Well, Microsoft kicked off their conference with a bang by announcing the Xbox One S – the next step for the Xbox gaming console. Featuring improved hardware, 4K gaming support, a 40% smaller design and more, it will be launching in August for $299. If you missed the announcement video, you can find it below:
The gameplay for Gears of War 4 that followed afterwards was pretty, but didn’t really impact me or communicate a “next-gen” feel.
After that, the gameplay and announcements just kept coming. I think Microsoft definitely learned their lesson after last year, when Sony came out head and shoulders above them.
What was most concerning to me by the time the conference was over was that there seems to be a new trend in console development – tiered hardware. While the Xbox One, Xbox One S and the final announcement Project Scorpio are all intended to work together, it distinctly communicates a “Basic, Elite and Pro” level vibe.
On the one hand, it could be argued that technology is ramping up faster than in previous years, and so these hardware upgrades are necessary to keep great content flowing. That being said, developers have still barely tapped into the capabilities of the current generation. It seems like it’s too much, too soon, and may ultimately dissuade people from purchasing the “earlier” consoles while they wait for the penultimate version.
Still, with a heavy dose of gameplay and some pretty exciting game announcements, Microsoft definitely stepped up this year and delivered a thrilling conference. I’m excited to see what’s in store!
Microsoft had some interesting features this year. They started off strong with the Xbox One S, a slimmer, more powerful, and Cheaper version of the Xbox One. They moved into showcasing Xbox Play Anywhere, which was a reoccurring theme toting cross platform gameplay on the Console and Windows 10. Named titles: Gears of War, Forza, Killer Instinct, Battlefield, The Division, Final Fantasy, Minecraft, and other smaller titles making an appearance.
They’re sticking to the current hot topic of VR, but this didn’t compare to their announcement of HoloLens. It feels like they’re shoehorning in VR because everyone is doing VR. I wanted to see how Xbox was going to integrate with HoloLens, but I didn’t get that.
Finishing up, Microsoft IMMEDIATELY made the Xbox One S obsolete with their Announcement of Project Scorpio slated for End of 2017. They are saying that this console is going to be 4k and VR optimized, but The Xbox One hardware hasn’t been tested yet so it feels like a marketing ploy to have Tiered Software that can’t be played on lower end Xbox One consoles. We’ll have to wait for Next year though as there was only a small amount of information they would provide.
All said and done, it was a fairly Par year for Microsoft.
Frankly, Im kind of over these console upgrades. Its a relief to know that the industry is still following the same formula like they did for their last gen consoles though. Next Gen System then onto Next Gen System 2.0. I was afraid that we were getting entirely new systems, which seemed absurd to me because this current generation of consoles is a whole whopping 3 years old. As stated before, Im not the biggest supporter of constantly upgrading my gaming consoles–but its comforting to know that One S is simply just an upgraded version of the One. The games will run the same, and gamers who arent willing to dish out additional funds for an upgraded system will not be entirely robbed of an gaming experience.
Kudos to Microsoft for really pushing their “cross platform,” agenda….because….This kind of forces me to either get an One S OR upgrade to Windows 10—something that Ive been delaying for a long long long time. Im a huge Gears of Wars fan and the fact that Gears of War 4 is part of this cross platform promotion is helping me along for the transition. I dont have to own an Xbox One, but if Im able to get one of my favorite franchises on the PC–which was honestly robbed from us PC gamers–Im a very happy camper. Safe to say, one of my highlights of this presentation was Gears of Wars 4.
What stole the show for me though was We Happy Few. Oh. My. God. That game play was amazing! The storyline is already gripping me and I NEED to know more about this video game. I was talking with another blog member and we were already considering different possibility and scenarios within the game, game mechanics, how it would work what kind of situations we could find ourselves in. My excitement is real for We Happy Few. Just remember to keep taking your Joy and dont be a downer.
Im currently sitting on the fence for ScaleBound – the game concept is right up my alley, but the demo looked extremely rough today. This game could be amazing, or just amazingly cheesy. It all depends on how well it cleans up. Sea of Thieves also caught my attention; I enjoy the cartoonish design and I love the idea of of having a crew of players work together to wreck other crews. I look forward to seeing more footage from both games.
As for the rest of the game reveals and news during this presentation? My attention wasnt there. Tell me when Microsoft isnt releasing another Halo installment, that would be more surprising news. None of the games were new reveals, or the trailers didnt seem to spark a fire of fandom in me. Oh wow, Akuma in Tekken! Additional character in Killer Instinct! All news that I could have read in quick snips over the internet. I didnt need this to take up time during E3.
Overall though, Microsft’s E3 presentation seemed to be lacking in some wow factor and was pretty awkward to watch. Everyone is scripted at these events, but this year’s presenters made it painfully obvious….and just as painful to watch.