Craig Davidson, the director of global marketing at Microsoft said to IGN Spain that the “Xbox One will surprise the world during E3… We are going to kill Sony at E3″. With that, the Daily Reaction crew of Seb and Dan discuss what MS could do to dominate E3 2013, and whether it is possible.
Dan: Ok seriously…Microsoft has gone through the ringer since they announced the extremely original Xbox One (or Xbone) but, with the recent statement by Microsoft’s Craig Davidson, it seems they are expecting big things out of this year’s E3.
Honestly, I don’t think there is much they could do to ‘win’ E3 this year, as they really have put off most of their audience right from the start with all the new ‘features’ of the Xbox One. And, for them to regain the ground they lost, they will have to prove to gamers that their lineup is worth the hassle. Having the Call of Duty: Ghosts DLC as timed exclusivity is nothing new.
Moving forward, Microsoft really will have to secure a true exclusive for next-gen, using a title like the rumored-to-be-exclusive unannounced Respawn Entertainment game for them to make make much of a difference.
At this year’s Microsoft conference, I can easily see more footage of the Halo TV series being shown, but, besides Gears of War, what else could they show to make that much of a difference?
As we have seen that the Xbox One will be using lower end hardware compared to the PS4, it stands to reason that they could try to lead by pricing Sony out of the market right from the start. Considering that they have decided to bundle in the Kinect 2 with every console (something that is supposed to be the successor of an accessory that already costs $99), I think they are going to be forced to eat some of the cost to even stay competitive. So with pricing not certain to be that significant of an option, unless we see a subscription based model (which they already have been trying), and games being unlikely to create enough of an impact, I think they are going to have to rely on Sony doing a reenactment of the Xbox One announcement at E3 if they want to ‘win’ the show.
Seb: Agreed, this is an incredibly bullish statement from a company that is increasingly looking like the arrogant Sony that launched the PS3. They have to not only come out with a better show than whatever Sony has, but they also have to make up for the reveal announcement. In essence, they need to be twice as good to conclusively be the victor.
Their headline game will most likely be the Black Tusk Studios title that they hope to be their “next Halo”, but aiming for such a lofty goal is easier said than done (just ask Sony), especially from a new studio. I do think this is their best chance at blowing the press away as it’s a full exclusive, AAA and has all the backing of Microsoft’s deep pockets.
There’s also Lionhead’s possible MMO (probably Fable), but we just have to hope Lionhead hasn’t completely gone the way of Rare, considering their last two games were the abysmal Fable: The Journey and Fable Heroes.
We’ll likely see a closer look at Quantum Break which, despite its lame box art, is a new IP from a solid developer, Remedy (Max Payne, Alan Wake). My only worry is that the whole “how you play the game impacts the [Quantum Break TV] show, and the show informs how you play the game” reeks of being like the decidedly-average Defiance.
And, of course, there’s Forza, which, when it comes to comparing E3 shows, will just go toe-to-toe with DriveClub. Of course, there’ll be a bunch of Rare Kinect games and other Kinect games that we don’t care about. Outside of first parties, we’ll also see some third party exclusives, possibly one from Avalanche, possibly the Respawn title, and then a focus on some multiplatform games with exclusive DLC.
In total, Microsoft promised 15 exclusives for the first year of availability, which is actually a fair bit, although a lot of those games could be/are small titles, Kinect titles or timed exclusives. They probably won’t announce all 15 at E3 because some have already been revealed, and there’s gamescom, TGS, the VGAs and then next year’s E3, gcom, TGS etc. But, after the awful reaction to the XBO reveal, I can see MS front-loading their game announcements and putting a good amount out at E3.
Their other big problem is that Gears of War: Judgment and Halo 4 are relatively recent releases, so it’s unlikely we’ll see the franchises at E3, other than perhaps the smallest of teases.
Microsoft needs to come out swinging, announcing games left and right and not even once mentioning TV, all while hoping Sony trips up.
And there is reason to believe that Sony might underperform – they’ve already announced a bunch of PS4 games, they have to split E3 focus on PS3, PS4 and PS Vita (and maybe PS Mobile), they might spend too much time on 3rd party games like Destiny and Assassin’s Creed: Yet Another One, and they might be tempted to talk about multimedia, their camera and TV rubbish. Plus, there’s still the looming question of whether the PS4 needs to sometimes connect to the internet, if it plays used games, or which online services will be free and which will cost money.
But there is also a lot of reason to believe that Sony will have a stellar conference – in recent years, they’ve had the best track record of having an interesting show (bar Wonderbook pointlessness), they have a wealth of first party studios that are working on unannounced core titles, strong second party support and a ton of indie backing. And then you’ve got Kaz Hirai telling the press today: “The most important thing we need to make sure we do, at least initially, is that we all agree and understand that the PS4 is a great videogame console that appeals to video gamers”.
Both Sony and Microsoft need to remember that E3, and similar conferences, are games conferences, watched by people primarily interested in games. Sure, you can tell us it does Netflix, or even that it does exactly what Comcast’s X1 has been doing with TVs for the past year, but that shouldn’t take up any significant time during the show. That should be the quick side news they throw at us between the games.
I think Sony mostly knows this, and that’s why the PS4 announcement was about games above all, even if they did spend a bit too long speaking about social features and old Square Enix videos. I think Microsoft finally have also accepted this, after the consumer backlash they’ve received.
If we’re lucky, that’ll mean that this E3 is going to be about the games more than ever and that we’ll all be in for an unforgettable show.