E3 2013 will do gown as one of the most interesting case studies in corporate maneuvering in the history of the videogame business. The day started with mountains of fan excitement. People had gathered their information and drizzled their speculation sprinkles on top, waiting for Microsoft and Sony to show their wares. For the less initiated, E3 is the Super Bowl for gamers; or better yet our yearly World’s Fair. The place in which we get to hopefully have the “World of Tommorrow” moments that will show us what our favorite hobby will look and feel like in the years to come.
Day one of E3 provided many of those moments, both forgettable and not, leaving everyone in the gaming world abuzz with excitement and some wanting a way-back machine to recompose and rethink.
Microsoft, after coming off a three week public relations beatdown by gamers and press, had a lot to prove. Their restrictive DRM, online check-ins, and inability to share or purchase used games brought out all daggers and pitchforks from the community. The promise of games was supposed to satiate most and squelch some of the fires set at the last press conference. However, they lost so much good will with their backward thinking that I don’t know if anything but a complete reversal of policy would have made people forgive their past misstep. To their credit, Microsoft showed some damn awesome games. Metal Gear 5: The Phantom Pain and Quantum Break showed where the system wants to go with their future: big, robust titles that will show the power of the Xbox One.
Microsoft took some interesting risks as well with the games like Project Spark and Below. Both in my opinion reached out to that Indie-gamer base that the Xbox was sorely lacking in the current gen.
One of the bigger surprises of the night for them was the huge deal they inked with Twitch TV. Millions of gamers watch and interact with streamers on a daily basis. Being able to stream directly from your XO will be an amazing feature that many would-be stars will take advantage of. It will also be interesting to see if those who already have big followings on Twitch will be able to cash in somehow.
All that being said, the star of the show for Microsoft was TitanFall from Respawn. An immersive futuristic Call of Duty-esque game with the mech warfare included. Nimble “pilots” wall run and jetpack their ways around the battlefield while racking up XP points. The game looked fast, fluid, and extraordinarily fun. With the gameplay they showed, they gave folks a reason to buy their box–and then most of the good will was sucked out of the room when they dropped their $499 price tag.
Hesitant cheers filled the room when the number was spoken, and even slight groans could be heard in the background. I think even with all the bad news surrounding the XO, people could still see what the future held and were starting to rethink their position, but that price seemed to remove most of the benefits they showed during the conference. Or at least made die-hard Xbox fans willing to wait to see what Sony had to offer later that night.
Overall, Microsoft had a really good conference. The lack of apology for not listening to the fans in any way would have gone a long way toward rebuilding faith that the company wanted gamers to be happy. The lack of post-conference press questioning and no follow up left a bad taste in the mouths of many and set the stage for Sony to steal the night.
Sony had been waiting in the wings for awhile, and going last during the conference day would absolutely play into their favor. Microsoft had shown their hands and Sony could maneuver and adapt to the messaging provided by their rival. They started the ball rolling albeit slowly by setting the stage with PS3 and Vita software. Although many gamers are chomping at the bit to get to next-gen. Sony showed that there are some quality games coming down the pipe until the end of the year. Critically-acclaimed games like “The Last of Us” still bring about oohs and ahhs but people really wanted the new stuff.
A couple of minutes later the PS4 was revealed: a two-toned slanted box. An Xbox One with a methadone-addict lean. As you can see I’m not a fan of the design and think they went safe but I guess in the end the box’s looks don’t matter. What you can play on that box does and they showed some great upcoming titles like “The Order”, “infamous: Second Son” and many Indie titles that I’ll go into more detail in my “On My Radar” posts coming this week.
PS4’s biggest showing was Bungie’s game Destiny, the game looks gorgeous with expansive worlds. Awesome weapons and gameplay situations called “Public Events” that will add to experience by gathering large groups of players to take on community-timed challenges or enemies. The way it was implemented looked amazing and made me want that game now. Knowing Bungie’s background and ten year commitment, I think gamers on all platforms are in for a surprise.
