The Electronic Entertainment Expo is only a week away! The Gamnesia writing staff has been beefed up for the occasion, and our very own Colin McIsaac will be attending the show! Colin will be offering exclusive previews and impressions, but you can get recapped on all of our E3 coverage over here. This article is for something else.
The Gamnesia staff has come together to discuss Microsoft’s E3 prospects. Can the Xbox One rebound after a bumpy reveal? What exclusives are coming to Microsoft’s new console? We bring our collective thoughts to the (round)table, offering our opinions on the latest Xbox. We also take a few stabs on the dark, predicting how Microsoft’s E3 conference will affect the public, and how the public will affect Microsoft.
Without further ado, let’s begin!
What does the company need to do to win E3?
Dylan James (Contributor): Honestly, winning E3 has now become a major long shot for them. As the reaction to the Xbox One reveal has proven, gamers are almost universally in an uproar over the flurry of new “features” the system plans on implementing. First off, they absolutely need to come out and clarify some of the more confusing stances they’ve taken in regards to things like used games – numerous officials from Microsoft have given completely different answers as to what it is. We’ve heard they won’t work, that they need to be activated via fee, and that there’s absolutely nothing implemented that prevents playing them – all from Microsoft employees. This is a public relations disaster and needs to be solved bluntly on-stage.
Secondly, they need to show off actual game content, and I don’t mean a “there are 15 new exclusive titles but 11 of them are for the Kinect” situation. Nintendo and Sony have both achieved success through the employing of a sizable library of exclusive core IPs, and Microsoft needs to follow suit if they plan on maintaining the future goodwill of gamers.
Barry Herbers (Associate Editor): A miracle.
Elijah Holt (Senior Editor): Microsoft has little chance to win E3; they would need to knock their exclusive content clear off of the planet to pull that off after that horrendous Xbox One reveal.
Harold Teekman (Associate Editor): It needs to convince people that the Kinect and the connect-to-the-internet-everyday tactic are not bad ideas. It needs to sell it. And to do that it needs to have good, exclusive games. If their only selling point is third-party multiplatform games, people are going to run to the PlayStation 4 because it has something else besides that.>
Jackson Murphy (Senior Editor): Winning E3 is a hefty task, and Microsoft may not be fit to perform such a feat. The gaming populace is almost unanimously uninterested in the Xbox One. Sony hit the ground running with the PlayStation 4, while Microsoft has broken both legs on impact. Microsoft needs to bring out games which dedicated players will care about and pray Sony fumbles their entire show.
Nathanial Rumphol-Janc (Editor in Chief): It’s hard to imagine with the entire backlash they can pull it off, but there are a few new precedents they could instill that would at least help. For starters, they need to stick to just games and ignore everything else the box can do. While the entertainment box stuff has broader appeal, early adapters are strictly gamers. You need to find a way to make the console appeal to them above all else. If you have the best games lineup, you always have a chance to “win” E3.
Matthew Swadinsgy (Contributor): Change everything about the Xbox One.
How can Microsoft win back more invested players? Do you think they plan to?
Matthew Swadinsgy: Change everything about the Xbox One.
Elijah Holt: I’m honestly not sure what Microsoft can or will do at this point; their only chance to lure players back to their system, like I said before, is to have stellar exclusive content.
Jackson Murphy: I believe Microsoft wants to bring in the time-invested player with their new console. They’re not trying to promote gaming-centric hardware anymore. Microsoft wants everything on one system. To win back the crowd, Microsoft needs to bring out the big guns, but also a few new ideas. Sony and Nintendo have established a dedicated fan base with dozens of franchises, and those groups only grow through services like PlayStation Plus and games like Nintendo Land. Microsoft needs to layout a game plan for their future in software, and they also need to establish the Xbox One’s limits on DRM and used games. The entire fiasco has been a PR nightmare, and these points need to be made concrete on a stage in the view of the public.
