Posted June 10, 2013 by Amy in E3

Microsoft Press Conference: Initial Reactions


So, it’s here! E3 has come out of the chutes running, and press conference after press conference will fuel our rage and glee all week long. First up, Microsoft’s highly anticipated conference this morning. They said a few things we expected, less than we hoped, and all around fostered good feelings and bad. Let’s hear what the team has to say about it all.

Peter: I’ve just got home and am curious what I’ve missed. For some reason my friends on FB all seem to be saying “Killer Instinct!”, which I remember as a mediocre fighter on the SNES…

Adam: It’s now a mediocre fighter for the Xbox One :D You’ve not missed much. Metal Gear Solid V has gone open world and a bit Red Dead Redemption. World of Tanks is coming to the 360 and Minecraft is heading to the Xbox One (yes you read that right and yes that does seem a bit backwards).

Peter: I got home in time to say “wow! New Panzer Dragoon game!”… Except it’s not. Which is a shame, as I’m a big fan of that series (the most expensive game I own is a copy of Panzer Dragoon Saga for the Saturn; I should have got it when it came out…) Of the others I saw – Dead Rising 3 looks like it could be as fun as the others in the series. And that is a mixed complement – “as fun”, but having a bigger environment and the Smart Glass linking doesn’t make me feel there is anything of greater merit than the 360 titles.

Witcher 3… well, will there be an equivalent announcement for Sony later? It’s not an exclusive, so it seemed to be there to say “look! The Kinect is useful. Really.” Battlefield 4 had things blowing up. But otherwise, generic military shooters and generic. Below. Yes! Finally! A game that isn’t a sequel or at least following on from an established series! And roguelikes are cool. And moreso, they were brave enough to put a very basic looking game on screen, when everything else is about how much power the system has. Black Tusk Studios… a showreel. Fair enough. I look forward to hearing what original titles they can add.

Halo. No number. Why no number? Watching the trailer, my thought was how much like the Halo 3 one it was… But Halo on an Xbox system is a bit like saying “it will need electricity” – just that expected. X1 selling for $499/499 Euro/£429. Oh. I think they just blew it. Remember the Saturn? £399. The reaction from the public was “too expensive”; and this feels it too. There was also a murmur of dissent from the crowd when he said that – I don’t know if you heard it? He needed to cover a pause as people registered just how much it is. And the closer of Titanfall, looking to be a PvP based title. Could be fun; I initially thought it was a MechWarrior related title – those mechs/titans did have that style to them. But if it’s an original, no complaints there. The emphasis on footsoldiers instead of mech pilots on that kind of battlefield could be refreshing. But we’ll see). Anyone else have some immediate reaction to what was seen? (It’s a shame I missed so much of it).

Amy: $499? Ouch – can’t say I didn’t expect it though.

Dan: They have a solid lineup of launch titles, some really cool stuff from a lot of good canadian studios, and they’ve listened to what gamers want via the Killer Instinct remake and Crimson Dragon essentially being a new Panzer Dragoon (lets call a spade a spade, it’s a new PD title). They’ve also, without realizing it (or maybe), actually given a real justification for the “always-online” (and I knew this would come): for Forza (as a start, so shhh if you hate racing games) they have constantly updated and dynamically created AI, that is based on player-behaviour that is recorded from other players, compiled, and put into your game. So your opponents are constantly evolving, improving as you improve, etc.

Smart glass for some games was really cool, and Project Spark has me absolutely excited. Dead Rising 3 and BFwhatevernumberitisnow had me yawning: more of the same. The Glass integration with Dead Rising felt tacked on; a callable airstrike in a zombie game? Stupid, boring, yawn, next? The indie titles have me really excited. I LOVE roguelikes, and I LOVE Capy (go Toronto! WHOO!), so yeah. It has the same visual style as S:S&S, and Jim Guthrie is doing the music again? Sign me up. If anyone had reservations that the XBO wasn’t going to be focused on games, they SHOULD be convinced. FYI the Killer Instinct and Crimson Dragon are there because gamers have been clamouring for them for years.

Troy: I think the Microsoft delivered on the promise to focus on games, and a refreshing lack of Kinect focus, too, but I wish they addressed some of the concerns that enthusiasts are up in arms over. I did like the Xbox Gold status for everybody on the console rather than needing Gold memberships for each local accoun (at least that is how I understood it).  The integration with Twitch for immediate gameplay broadcast was cool, too. Some of the scripted banter during game demos was downright atrocious. And the technical glitches at the beginning of Battlefield 4 was a bit awkward.  Overall, thought it was decent. I look forward to seeing what Sony has, too.

Dan: I felt so bad for that guy. He even stuttered afterwards, he was so nervous/embarrassed.

Peter: I was surprised how hostile the crowd sounded during those technical stutters; I thought they’d have filled the audience exclusively with journalists and the die-hard fans. Yet there was a pause and I heard at least one voice shout “Xbox sucks!” Ouch.

Zeth: Was it me or did the crowd just go dead at the price announcement … The pause from the presenter and the silence was palpable.

I can’t say the price point surprised a lot of people, but I’m sure a good portion of the crowd was at least hoping for a smaller number. With Sony’s conference yet to be held, it’s a fair bet that gamers are waiting with bated breaths for their price as well. So what did you think? Was Microsoft’s conference a bust, or the best ever? Is the XboxOne a must purchase, or were you just not impressed enough to shell out at launch?


U.S. Senior Editor & Deputy EIC, @averyzoe on Twitter, mother of 5, gamer, reader, wife to @macanthony, and all-around bad-ass (no, not really)