Lots of great content was shown but the bombshells that everyone was waiting for were about to be dropped. Sony had been eerily quiet on the used game front especially after Microsoft went whole hog on the game lock-down stance. Rumors abounded that Sony would adopt the same policy of letting the publishers determine how used games would be dealt with and online connectivity “check-ins”. And with one fell swoop, Jack Trenton changed the landscape of the next gen universe by confirming that the PS4 wouldn’t adopt ANY of those previously discussed programs or policies. For good measure, Sony threw in a snarky instructional video showing how to share your games on the new system.
That wasn’t the final straw: a price tag of $399 garnered cheers and howls from the crowd and left many people slack-jawed that Sony undercut Microsoft by a full hundred dollars with the kind of hardware they were pushing. Social media streams blew up, people claimed new alliances with the PS4 and others deemed the XO DOA right out of the gate.
It was an interesting spectacle on many fronts. You don’t really see things like this from entertainment companies, especially during conferences held that closely together. It was refreshing, though, to see one company listen to its most ardent fans and–at least for that night–seem to understand what those consumers really wanted.
Huge kudos go out to the Sony team for being adaptive and not doubling down on stupid.
Some things you might have missed
- Your Xbox live subscription will carry over onto the XO
- An XO “Day One” sku will have a “Day One Achievement Code” and special controller
- No more MS Points, you can use real currency from your region
- XO will be released in November and you can preorder on Amazon now
- Kinect Sports Rivals will be a launch title
- Crimson Dragon will have Synchronous and Asynchronous gameplay.
- PS+ will carry over to your PS4 and Drive Club will be free to members
- You will need a PS+ subscription to play multiplayer games
- The system will come with a 500GB HD and you can swap it out for a bigger one
- A new headset will be available at or close to launch
Whew!! As you can see, the amount of information coming out is fast and furious, but I am on the case trying to bring you the most up-to-date information. Be sure to check out the “On My Radar” features this week, when we go more in-depth with some of the games from the show. Lots of trailers and thoughts coming so stick with us and let me know what questions you have. Tag your questions with #TSPe3!
Xbox enthusiasts were treated to some gorgeous sights and sounds on Monday night. Since the reveal of the Xbox One (XO) three weeks ago the clamoring for games have been loud and boisterous. Microsoft showed gamers a bunch of titles that are coming up for their next-gen system and here are the ones I found most compelling.
- A gorgeous, vibrant art style.
- Multiple user-created weapons or at least user inspired designs might be implemented.
- Seems to take place huge spaces with cool ways to traverse.
- Looks like gleeful destruction, tone of the game looks very light.
- Alan Wake style episodic format connected to a TV/online show.
- Real next –gen graphic leap.
- Looks like it will be really interesting with time manipulation story-telling.
- Can’t wait to see what gameplay will look like, if action oriented or more story based.
- Amazing sandbox for kids.
- Kinect and Smartglass capable.
- Looks like a great gateway for children to learn game creation.
- Wants to go head to head with Sony’s LittleBigPlanet
- I hope it’s not Xbox Exclusive although a great get on the indie front.
- Love the art and music from the Sword and Sworcery folks.
- Great logo and graphic design by Cory Schmitz (Sound Shapers)
- Already have a pedigree of putting out amazing games with immerse quirky stories
- MS killer app.
- Looked amazing, quick, responsive, everything you expect from a COD game (Respawn).
- Mechs looked really dope and super fun to control.
- Traversal looked really good and clean.
- Hopefully Mech/Human combat will be balanced.
This should be a pretty strong launch lineup when the Xbox One comes out later this year. I can’t wait to see what other treats they have up their sleeve.
What games perked your interest, are you buying a Xbox One at launch? Let us know what games you’d like to see on this list in the comments below!!
The new Xbox has been revealed to the world and it is clear at least for now that this new box is more about taking over your living room as a all-in-one media hub than it is about being the game machine we’ve all hoped it would be.