Nathanial Rumphol-Janc: Stop being indecisive. Things like saying the consoles are region locked with reasons that seem to contradict and at best seem like feint excuses are tiring. As is the constant confusion behind nearly every single one of the major talking points. Be clear, have a vision, and stick to it. Even if the new is bad, have a universal stance on it. Nothing is worse than beating around the bush. Pretend you never announced the console and take back some of the silly decisions like used game fees and other things that aren’t friendly to consumers. I can sell my car if I want to my friend, but I don’t see Honda getting additional fees out of it do you? I own it. Let me do what I want with my property.
Barry Herbers: I’m not sure they can win everybody back. Stuff like forcing a daily internet connection is enough for some to completely lose interest in Xbox One. But, assuming they can win people back, they just need to show a lot of good games, plain and simple.
And yes, after hearing their “E3 will be all about the games” statement, I’m sure they’ll be trying their hardest at E3 to appeal to the hardcore audience.
Harold Teekman: Of course they plan to. It’s a big chunk of their intended audience. But like I said, it needs to have really great games, or people are going to flock to the PS4.
Dylan James: They need to clarify their positions on these hot-button issues (and have the answers be acceptably positive), and they need a nice amount of core titles. At this rate, I have no idea if they plan to keep invested players or not. It’s clear they thought they could achieve universal success by following in the footsteps of the Wii through the Kinect, and even though this didn’t exactly pan out it’s definitely remaining a big part of their future strategy (likely why the sensor is now mandatory). However, the damage control to the One reveal proves they’re still interested in maintaining the core crowd.
Name three of the fifteen exclusives that you think Microsoft has in store for Xbox One.
Jackson Murphy: I’m banking on a Halo 5 reveal trailer at the conference, although the game won’t show up at launch. Halo 5 was already announced a couple years ago, but we know nothing about it. Now that Halo 4 has released, Microsoft will be able to unveil the next entry while also revealing the future plans for their biggest franchises on Xbox One.
My second exclusive is a new Banjo-Kazooie game. A “historic Rare” IP is getting a new entry, according to Microsoft. Banjo-Kazooie is going to return. However, it’s going to get a terrible name based off of the system it is on: Banjo-Oneie.
My third and final guess is Mirror’s Edge 2. Dozens of retailers are accidentally putting up preorder pages for this game. The original title is a cult classic of this generation. Electronic Arts has announced a partnership with Microsoft, which will no doubt lead to a few third-party exclusives. With all the signs saying Mirror’s Edge 2 is in the works, I wouldn’t be surprised to see this one show up on Xbox One.
Harold Teekman: Forza Motorsport 5. Quantum Break. Was there another one announced already? Whatever, they’ll probably come with a trailer for Halo 5 or something.
Dylan James: I’m going to be incredibly cheap and name off three titles we already know for sure are coming via past confirmation: Quantum Break, Halo 5 and Halo 6.
Matthew Swadinsgy: Halo 5, Gears of War 4, and Kinectimals 2.
Barry Herbers: Forza, Halo and…Gears of War maybe… Does Microsoft have any other exclusives?
Nathanial Rumphol-Janc: Forza Motorsport 5, Quantum Break, Rare Game – Those are the only announced games out of Microsoft themselves. I think it is very important to note that Quantum Break is an all new IP and that they have 7 more of them coming in the first year. I am surprised many forgot that game was debuted, but I forgive people if they didn’t realize it was a game.
Elijah Holt: Halo, Forza, Banjo Kazooie.
What is going to be demoed on stage?
Nathanial Rumphol-Janc: Forza, Quantum Break, Call of Duty, Assassin’s Creed IV, and a few Kinect Games.
Jackson Murphy: Mirror’s Edge 2 will be the surprise reveal of the conference with a silent demo. No music, no commentary, no smoke machines. Just a player and controller. The parkour system will be displayed, and the crowd will be awed by the calm mood and stunning graphics.
Elijah Holt: TV!
Dylan James: I’d expect Call of Duty: Ghosts to get a healthy amount of time despite it being a multiplatform title.
Harold Teekman: I assume an unhealthy amount of Call of Duty: Ghosts, but we will probably see Quantum Break and a couple of other titles. Halo 5, possibly?
