Honestly what I feared most pretty much came true during the conference. I didn’t want to hear about Kinect and I didn’t want an “entertainment” focus at all. Yet that is pretty much exactly what we got. The perfect example was them having 343 Studios come out and instead of announcing or showcasing Halo, they talked about some TV series.
They had very few details about actual games, and what we did get didn’t even look like gameplay. The EA Sports games looked like pre-rendered scenes (a lot of stretching either way) and the only game with actual gameplay seemed to be tidbits of Call of Duty and maybe the Forza trailer. Forza right away was being compared to the recently announced Gran Turismo 6, and I must say they have a lot of competition from a current generation game.
I’m a bit disappointed that a lot of features revolving around gaming were not talked about. They hardly mentioned the controller, and in the after show (GTTV) they even frowned upon it a little bit to keep advertising Kinect. Everything was Kinect focused. I will admit the new Kinect features are rather neat, but I still don’t want to use it. I don’t want to yell at my Xbox to do things, or wave my hands in the air to change something. I want to sit back and relax, play a game, and be done. I’m more interested in rather or not Kinect can be bypassed. Can I still login to my Xbox without the Kinect staring at me? Can I unhook it and still have the functionality they showed off?
Also, no signal from them as to rather or not a lot of this stuff requires an always online connection. I stated it for a while, they will either come out killing the rumor, or they will avoid it entirely. They went with the second route. They talked a bit about the cloud, but never mentioned if this same functionality is available to the offline user, or person not paying for Xbox Live.
Overall I think it’s a nifty device that I will either become more interested in, or less interested in, as more interviews and details emerge with the after interviews. I’m not too thrilled about the entertainment focus though. Unlike Sony, a lot of their community features were entertainment focused. Now people can annoy you mid movie in Skype! Plus I couldn’t care less about fantasy sports (or sports in general) and a good majority of their conference was focused on Football. I mean if you want to talk hockey I would have been a little more interested, but come on it’s a gaming device. They say it time and time again “gamers are our focus” yet they didn’t show that at all, and instead went “wait for E3.” So I guess we wait for E3…..
Part of me really wishes this event had come much sooner. Being so close to E3, just about every announcement they made came with the caveat, “we’ll talk more about that later.” That just kind of sucks and I felt like I wasn’t able to see as much of the picture as I wanted. While we may not have seen anything more than what we did had the event been earlier, it wouldn’t have to feel truncated either.
On the whole, I guess that sums up how I felt; shortened. The entire event felt like it was trying to move things along at a quicker pace, never allowing us time for all the information to fully sink in. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but there were certain things I wished they had elaborated on, or even talked about in general (like the always online issue, and backwards compatibility). They showed off some nifty things, but I never felt as though I were getting the full picture.
That being said, I didn’t hate the Microsoft event, nor do I feel it was a total let-down. I did feel as though some things were lacking, but there were several parts that had me excited. First of all, the TV features did look pretty neat. The ability to jump from your game to live TV almost instantly via a quick voice command is cool. The multi-tasking ‘windows’ where you can do more than one thing at a time, is pretty damn awesome too.
This is a double edged sword, however, because while those things are cool, they aren’t necessarily system sellers for me either. I honestly don’t need the ability to tell my TV to change the channel. Frankly speaking, I don’t want to either. Much like when I first got the Kinect for my Xbox 360, there were things about it that I thought were incredibly cool, but after a few uses, I found myself going back to using the game system as I always had (and have even unplugged my Kinect at times, when it was impeding my gaming). I worry this is going to be the case with Xbox One, where it has all these nifty things it can do, but at the end of the day, no one really cares to use them.
On a personal note, the event failed to really strike a chord with me, because I’m not a big sports fan. In any given season I can count on one hand the football games I watch (including the Super Bowl), and it’s even less for the NBA. Sports just isn’t a big deal for me, nor is Fantasy Sports. So pretty much for all the segments of the event dealing with all the sports related stuff, I was tuned out. The NFL deal doesn’t excite me, being able to update my fantasy team whilst watching a game holds no interest for me (as the likelihood of my doing either of those is very small), and the new EA Sports engine wasn’t wowing me either.
This wouldn’t normally be a problem, but considering this made up a sizeable amount of their event, it was kind of frustrating. Again, I think it is a neat feature, and for those of you who are way into sports, that’s a great idea, but it doesn’t garner any interest from me for it.
The rest of the event seemed to be a lot of bluster. That’s understandable and is typically the case with these type of things, but there were several points during the Xbox event where I thought, “that’s not exclusive” or “EA is bringing those games to the PS4 as well”. They tried to say some things as if the Xbox One were the only console to be doing so, when that’s not the case. PS4 is also allows you to ‘pause’ or put your games on hold and switch to other tasks, and the bulk of the PS4 presentation talked about the new ways gamers can connect and interact with each other. In response to this we got Kinect Skype.
The little bit of game footage we saw looked good, but again, it was a “wait too see more at E3” sort of deal. The main reason I came to view the event was to see what it’d be bringing new to video games, but for the most part that seemed secondary. They’ve somewhat revamped the controller, they have a new Kinect, but they chose not to discuss exactly how the games will be affected by them. Instead, we got a bunch of information on how the Xbox One will be as an entertainment device for watching movies, browsing the web, and sports in general. Perhaps this isn’t a bad thing for other people, but it was the opposite of what I wanted to see.
I’m trying not to be negative about the console itself. It does have neat features, and I haven’t seen enough of the gaming aspect to make a judgment on it at this point. As far as the actual event, I feel it fell a bit short, and didn’t discuss the things I felt they needed to. They had better blow E3 out of the water.
Now that you’ve heard our thoughts on the presentation and Microsoft’s newest console, it’s time for you to share your thoughts. We want to know what you thought about the console and the presentation!