened between them two:

Community Manager  “I can’t even block!” “You’re too fast!”

Producer  “Just let it happen, it’ll be over soon”

Community Manager  “You have a fight stick!”

Producer  “Wow, you like this!”

Community Manager  “No, I don’t like this!”

Read into that what you will. Was this planned on Microsoft’s part? I honestly really doubt it. I can’t imagine anyone allowing a script like this to go through, especially at a high end event such as E3. This was just one guy, getting over hyped about himself, who wasn’t thinking before speaking. Nothing else needs to be read into it. Unfortunately, for Microsoft, it did give them some additional bad press.

Before they got into X1 and the games on it, they announced that the 360 will be getting a facelift of sorts. It will have a new outer casing that will resemble the X1. Why this is needed I am not sure. I can understand making it smaller and more affordable but couldn’t they just use the current shell? I’m sure it would be cheaper to do that then to create a brand new one. Either way, the new 360 looks better then what the X1 does. It’s just a hunk of plastic with a slot in it. No design or anything to make someone want to look at it.

What about the games. Did they show anything? Was there actual gameplay or was it just a bunch of CGI trailers? A simple answer to those questions is, yes. There was a mixture of both. I’ll hit on a few of them that interest me the most.

The one I thought that stole the show was Ryse: Son of Rome. This is just one of the exclusives that the X1 will be getting. Ryse is a hack-n-slash type game, which for some reason, reminds me of the God of War series. Maybe it was the talk of Gods and the mini quick time events they showed. Never less it looked really good and brutal. Definitely this will a game I am going to keep my eye on.

Another exclusive that caught my eye was, Sunset Overdrive, from Insomniac. At first I was thinking it’s just a reboot to Jet Set Radio Future. As the CGI trailer spun along, it turned out to be much different. It followed, what I am assuming, is the main character jumping from building to building, sliding on a lunch room tray, sliding down a cable with a cane and shooting some enemies which reminded me of Clickers, from The Last of Us. It has a very cartoony look. From the animation down to the vibrant colors, it looks like a game that could be a quick, quirky romp.

Of course there was other games that was showcased for everyone. Those include Forza 5, Halo, Crimson Dragon, Titanfall, D4, Dead Rising 3, The Witcher 3 and Battlefield 4. Out of those the only one that I would be somewhat interested in is Dead Rising 3 and The Witcher 3. Everything else really didn’t impress me.

One of the cool things about Forza 5 is the ability of the game to race while you are not logged on. Microsoft is calling this a Driveatar. Basically what it does is remember the way you race and uploads that to the Cloud. It then pulls your driving style and competes with it against other people’s Driveatar, essentially earning you credits while you are away from the game. Pretty neat concept I might say. Again, if the Cloud is working correctly.

How embarrassed was Microsoft feeling after the X1 crashed twice during their press conference. The first time it crashed was during the Crimson Dragon demo. We could see the video but there was no sound. The second time was a lot more pronounced, right at the start of the Battlefield 4 presentation. The video had a hard time playing and then just stopped. They actually had to hold the conference up while they shut down the system and rebooted it. Let’s just hope that is not a sign of how stable the system is going to be. Hopefully it was just some early code that still needs to be tweaked.

The one set of things that Microsoft did not touch on is the whole used games aspect. I was really hoping they would go into more detail about this. Instead it was like they just picked up a rug and swept it under to hide their mess. Hoping that we would forget about the entire thing.

The other big news that most people wanted to know about was the price and the release date of the X1. We never really got a concrete release date besides November 2013. The price, an astonishing $499. That is not a good astonished either. Looks like this gen, Microsoft and Sony are doing a flip flop, while poor Nintendo is lying back trying to pick up any scarps those two drop.

Microsoft has finally wised up and decided to drop their Points economy. I have to say it is about damn time. When I had a 360, I hated going out to get a 1600 Point card and only actually use two or three hundred of it. I still have 400 Points that have been sitting there for years now.

It has also been announced that Xbox Live will now had out two free games for Gold members every month. The first two will be Assassin’s Creed 2 and Halo 3. I’m guessing they are trying to keep even with Sony’s PSN and their PS+ subscription. I think this is a good move as it will help people who are thinking about getting Gold to finally pick up a subscription. Plus it will allow people who haven’t tried a game or series before to give it a test run. If they like what they played, then they are more than likely to go out and buy more games in that series.

As of right now, I don’t see myself picking up a X1 at release. Something really big is going to have to happen that will convince me otherwise. I might just sit out for a little while and see what type of bugs this system will have. I still expect it to have problems with its three operating systems. Guess only time will tell. That time is coming up real soon.

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