Matthew Swadinsgy: The features of the Kinect 2 and how you will control your entertainment with it. All Xbox One games will require Kinect 2.
Barry Herbers: Halo, Call of Duty, Forza and a whole bunch of other games.
Predict the price and release date of the Xbox One. Will either of these be announced at the conference?
Harold Teekman: I predict it to be around $450, and I think it will be released in late October. Maybe October 27th.
Dylan James: I want to say the release date will be some point in mid-to-late October, and that the price will be something in the $400.00 – 450.00 range. I would hope that both of these will be announced at the conference, but on-stage pricing reveals – unless the price is shockingly low – tend to be met with either apathy or rage, so that might be saved for later. The general release window feels like a safe bet, though.
Matthew Swadinsgy: Around $300, since Xbox has always launched around that price. It’ll be released before Black Friday.
Barry Herbers: I’d guess it’ll be somewhere in the ballpark of $300 – $400. I’m sure it’ll release in November because that’s just when big things get released, and I have no idea what the specific date will be. I can’t imagine they wouldn’t be announced at the conference.
Jackson Murphy: Microsoft isn’t going to announce these details at the conference. The company is going to follow through on their promise and focus on games. Any details about the hardware will be clearing up the foggy details we know so far.
My guess for the price is $499, and Microsoft will push the console out into retail the weekend before Black Friday, even if the hardware isn’t ready. There will also be a $249 bundle coming with a subscription to Xbox Live.
Elijah Holt: I think there will be different versions of the console, ranging from $250 to $499 or so, with a release date in mid October or November. I don’t think they’ll talk about this at E3 though; too much backpedaling to do.
Nathanial Rumphol-Janc: I believe price most definitely will. If not a release date, at least a firmer window then “2013”. I will say the system itself will cost $450 and release November 22nd, a week before Black Friday.
Do you like TV?
Barry Herbers: Not with achievements…
Elijah Holt: Yeah, but I don’t want to use my GAME console to watch it.
Dylan James: There are some television shows that I really enjoy, Game of Thrones for one. But there is absolutely zero logical reason why I would want to watch it on my television through the Xbox instead of just watching it on the television. Things like “keeping up with what my friends are doing” have never appealed to me in any form, so I can’t say those sort of aspects excite me.
Jackson Murphy: Yes, but not TV achievements.
Nathanial Rumphol-Janc: Indeed I do. I am all for my game console taking care of watching TV. However, it has to actually make the experience better. It doesn’t control the recording and downloading of shows and movies which already makes it hard to trust the system to do it better.
Harold Teekman: I do like TV, but my main problem with the TV direction Microsoft is taking is that it will be non-existent in Europe, just like Netflix and other services. It’s American based, and I live in the Netherlands, so I’m more drawn to the PlayStation 4, just because the Xbox One heavily pushes TV that will not happen in Europe. And that awful Always-Online-DRM.
Matthew Swadinsgy: No.
How about sports?
Matthew Swadinsgy: No.
Elijah Holt: See my previous answer.
Barry Herbers: That kind of depends, but not when they’re by Electronic Arts…
Nathanial Rumphol-Janc: Considering I watch at least four sporting events a week…yes. However, can I pause the game like I can now while taking a dump? Right now it all just seems like a nice idea rather than a realistic reality of superior sports coverage.
Dylan James: It’s a fine recreational activity that millions of people around the world enjoy.
Harold Teekman: I don’t care about them. I only watch soccer when there are European or World Cups, or during the Olympic games, but that’s about it.
Jackson Murphy: Babe Ruth makes the best touch downs. He’s like the next Tiger Woods. He just gets the ball in the hoop and the Sharks fans go wild. Damn, I love lacrosse.
Phew! That was quite the read, wasn’t it? Stay tuned for the rest of the week! We will be posting one roundtable every twenty-four hours on all five weekdays! Stay tuned to Gamnesia as our E3 coverage continues!
You can answer the questions in the comments! Do you like TV? How about sports? Sound off below!