Microsoft Conference Highlights

Microsoft kicked off E3 today with their press conference; they addressed the most glaring issue from their Xbox One announcement by showing us lots and lots of games—about 20 new games were touched on in their press conference.  And the price was announced for the system as well.

Microsoft did an impressive job of delivering on the games and showing trailer after trailer for the system—of course they failed to really address concerns of DRM, reselling games, the always on aspect of the console with mandatory Kinect. But if you can get past all these issues you will certainly have a system that (from a game lineup perspective) is a worthy successor to the Xbox 360.

The fan reaction has been mixed with Microsoft delivering a bounty of exclusives, some looking quite impressive, but a price point at $499—which feels about $100 too high for the current market. Just ask Nintendo about pricing a console correctly at launch.  Of course all of this will be put in perspective later today when Sony announces the PS4 so without further ado let’s hit the highlights of the conference!


Sticking it to Sony: Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain on the Xbox One (not exclusive)


I can’t wait to play this on the PS4!

Microsoft kicked off their conference with perhaps the most impressive looking game they’d show all day.  MGS5: The Phantom Pain is going to be open world and this graphically impressive trailer truly impressed.  FOX engine is impressive with even the smallest scrap of clothing blowing flawlessly in the wind, dynamic weather events, and a game world that looks truly alive.

The trailer kicked off in Afghanistan with—newly voiced by Kiefer Sutherland—Snake riding around on a horse.  Gameplay moments were displayed with Snake running around this new open world.  This all looked very impressive and this game may bring a lot of new fans into the MGS camp.  However, it is not an exclusive, and with a fan base that will likely stick to PS4, this trailer was not necessarily met with the fanfare it deserved.


Why are we talking about this?  New Xbox 360 with continued support


Microsoft announced that there are over a hundred new games in development for the Xbox 360, as well as a new Xbox 360 model available today.  (Except I can’t find it on any major online retailer)  This isn’t necessarily good news, as it’s only going to serve to confuse consumers in the marketplace about what system they should buy. And it does bring up the question: Am I supposed to have two Xbox systems hooked up to my TV at the same time?


Meh:  World of Tanks, Battlefield 4, No Call of Duty: Ghosts

Often seen on television commercials!

World of Tanks is coming to the Xbox 360.  Some people are going to care, but most have never heard of this game.

Battlefield 4 looks as beautiful as ever, but there were technical difficulties during the press conference and the game trailer was not terribly compelling. Not to mention it basically looked like a Call of Duty clone.  EA should focus on getting back to what made that franchise great instead of trying to match Activision blow for blow.

Call of Duty: Ghosts didn’t show up which is a bit surprising after the initial push made at the first Xbox One press conference.


Interesting: Project Spark

A game about creation, might this be Microsoft’s answer to LittleBigPlanet?  I’m not totally sure what this game is about, but the demo shown was unique and intuitive—the integration of Smart Glass actually makes sense for once, making creation even easier when drawing water and bridges and roads for the player-created city.  It finished with a trailer showing the game’s different possibilities including a space invaders knockoff all the way to what looked like a 3rd person fantasy game.

The potential here is great and this actually was perhaps the second most appealing part of the show to me, but this isn’t a system seller.


Exclusives that aren’t mind-blowing

Forza Motorsport is back. It looks beautiful and they had an absurdly expensive car on stage.  The dynamic AI that mimics real driver’s tendencies when you’re playing offline is pretty cool—if not kind of creepy.  That is until you get that one guy who loves to drive the tracks in reverse and crash everyone.

Ryse looks really pretty, but seems like a clunky wannabe God of War.  Quicktime events on every kill are a bad idea.

Sunset Overdrive is an Xbox One exclusive from Insomniac games (Ratchet and Clank) and it looks pretty but they won’t say much about the game so… moving on.

Now with better graphics!

Killer Instinct is back from Rare and it looks good. A minority of Nintendo diehards will be upset they won’t get this game, but they’ll get over it.  Microsoft did use this as an opportunity to show their partnership with Twitch TV, which is cool, but hardly unique to the system—with Sony announcing the same service with Ustream a while back.

Quantum Break is confusing. I have no idea what type of game this is going to be.  Is it 3rd person?  Is it a point-and-click adventure?  What we do know is it will have an integrated TV function.  That’s because live action acting associated with videogames screams quality.


Good Job on Scoring these, Microsoft: Titan Fall and Dead Rising 3

The guys from Infinity Ward that made Call of Duty what it is are now Respawn and this looks impressive

Titan Fall is from Respawn Entertainment formerly the brain trust that started Infinity Ward, best known for Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.  Titan Fall is an exclusive that looks to be Call of Duty meets Halo. The action looked responsive and snappy—reminiscent of Call of Duty.  However, this time there are giant mechs you can run around in while blowing stuff up.  The combat looked smooth—even though stepping in a mech really just seemed to mean there are bigger guns and more armor. But jumping out when it was about to blow up, landing on another mech, and taking it out looked great.  I will say though the graphics left something to be desired, as it’s not looking like a large improvement over the current generation.

Dead Rising 3 was visually impressive and a nice callback to an Xbox 360 exclusive that went multiplatform with the second iteration, but is now back to exclusive.  If you love zombie games this is probably for you. The world was impressive looking—both visually and creatively.  There were weapons everywhere in the demo and the main player was able to jump around the world with ease.  If you’re a fan of open world zombie action this is going to be the game for you.  I’d say the jury is still out as to whether or not this can truly be a system seller since Dead Rising, while popular, does not necessarily have the largest following.

Both of these games should fill a much-needed niche in the Xbox market and gives assurance that there will be games for the system in 2014.


Speaking of 2014:

Halo 2014  NAILED IT!

And its playable on the floor I guess?  Cool ,but isn’t Halo getting old?  At least this will bring the Xbox diehards back despite cost, privacy concerns, and DRM issues.


This wraps up BoomPopMedia’s highlight of the Microsoft’s E3 press conference.  Stay tuned for more coverage.