There’s no denying that the original reveal of the Xbox One console may not have worked out quite as Microsoft Studios had planned. Discussing what are seen as the supplementary features ahead of videogames was never going to be a smart move as far as the vocal minority are concerned, and while this may not have dampened the demand for the system amongst the mass market it hadn’t done the reputation of the console any favours. Today’s media briefing however, has changed all of this.
Of course, it was Microsoft Studios’ plan all along – Electronic Theatre has previously suggested that the debut of the console was for the mass market and the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) outing was aimed at the core demographic – and the console manufacturer was clearly right to do so. Pulling exclusives from every corner, big names and new intellectual properties (IP) and renovations of the Xbox LIVE service, this press conference was undoubtedly built for games and the videogames press, not the lowest common denominator of the average hardware-buying Joe.
Kicking things off with Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain was of course a great way to go. Some may suggest that this was the highpoint of the showcase, but to do so would clearly be missing the point: a hardcore Metal Gear Solid fan would believe it true, but the wider perspective would take into account that more than a dozen different titles were show. Even if only a handful of them appeal to you, that’s more than the Xbox One had last week. It’s more than it had a few hours ago.
Ryse: Son of Rome is the first Xbox One console exclusive revealed, having originally been announced as an Xbox Kinect title but not moved to the new system (seemingly without the usage of Kinect also). A live demo of the videogame on-stage lead to the reveal of the rebirth of Killer Instinct via a short teaser (which was followed later by a live demo of its own). These two titles alone would have offered enough to go on in previous years, but this isn’t just any E3; this is the E3 of a new generation.
Sunset Overdrive promotes the use of Xbox Live and the cloud services, Forza Motorsport 5 demonstrates that the new horsepower can be used to integrate more human experiences into traditional gameplay, Quantum Break looks stunning, D4 promises to redefine episodic experiences, Dead Rising 3 raised cheers as an Xbox One exclusive and Minecraft will be Minecraft. These are gameplay experiences that people want. These are gameplay experiences that gamers want.
Aside from the videogame reveals, Microsoft Studios confirmed that Xbox Live will get a few important renovations. Two free titles every month between now and November on Xbox 360, with the suggestion that this will continue on Xbox One, and the confirmation that a single Gold subscription will allow for all players in your household to use the online features. Well, most of them at least. The Friends List cap will also be removed entirely, and a partnership with Twitch allows plauyers to edit and upload their gameplay footage for broadcast through the new Upload Studio software.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Below, Battlefield 4 and its Second Assault map pack are used to bridge the gap between tech and finale, and then it’s the turn of the big guns. Halo and Titanfall close what has been a showcase designed purely for the videogames playing audience and aside from that poorly received price point it’s done a good job. The avoidance of digital rights management (DRM) and online demands was perhaps predictable, but as a presentation aimed at assuring gamers that the Xbox One will play videogames, Microsoft Studios did far better than most would have been expecting.