With so much on the line, Microsoft looked to gain ground on Sony with a press conference at E3 2014 designed to focus on gaming. There had been much criticism of the system in regards to it not being a gaming first system and gamers have flocked to the cheaper and more powerful PS 4 system.
The aim was to get people excited about the Xbox One and the viability of it as a Next-Generation gaming platform but once again, Microsoft underwhelmed by featuring several non-exclusive titles and not showing much of interest in their exclusive titles aside from Halo which to me is not enough in and of itself to justify the purchase of a system.
They showed enough to make current owners happy but they will not be winning over many new fans with what they showed. I also noted how they were again big to tout first on Xbox for DLC and various games. I would wonder what would happen if they actually spent money to develop exclusives rather than paying to keep games away from gamers on other systems.
Microsoft has done a lot of backtracking after their previous p.r. flubs and opened the conference with Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, Forza, Evolve, and The latest Assassins Creed game before moving on to Dragon Age Inquisition. All were met with polite but fairly retrained responses from the assembled audience.
Nice enough titles expect for the fact that everyone aside from Forza is available on multiple platforms so nothing really to make you want to run out and get an Xbox One.
Sunset Overdrive looked good but the game is hardly a title that will motivate people to run out and purchase a system. It is more of a great one to have for current owners but not a motivating factor to purchase.
Created by Insomniac Games it looks fun but very much a poor man’s Infamous as it does not have the speed, graphics, and effects that made the game stand out but mimics the wall waking of the previous games. Honestly it looked like a mix of an Xbox 360 and a Nintendo game and one that could get old really fast and is far from a game changer based on this early look.
It does have an 8 player Chaos co-op mode which can help sell the game.
A Dead Rising 3 DLC was announced which was pretty much forgettable and it was followed by Harmonix who showed off Fantasia Music Evolved. Here is the big problem with this, as they have removed the Kinect from the system to entice people to buy so this and the Dance Central Spotlight download only game seems a bit late as this is what was needed earlier to help justify the inclusion of the Kinect at launch.
Fable Legends was up next and to be honest it seemed like more of the same again, while fun for fans of the series I saw nothing to get excited over or to make me want to have an Xbox One to play it.
The graphics and gameplay seemed very dated and not up to the current generation standards.
They did announce a multiplay beta in the fall.
Up next was the PC and Xbox One game Project Spark which features crafting and co-op in a multiplay setting. The graphics were ok but again, with it being on a PC why do I want to get an Xbox One to play this?
Up next was a side-scrolling game and Halo 5 Guardians The game looked good but all we saw was mostly cut scenes so as such there was not much to get excited over. They announced the master Chief collection which has all the Halo games in one remastered bundle.
For Hardcore Halo fans this is good news as it gives them lots of content and such but since the game is running on their original engines a 1080P 60FPS is really just marking time until Halo 5. It will have the Ridley Scott produced Halo: Nightfall included and will lead into Halo 5: Guardians which will go into Beta in December offering new game modes and features.
They promised a look at the game but only gave us more cut scenes so again its buy into the hype but we will not show you much.
2015 and beyond games were next and a side scroller, first on Xbox game that looked a lot like the free indy games we get to download on Playstation Plus. Not something I would want to spend $59.99 on.
A selection of fun but nothing spectacular indy games followed but since they will be coming to other systems I again fail to see any urgency for those who have not purchased an Xbox One to do so.
Only Hellraid by Techland seemed worthy of note to me and that looked very much like an Elder Scrolls clone.
A Tomb Raider game followed which is called Rise of the Tomb Raider which looks good but again, not an exclusive. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt was next and we saw an extended gameplay session. It looks nice but we have seen this and better with The Elder Scrolls V as far as I am concerned. Again the choice seemed odd as it is a multi-platform game and will likely look and play better on the Playstation 4 and the PC .
A fighting game called Phantom Dust was next and looked ok but not anything special.
The Division was next and looks good but again, a multi-system release which will likely look and play better on PS 4 and PC.
Scalebound was next and it is a Dragon and sword fighting game, fun but again not a reason to get a system for. The polite but quiet applause of the audience also showed how little excitement the audience had over what they had seen.
The cell shaded Crackdown was next and looked good but in a very retro way and while it is nice to see it back I am not sure if it is enough to push things over the top.
While Microsoft did better with this presentation then they have in the past they did not show any exclusives worth getting excited over Halo 5 is simply not enough. They focused way too much on games that are going to be available on other platforms so again they will be playing catchup to Sony unless they massively blow it later today.