With Microsoft’s E3 2010 Presentation now in the books, I decided to provide my opinion on how they did overall. The decision to present first has remained a staple in the company’s policy and now leaves both Sony and Nintendo to bring their A game tomorrow. Here are a few positives and negatives on the event in its entirety.
When it comes to having console exclusive titles, Microsoft presented predictable, yet exciting game reveals. The three core titles that have forever defined the system (Halo, Gears Of War, and Fable) all received game footage and playable demos. Halo Reach is proving to be the definitive Halo experience as Bungie alluded to before. The campaign alone looks wildly entertaining and including the assassination kills looks to be just another reason why this will be the highest selling game on Xbox 360 this fall. Gears Of War 3 feels and looks a lot like Gears of War 2.5 in the sense that not much has changed. The addition of the 4-player coop story mode is well overdue and should provide a much needed element to the game. I would also expect Epic to announce more then just the inclusion of the new Beast mode.
The one surprise that excited everyone had to be the Metal Gear Solid: Rising trailer and gameplay. For a game that very little info was known about last year, Konami has come a long way in crafting a great title with a combat system that is sure to entice gamers and action fans alike. The one downside about the state of exclusive games on Xbox 360 is that it’s becoming a dying trend. The end of Halo and Gears of War will force the company to go back to the drawing board and I’m not quite certain that the exclusive deal with Crytek will be enough to keep people coming back for more.
Even more noticeable is that Microsoft has tried to use multiplatform games, once Sony exclusive properties, to further excite Xbox 360 fanboys. Will the company continue to create new original exclusive IP’s like Alan Wake, or will they settle for snatching up licenses? Perhaps that question will be answered at next year’s E3, but until then the upcoming lineup should be enough to keep people busy for a little while.
Kinect (formerly Project Natal) was promised to be the device that would revolutionize the way you play games. After attending both of the Microsoft events I have to say that Kinect will definitely deliver a compelling experience for all those who are willing to try it out. The ability to use the “See it Say it” system will catch on with both hardcore and casual fans of technology. When you add in the exclusive deal with ESPN and Live Video Chat features you can see how Microsoft is trying to appeal to every target audience group known to man.
When it comes to the actual games though, I wasn’t too impressed with the Adventure, Joyride, or Sports Games. These titles feel too much like their Wii counterparts and therefore you know right away that the company is buying into the fact that people will purchase these games just like they did before with the Wii. If Microsoft decides to package these games as part of the bundle, then I could definitely see it as a smart move that will pay dividends later. However, I will admit that I fully expect the Your Shape game to dominate sales and give Wii Fit a serious run for it’s money. Even if Nintendo releases a Wii Fit 2, if it doesn’t have the amount of features that are in this game then anyone who likes to stay in shape won’t take it seriously as a valued product.
Another disappointment that I shared with this segment came from the Star Wars announcement that was shoved aside for the last bit of news. We actually saw a live demo of someone playing this game that blew away what was shown today. The fact that they didn’t feel compelled to present that same demonstration makes me feel as though this game is extremely early in development and they aren’t confident in it enough to show you something more. If their strategy now is to get you pumped about the release they should at least reveal more then enough to sell you on the concept.
Xbox 360 Redesign:
The release of the rumored Xbox 360 redesign lived up to the hype in every way imaginable. The idea of having built-in wifi will certainly upset many people who may have purchased the wireless adapter in the last couple of months. The power move that got the most attention was the choice to give free systems to the attending press. Chances are if you were among the audience members who received this news you would be living on cloud 9 right about now. The strategy proves that not only does Microsoft have serious money, but they also are willing to try as hard as possible to get everyone to approve of them.
Upon further analysis though, you have to figure that in a way you paid for this system if you ever had to ship out a red-ringed console, or pay for Xbox Live. In any event, it’s just good to see that some people are getting a return on that initial investment. As someone who will not be receiving a free system, I personally don’t hold any harsh feelings towards Microsoft. In the end it’s all about making business moves and trust me when I say this is a move that will forever loom on the minds and hearts of both Sony and Nintendo executives. Only time will tell who will ultimately win this generation’s console war. As of today though, you’d have to be foolish to count out Microsoft.