Last year, when E3 arrived, Microsoft were already in a hole. They were behind the ball on the PR for the XBox One and E3 was to be the start of their damage control. Too much TV, too less games, and a bit of DRM peppered their E3 2013 conference, and it didn’t go down well with the gamers.
This year though, Microsoft seemed as they had learned their lesson. After a year full off apologies, policy reversal, a change in helm and being beaten in sales Microsoft and XBox One finally discovered that the main reason a gaming console was successful, was the games.
From start to finish the Microsoft game conference was all games. No numbers, no charts, no you can watch this and do this on your console. It was pure game trailers one after the other. In fact, it became too fast sometimes.
Microsoft opened (as is tradition) with Call Of Duty: Advanced Warfare. The game looked crisp and promised the same deal that COD and XBox have had for the past few years; there was no Kevin Spacey though.
Microsoft interestingly, chose to close with Crackdown; which I found a bit weird. I mean I am sure its going to be a great game, but closing the show with something that sold because it had BETA keys to Halo, just doesn’t add up.
In the middle of those 2 games however, there were a slew of games. I have already discussed Sunset Overdrive. Halo The Master Chief Collection is sure to be XBox One’s biggest seller this year. We also saw a bit but not enough of Halo 5. There was Assassin’s Creed, Dragon Age: Inquisition, Evolve, Rise of Tomb Raider, Witcher 3, and The Division.
As far as exclusives go apart from Sunset Overdrive, Halo and Crackdown; Microsoft announced Scalebound, Killer Instinct Season 2, Phantom Dust, Inside, Ori, Fable Legends, Dead Rising with Capcom skins and some new skins in Forza.
Phil Spencer, ever since he has taken over the XBox line, has been hard at work at re-defining the vision of the XBox One. This conference was an extension of that as we saw a much more game centric approach. The contrast in the reception to the conferences just an year apart is also telling. People come to E3 to look at awesome, mind blowing games, and not how I can get off my couch and do exercises to do weird stuff on the screen.
Ok I am just rambling now.
All in all I think this was a huge improvement from Microsoft this year, and they would have probably won the conference war for me, if it wasn’t for the Ubisoft conference.