I woke up bright and early this morning to tune in to Microsoft’s reveal of the new Xbox. I can’t really say that I was anticipating much from it, and I wasn’t particularly hyped for it since I don’t ever use consoles anymore. For the most part, my expectations were for Microsoft to expand upon Sony’s conference and sort of one-up them in all categories so viewers would get hyped. It didn’t exactly turn out how I imagined it would.
The conference began with the reveal of the name of the console. I know there were many rumors going around with the name shifting from things like Durango to the Infinity. I honestly liked the name Xbox Infinity because it would mean that the console afterwards would be named Xbox Beyond, and I would have giggled. However, the presenter revealed that the name of the console would be the Xbox One. I watched the screen in disbelief and thought to myself “Are you serious?” I’m not sure what numbering system Microsoft is using because I had always thought the original Xbox would be the Xbox One. Hell, even calling the new Xbox the Xbox 720 would have made much more sense than naming it the One especially since the One is the third generation console in the Xbox line.
Afterwards, a presenter detailed how Kinect would be used to switch between watching TV, playing games, and browsing the web alongwith the ability to use the Xbox One as a TV guide to see what is currently on TV. He would move his arms over and over to switch through screens and shout commands at the Xbox like “Xbox on”, “Xbox go home”, or “Xbox TV” and I thought “This is, at most, a minor quality of life feature.” I don’t watch TV anymore or use my television in general, but I’ve never heard a person complain about needing to grab the remote to change inputs on the television. This is a neat feature, but something I would probably never use. A lot of time was spent showcasing this feature, and I really just wanted them to present games. The presenter then talked about how you could look up fantasy basketball and football stats on the Xbox One in real time to help your roster or however fantasy football works. There was also integration of Skype into the console where it would use your Kinect as a webcam. This is cool, I guess, but I would figure that most people already use Skype on their laptops and desktops, so I would never use it. If, by some horrible reason, there are people who lack the means to use Skype already through their laptop or desktops, I seriously doubt they would look into using it on their new Xboxes.
Next up was a guy who presented new features added to Xbox Live such as cloud storage. This was a cool feature since cloud storage will let me play my game with the same settings on all accounts if I choose to sign in on another friend’s Xbox. They didn’t say if you had to pay for Xbox Live to access this feature though, but I’m willing to bet that you probably will have to. If not, though, then it seems that Microsoft will finally be one-upping Sony in something so far for the next-gen console war.
They showed the hardware specs and the controller after talking about Xbox Live. The specs for the hardware didn’t look too different from that of the PS4’s so I didn’t think much of it, but when they revealed the controller I was iffy on it. It looked like they fixed the horrendous D-pad of the 360, but the controller looks similar to the original launch controller for the first Xbox. The one that was huge and bulky and looked like it could kill a man if you threw it at him. At this point I thought, “They’re finally going to present games.” Nope.
If you didn’t get enough of sports yet from the beginning, the representative for EA then announced a lot sports titles like a new FIFA, Madden, and Forza 5. At this point, I legitimately thought they would show gameplay footage, but they ended up presenting trailers for FIFA, Madden, UFC, and NBA Live with dubstep played over it. Though the in-game footage looked impressive so far, it was disappointing to not see any real demonstration. There was even a trailer for Forza 5 but no gameplay footage for it. I really wanted to stop watching but I held out because I thought they would present more games.
Up next was a trailer for a game called Quantum Break by Remedy Games. They changed up the formula by having live action scenes mixed with CGI cutscenes. The trailer had a woman asking a child something about why people fear her, and the little girl touches her ear, and it flashes to a scene of a boat crashing into the bridge, and then police investigating a building. I honestly had no idea what the game was about. Still no gameplay.
After that, Microsoft announced that they would have a partnership with Steven Spielberg and 343 Industries to create an exclusive TV show about Halo for Xbox Live. Nothing was shown but they had Steven Spielberg talk on the screen about it. I think it might end up being cool since the live action trailers for Halo were always had good quality. More movies and more TV but no gameplay.
The last presentation was for the new Call of Duty. I’m ashamed to admit that I enjoy Call of Duty even though it’s essentially the same game every year. They talked about how they created a new engine for the game, and I liked that. They would show footage of the game being developed, and in one scene, I saw a guy leaning out of cover to shoot another guy, and I was so impressed by this because lean is almost never incorporated into modern shooters. Eventually, they showed a trailer for Call of Duty: Ghosts, except there was no gameplay footage of this either and just a bunch of cutscenes instead. Then the conference ended.
I felt ripped off. Microsoft announced that there would be 15 new exclusives for the Xbox One and there was not a single piece of gameplay footage for any of the games that they presented to us on stage. Everything was purely in-game trailers that would only satisfy the graphical fanatis. They said they would show the games off at E3, but why wouldn’t you show at least some snippets of games now to whet our appetites?
So what I’ve taken away from this whole conference is that if you love watching TV and sports and doing things on the computer like use Netflix or browsing the web, then the Xbox One is perfect for you. However, if you want to play games? Look elsewhere. Until Microsoft shows us some actual gameplay footage and demonstrations rather than just show off the next-gen console’s graphical prowess, then there’s nothing for true gamers to see here.