Disclosure ‐ Not everyone at POINTNCLICK shares this opinion.
This year Microsoft needed something big. Something that showed they weren’t giving up on the Xbox One. But what did they do? Phil Spencer marched out on stage and delivered rhetoric all too familiar to Microsoft’s E3 press conferences: “50 games, 15 premiers” he said, thinking that it would draw the attention away from the fact that when you boil it down, Microsoft had nothing. Look, it probably worked. Most people watching the press conference or the announcements coming out of it are going to be sucked in, drawn to the allure of so many newly announced games. But here’s why the press conference was a dismal failure. The presentation signalled the end of the Xbox One, with plenty of time left in this cycle.
Let’s start with Xbox One exclusives. Opening with Halo Infinite was a strong move, but one immediately contradicted by the lack of any real information. Speculation argues it will be a long running multiplayer version of Halo across the PC and Xbox, treated under the banner of ‘games as a service’, whilst possessing a campaign. Other than that, we weren’t even given a release date window, suggesting that at the earliest it could be 2019. In fact, only the new Life is Strange, Sea of Thieves DLC, Forza 4, We Happy Few, and Just Cause 4 are slated for a release in 2018. And of those 5, only 3 are Xbox One exclusives. Every other game would still exist without Microsoft.
Look, I get it, the announcement of games that aren’t coming out the same year is not a new thing. The problem is that Xbox is in a unique situation; they’ve lost the console race, but they still need to justify their place in this cycle. This is the year that games SHOULD be released, or at the very least, AMAZING games should be announced. Phil’s emphasis that they’re in production on a new Xbox further signals that they just don’t care.
The one thing that could have brought them back was a Gamepass update that blew our socks away. There was talk of Gamepass coming to PC, or potentially a plethora of new games. Alas, we got 3 new (old) games announced for the service, and a very poorly explained update which we think ‘may’ be the system learning player habits and downloading parts of games before you realise you want to play it? Cool, I guess, but the lack of information, coupled with another obscure reference to a streaming service that I highly doubt will function in Australia, and you have me sighing with disappointment.
My friends and colleagues didn’t share my frustration; they saw the positivity merely in the announcement of new games, games that both I and they want. My problem is that Microsoft had one last chance to show that they still wanted to do something special with this console, that they weren’t leaving us in the dust.
The one positive that comes out of this presentation, not including the myriad of good 3rd party games announced, is that Microsoft is probably going to exceed expectations at the launch of the new Xbox. Their acquisition of studios was clearly a drive to develop great games for the next cycle, which is exciting.
I know I get a lot of flack for being a negative nancy, especially in relation to horrible platformers like Crash Bandicoot, but come on. Seriously?
Also, what is up with that PUBG demonstration? All Xbox One trailers for PUBG are just worse versions of battlefield.