The Xbox Media Briefing for this year is done and dusted, and you can catch up on all of the Xbox E3 news here. We'll have a detailed Game Buzz for you tomorrow, dealing with all of the reveals from today, but here are some immediate reactions from the team and the community on Microsoft's presser...
Well, we got what we wanted: an E3 event that went heavy on the games. After courting everyone but the gamers in their Xbox Reveal just a couple of weeks ago, Microsoft focused their attentions on the gaming faithful with a strong showing that rattled off exclusives in rapid fashion.
We got Killer Instinct and a long look at Crytek's Ryse, and openingg with Metal Gear Solid V was excellent, even if it won't be an exclusive. Master Chief returned and Microsoft did well to have DICE step out onto the stage, even if tech support took that moment to go on break.
But by far the most interesting points of the show for me came in the form of the little tease about Xbox LIVE Gold, though it is to be hoped that MS do better job of giving out games than relying on old, obsolete titles; Project Spark, which skilfully wove together the disparate parts of the Xbox experience (Kinect, SmartGlass etc.), was bursting with potential, and will surely be a massive draw for (another huge partnership) Twitch integration; and Sunset Overdrive. Hopefully Insomniac's natural creativity won't be stifled this time as it was (we suspect) with
I'm a massive closet bro. I love Halo and sports. I do. So seeing Master Chief sent a little shiver down my fanboy spine. Also, Forza is the best racing IP on the planet. And that includes GT.
But that price. £429 is a lot of money. That includes our obscene VAT rate, of course, but even so. Remember how the Playstation beat the Saturn? If Sony can undercut the Xbone by £50 or more, Microsoft will have an uphill battle on their hands, particularly if they can't squeeze more value out of Xbox LIVE Gold.
Microsoft certainly delivered on their promise of being "all about the games." Alongside that expert teaser for Halo: The Ragtag Mech Adventures (or whatever they decide to call it), we saw a new title from Capy Games - Below - and a potential game-changer in Project Spark. That should probably read 'game maker,' since this brave cross-platform project plans to let us design and create our own titles on Xbox One and PC, sharing our designs to the cloud for others to enjoy or improve. We've been clamouring for new things, so this fit the bill perfectly.
Quantum Break also looked rather tasty, as did Respawn's Titanfall, but I found it difficult to stay awake during the Battlefield 4, Ryse and Dead Rising 3 presentations. This is supposed to be the NEXT generation, not another murky trip to brown town and the same games we've seen for years. Still, here's hoping that Insomniac can get their groove back with Sunset Overdrive.
So... £429. That's not far off the £399 estimates, but our 20% VAT is shafting us once again. Remember that the $499 US figure won't include sales tax though. It probably won't make you feel much better, but hey, every little helps.
Impressions? To be honest, I'm not sure I'm particularly excited. This could be down to jadedness, but I didn't feel any of the exhilaration and the rush of emotions following the Xbox 360 and PS3 reveals all those years ago. Personally, I hope that we get more new, radical and awesome titles to sink our teeth into at the start of a new age of console gaming. "Xbox, it's all to play for."
There were a number of hits and misses with Microsoft's presser, but the news of free games coming to Xbox Live Gold was a welcome move... even if the games were played by everyone and their dog years ago. Ryse and Dead Rising 3 did nothing to impress me thanks to what came across as clunky controls and rather bland settings respectively, but Project Spark managed to pique my curiosity, Sunset Overdrive was a welcome surprise (although Insomniac need to deliver a fun game this time) and seeing Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain’s open world at the top of the show was impressive stuff.
That said, Titanfall really was the best choice the end the show - fluid FPS action with huge freakin' mechs that should be a huge exclusive for the Xbone. Yes, we had to sit through some horrible scripted sequences with the on-stage developers, but overall I felt Microsoft had done a decent job in winning back some support... until that price point announcement, anyway. £429 is a huge ask when Xbox Live Gold will still be part of proceedings, and that's with no mention of games bundled with the console.
Still, more Halo is on the way, and I’m fairly sure they only used the word “television” once... so there's that.
Battlefield 4 and Project Spark were amongst my highlights of the presser. Project Spark could be the much-needed reply to Sony’sLittle Big Planet and we could see some cool next-gen user generated content from the gaming community. Forza 5 looked damn tasty, but if they’re going to keep saying Drivatar, I may have to stick with Gran Turismo 6 and its ‘dated’ visuals instead. The move to proper money instead of MS points and a PS Plus-influenced free games system for Gold members is long overdue, but very welcome. My usual reactions to mechs of ‘meh’ may be up for renewal now having seen Titanfall too.
There’s no denying Ryse had the graphical stones, but when a game like that seems to play more like Heavy Rain than God of War(which, admittedly uses the odd QTE), you should be a bit worried. I’ve no idea why World of Tanks had such high billing either, I’m sure there weren't sackfuls of roubles involved at all. At the end of the day though, does it really matter? Looking at the absolute price gouging we’re getting in the UK, I think they’re unlikely to get a pre-order from me.
And here are some community reactions to the Xbox One pricing...
@dealspwn £429 FUCK A GOAT!
— PanchoTaffy (@PanchoTaffy) June 10, 2013
@dealspwn that was ps3 launch price so I'd say not great.
— Keith Gunn (@gunn_x) June 10, 2013
@dealspwn Those are crack prices. Microsoft going in dry with that cost of admission! An easy pass at launch.
— Olu Ajayi (@Olumite) June 10, 2013
@dealspwn Ouch? Reversal of last gen? I can see it happening tbh. Time will tell.
— Patrick (@Realhoneyman) June 10, 2013
— Dan Davis (@dandavisuk) June 10, 2013
— Jon Kid (@jontsta) June 10, 2013
Remember to join us for EA's presser, up next!