The Xbox One wants to be the Picture-in-Picture, live TV, Skype monster that you might have been waiting for but with a smattering of games announced at this presser we can only hope that E3 will provide the stage for games that we want.
Most of the Kinect functionality like “live switching” looked cool but gimmicky and not for mainstream gamers. I’m still not sold on voice commands for most of my console needs and going this route makes me want to see the interface and navigation even more.
Lots of unknown factors are still abound, backwards compatibility is a huge one and I wonder if the addition of a Blu-Ray drive might kill hopes for that. They might figure a cloud based solution but nothing has been discussed yet.
*UPDATE* – A Polygon.com article just relayed that message that backwards compatibility will NOT be in the Xbox One due to hardware architecture changes
Don Mattrick has killed the notion of the “always on” box in a interview shortly after the press conference with Geoff Keighley of Gametrailers.com but information popping up on Wired.com states that “secondhand players” will have to pay a fee to play games already purchased.
“Wired reports that game discs must first be installed onto the Xbox One and, if owners want to use the disc with a second account, that owner would be given the option to pay a fee and install the game from the disc. This suggests that, once installed, games may no longer require their discs.”
This sounds like a direct blow to the used market held by Gamestop and possibly Gamefly, and depending on the price of said fee could hurt gamers as well.
A couple of game announcements like a new Forza game & a new IP called Quantum Break by Remedy studios (formerly Infinity Ward head honchos) showed little and will presumably get more shine during the E3 conference.
EA Sports dropped some new info on all of their franchises with a montage of what graphical advancements have been made. It looked impressive but not overly so.
Also MS revealed that they will have their own version of the “share” functionality that Sony showed earlier this year. No snappy name as of yet but I’m sure it’s coming.
Overall, the presser was decent. The box physically doesn’t wow me and is HUGE, the services don’t jump out at me and we won’t see any games for another three weeks. I think they had a great chance to capitalize on the things Sony missed out on and they just didn’t hit the mark like I’d hoped.
We will continue to follow up on whatever new findings come about and share them with you once they drop, so continue to check out the site for updates and new news. It looks like E3 this year will have lots in store and hopefully some new and exciting games for all of us to salivate over.
Let us know what you thought of the conference, any takeaways you found interesting and also anything you are excited/disappointed about below!!
Here is the reveal video:
Here is the Press Release from MS that breaks down a bunch of the bits and pieces.
REDMOND, Wash. — May 21, 2013 — A new vision for the future comes to life today as Microsoft Corp. unveils Xbox One , the all-in-one gaming and entertainment system created for today and the next generation. At Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Wash., the company showcased how Xbox One puts you at the center of all your games, TV, movies, music, sports and Skype.
“Xbox One is designed to deliver a whole new generation of blockbuster games, television and entertainment in a powerful, all-in-one device,” said Don Mattrick, president, Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft. “Our unique, modern architecture brings simplicity to the living room and, for the first time ever, the ability to instantly switch across your games and entertainment.”
Introducing Xbox One
With Xbox One, games push the boundaries of realism, and TV obeys your commands. Say “Xbox On” to launch your personalized Xbox One Home screen, discover what is popular on TV or see friends’ latest gaming achievements all using the most natural interface — your voice. The more you interact with Xbox One, the more it gets to know you and learns what you like. Some of the breakthrough Xbox One features that put you at the center of your living room entertainment include the following:
• TV on Xbox One. Navigate and watch live TV from your cable, telco or satellite set-top box through your Xbox One. Microsoft is committed to bringing live TV through various solutions to all the markets where Xbox One will be available.
• Home. Turn on your entertainment system with two powerful words, “Xbox On,” and a custom-tailored Home dashboard welcomes you with your favorite games, TV and entertainment.
• Snap. Do two things at once on the biggest screen in your home. Use Snap to jump into a multiplayer battle while watching your favorite movie, talk with friends on Skype while watching live TV, or track your fantasy team on TV as you watch the big game and more.
• Skype for Xbox One. Specially designed for Xbox One, talk with friends on your TV in stunning HD, or for the first time ever, hold group Skype calls on your TV.
• Trending. Stay on top of what is hot on TV by discovering the entertainment that is popular among your friends, and see what is trending within the Xbox community.
• OneGuide.,  Find your favorite entertainment easily, searching by network, name or time, all with the sound of your voice and presented in a tailored program guide.
To create the most advanced Xbox system ever designed for games, TV and entertainment, Microsoft created a state-of-the-art gaming operating system and fused it with an equally amazing entertainment platform, so you will not have to switch inputs to watch TV or play a game. An eight-core, x86 processor and more than 5 billion transistors helps make lag and load times a thing of the past, so you can instantly jump between a game and your entertainment at lightning speed or run a host of apps right alongside your game with no loss in performance.Introducing Xbox One titles and exclusives
Gaming on Xbox One immerses gamers in cinematic worlds that look like real life, with characters that feel more human than ever before. AAA blockbuster titles unveiled for Xbox One include the following:
• “Forza Motorsport 5” from Turn 10 Studios is the latest edition of the highest-rated racing franchise of the past 10 years. Built from the ground up to take advantage of Xbox One and the infinite power of the cloud, no game better delivers the sensation of being behind the wheel. “Forza Motorsport 5” sets a new bar for racing games and will be available exclusively for Xbox One at launch.
• “Call of Duty: Ghosts” is the next generation of “Call of Duty” and a stunning leap forward for the franchise. It delivers an all-new world, an all-new cast of characters and an all-new story, built on a new, next-generation engine. The next-generation technical innovations built to support the incredible gameplay advancements make this the most beautiful and immersive “Call of Duty” experience yet. Activision and Microsoft also announced the renewal of their close partnership that will see both the return of the “Call of Duty® Championship,” presented by Xbox, as well as all-new downloadable content debuting first and exclusively on the Xbox platform.
• “FIFA 14,” “Madden NFL 25,” “NBA LIVE 14,” and “EA SPORTS UFC” from EA SPORTS will change the way consumers experience and play sports games. Driven by the new EA SPORTS Ignite engine, these new EA SPORTS games will deliver massive innovations in human intelligence, true player motion and living worlds. Adding to its commitment to Xbox One, EA SPORTS also announced the promise of exclusive content to be revealed in the coming months.
• “Quantum Break” from Remedy Entertainment is a revolutionary entertainment experience from the creators of “Max Payne” and “Alan Wake” that blurs the line between gaming and TV by integrating drama and gameplay into one seamless, uniquely immersive experience. How you play the game impacts the show, and the show informs how you play the game.
In addition to the amazing lineup of games coming to Xbox One, Microsoft unveiled exclusive content partnerships with some of the top names in TV, sports and entertainment.
• “Halo” television series. Award-winning filmmaker, director and producer, Steven Spielberg will executive-produce an original “Halo” live-action television series with exclusive interactive Xbox One content, created in partnership with 343 Industries and Xbox Entertainment Studios.
• National Football League (NFL). A multiyear, landmark partnership will deliver the ultimate interactive NFL television experiences for the next-generation Xbox One and leverage Microsoft devices and services to evolve both in-game and on the sideline. The NFL on Xbox will redefine broadcast experiences through innovations around Skype, Xbox SmartGlass and player-worn technology; add an all-new fantasy football solution for the biggest screen in the house; and create a personalized NFL destination only available on Xbox One.
Introducing a new generation of Xbox Live
Xbox One is built to amplify an all-new generation of Xbox Live that is more powerful, more personal and more intelligent. Unleashing the virtually unlimited power of the cloud makes everything more convenient and accessible, from allowing games to be installed in segments so that gameplay can start quickly to updates downloading in the background. Save and store your personalized profile, games and entertainment in the cloud to access them anytime, from any Xbox One console. In addition, existing Xbox Live Gold Membership for Xbox 360 will seamlessly carry over to Xbox One. Xbox Live takes you deeper into the games you love with all-new features.
• Smart Match. A new Smart Match matchmaking system virtually eliminates waiting in lobbies by estimating wait times and finding people you want to play with while you are enjoying other activities — reputation fundamentally matters and helps find best matches.
• Game DVR. A dedicated Game DVR captures and accesses your magic moments, all saved to the cloud. Along with sharing tools, you will have the most amazing bragging rights with Xbox Live.
• Living Games. Dynamic, living worlds evolve and improve the more you play, and advanced artificial intelligence can learn to play like you, so friends can play against your shadow.
• Expanded achievements. A new and expanded achievements system captures video of your epic moments, continues to grow a game’s achievements over time and rewards you in new ways, and your Gamerscore carries over from Xbox 360.
• Xbox SmartGlass. Xbox SmartGlass is natively part of the Xbox One platform, built in from the beginning with the ability to quickly render content directly onto your device, and now more devices can connect at one time for multiplayer and shared entertainment.
Introducing the Xbox One look and feel
New Xbox One hardware is sleek and modern and complements any décor. The console is shaped in the 16:9 aspect ratio and employs a horizontal orientation optimized for its high-speed Blu-ray™ disc player. It is molded in a deep and rich liquid black color and includes a distinctive beveled edge.
The completely redesigned, revolutionary 1080p Kinect is more precise, more responsive and more intuitive. Its unparalleled vision, motion and voice technology let you reach into games and entertainment like never before by dramatically expanding its field of view and fidelity. It works in nearly any lighting condition, recognizes precise motion control from a slight wrist rotation, and distinguishes your voice even in a noisy room using advanced noise isolation.
The class-leading Xbox controller is refreshed with more than 40 technical and design innovations. Updated directional pad, thumb stick and ergonomic fit immerse all gamers in ways that are uniquely Xbox, and precision and control have been dramatically increased with all new vibrating impulse triggers. The Xbox One Wireless Controller is designed to work in concert with the new Kinect, allowing the two to be paired automatically to create seamless player syncing.
Xbox One will launch in markets around the world later this year. Visit the new Xbox Wire blog athttp://news.xbox.com for in-depth features on the new system, including photos and videos from the unveiling event and new and rotating content from Xbox. More details about Xbox One and blockbuster games will be explored at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in June.
Xbox is Microsoft’s premier entertainment brand for the TV, phone, PC and tablet. In living rooms or on the go, Xbox is home to the best and broadest games, as well as one of the world’s largest libraries of movies, TV, music, and sports. Your favorite games, TV and entertainment come to life in new ways through the power of Kinect, Xbox SmartGlass, and Xbox Live, the world’s premier social entertainment network. More information about Xbox can be found online at http://www.xbox.com.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
Features and requirements are under development and may change prior to release. Available features and content may vary by country. Broadband Internet (ISP fees apply) and advanced TV hardware required. Games and media content sold separately. Xbox Live Gold Membership, paid subscription and other requirements apply for some Xbox Live features.
1 Live TV with Kinect navigation, Live TV with OneGuide, Trending, and NFL on Xbox available in U.S. at launch; anticipating global scale over time.
2 Kinect voice functionality only available in supported locales and languages.
3 At launch, Live TV will require a supported receiver device with HDMI output (sold separately).
4 Subject to geographical content restrictions.
5 Some Xbox Live content and features available on Xbox 360, including avatar content and some apps, are not available with Xbox Live on Xbox One.
6 In supported games.
*UPDATE 2* It looks like a story that just broke over at IGN states that the packed in Kinect will have to be attached to the Xbox One for it to function. Kids it just gets better. Here is the story
*UPDATE 3* a earlier story written on Wired.com discussing fees tied to used games has now been accused as false by Microsoft. Wired has edited their story but later on in he day another story run by Kotaku quoted Phil Harrison as saying indeed fees would be a part of the equation. This story was then disputed by a official Xbox support twitter account.
One thing is sure Microsoft need to wrangle in the messaging before E3 or the narrative will take its own shape. That will cause the next three weeks to be more about damage control and less about the reveal of their new system.