I’m Still Not Convinced Xbox One Will Put Games First

In the time between Microsoft’s reveal of their next-generation Xbox One console and today’s E3 press conference, the company promised that they’d show games. Not just any games, either. They essentially said, “Ready your eyeballs, oh sceptical Fanbase, for a suite of playable software that will make your heart skip beats.” Well, after watching this morning’s presentation, I can safely say that I won’t be seeing my cardiologist anytime soon.

Microsoft had to know that sentiment was turning against them as more information came to light about the used games policy and required internet check-in for the Xbox One. And they needed to show daring games today, exclusives and third-party titles that would explode any doubts about the 360’s successor and make the thing that feel like a must-buy. I don’t think they did that.

More than a dozen games got rolled out during this morning press event and most of them felt like variations of what we’ve played already. Sure, outright sequels like Dead Rising 3 and The Witcher 3 seemed to benefit from the upgraded capabilities of the One, at least as far as graphics were concerned. But, let’s be honest, those are safe bets. New entries in well-established genres or franchises with devoted followings aren’t the fireworks people wanted to see today.

"There’s no better way to show that you believe in games as a creative medium than to make some yourself."

E3’s an annual knife-to-throat death-duel for the hearts and minds of gamers. That means that there’s no avoiding comparisons to what Sony has already said and shown about the games and development partnerships. Sony has largely put developers first when talking about their next-gen box and, moreover, their promises about easy publishing and developer support feel more organic to a strategy that been long-running. The company seems to be snatching up every promising indie release in recent memory and making them available on all their current hardware and you feel like that same plan will carry over to PS4. Time and again, Sony’s supported unconventional visions on this last generation of hardware.

With Microsoft, the games shown today feel like tertiary concerns. Yes, the tech giant’s ramping up first-party development efforts. But this comes after the portfolio of Microsoft-made games dried up to almost nothing during this last-generation. There’s no better way to show that you believe in games as a creative medium than to make some yourself. It feels like Microsoft is just coming back around to that kind of thinking, just in time to add some seasoning to their fancy DVR-linked/cable box substitute/voice-control web browser machine.

Some of the flashiest features shown today — the SmartGlass/Kinect/video editing, in particular — feel like they're supposed to get you jazzed, right? Instead, the feeling I was left with was that they were Trojan horses meant to lure me into using more Microsoft services that would expose me to more ads and more frillt extras that don't really add to game design implementation.

Too much of the stuff shown during today’s event felt derivative. Teases for meals that don’t feel the least bit tantalising. Even the games with bigger spotlights — like Quantum Break or Halo — still have the looming shadow of TV hovering over them. Quantum Break is supposed to be a sort-of hybrid between games and TV but that interaction wasn’t shown. And let’s not forget that said interaction may not even be a thing that we want.

And that Halo teaser we saw today? Microsoft couldn’t help but remind viewers that it’ll be tethered in some form or fashion to a TV show that they’re developing with Steven Spielberg. Did anyone forget that factoid in the intervening month since the Xbox One reveal? No? Didn’t think so.

Yeah, it’s great that smaller titles like D4 and Below go to share the stage with Titanfall and Metal Gear Solid V. Their developers didn’t get to talkabout ther games, though, and overall it’s hard to shake the nagging feeling that Microsoft’s a company with a seriously split focus nowadays. Whatever they do in the next five months, there’s no denying that their ultimate aim is to do something loftier than just deliver a greatly upgraded game box. And while that’s to be expected of all console makers at this point, somehow, the game lovers who energized the 360 to world-beating success feel like stepping stones now. It’s not a good feeling.

To contact the author of this post, write to [email protected] or find him on Twitter @EvNarc


Comments

    20 games in 90 mins and people still aren't happy. Sigh

      What do you expect from people on the internet?
      Rational, unbiased, fair discussion over matters or fanboy bickering and claims that one side has won already because the commenter was "won over" by something.

      When hardly any of those games seem special, nor did they show off great footage of those games, no people aren't. Compared to the huge list of games Sony showed off today, most of which had actual gameplay or in-game footage.

        I'm sorry to say, but Metal Gear was the best shown game in E3 for me. I'm just wondering why it was in the Microsoft Conference, though. :/

        Ah, Sonys games were almost all on Xbox One aswell or for PS3 and Vita. How many PS4 exclusives did they show? And even then most where already announced. MS had Titanfall, Dead Rising and Ryse with lot's of gameplay. Then little trailers for cool looking games like sunset overdrive, d4 and quantum break

          Yeah, I was awesomely underwhelmed by the game part of Sony's presentation too. However, the non-game part was a giant 'screw you M$, we're not like you', so I'm okay with it.

      Exactly, I've only ever owned ps consoles but Xbox showed heaps and heaps of games. If it wasn't for the used games and online thing then everyone would have been hating Sony

      as far as exclusive go Xbox is fkn raking them in, all the PS4 ones are turning out to be on xbox one as well

      I wanted to see Halo and Gears of War at the E3 event.
      Instead of spending all that money on TV interaction in the USA they should've pumped that into additional resources to make Halo and Gears of War launch titles.

      Overall I was impressed by their presentation but Sony really stole their thunder by making better business decisions and showing that they are more in touch with core gamers.
      Microsoft we want less TV integration (which wont work outside the USA) and more focus on AAA launch titles.

    Fine by me, I want a seemless experience from my TV to my PC/tablet and my Phone which is what Microsoft are offering. Sony aren't and can't offer this.

      This may come across as sarcastic, but I sincerely want to know: Why do you want this - how do you plan to use it? I'm trying to think of use cases, and I'm coming up blank.

        I do a hell of a lot more watching and listening to media using my entertainment system than gaming, as would most who aren't single males. Why wouldn't I want all my media to function better and seamlessly? Why wouldn't I want to be able to pick up something on my tablet or flick it to my TV, instantly flick my Xbox from a game to TV, or use my tablet as a remote for my Xbox?

        If you're afraid of Windows 8, then I guess the PS3 keeping everything separate will be fine for you.

          But Sony are offering the interactivity to your tablet (not just a MS one), your phone, PS4 games via wifi to your vita screen, cloud gaming, and more movie and music services thanks to more relationships to providers than MS have. Oh and let's not forget that Sony as a whole company offer all there stuff on top of everyone elses that MS don't have access too.

            Not my tablet or phone unless I go and replace everything with iOS or Android. Whereas Microsoft are offering their app to all current ecosystems.

              Most providers (like banking aps) only support iOs and Android so the others (Windows ones I guess) need more support from everyone not just Sony.
              Nothing is ever going to be for everyone so be it.

              My point though was all the other stuff you said was not correct.

      What do you mean seamless experience?

      PS4 will have remote play with Vita. There are also Sony tablets and phones. Is there something I'm missing?

        So I would have to own a Sony device with crappy layer over Android, not bare android? Oh and why would I want a Vita unless I spent over an hour a day on public transport?

        The bits of smartglass we have so far have impressed me, and will only get better with the One and Windows 8 Blue.

          I tried smartglass on my iPad, it was a cute gimmick for a few moments, and then I went back to using my lag-free and much more feature-rich controller interface. I honestly think you're accepting "what we'd like to do" as "what we will do". My Kinect was supposed to let doctors perform surgery and teachers teach kids around the world. It didn't.

            I made the mistake this gen of being a Sony guy, while Sony barely made any improvements to the Playstation experience and was plagued with buggy ports for anything multiplatform. Microsoft have put a crapload more effort into improving everything consistently throughout this gen, and I put far more faith in them not leaving the One to stagnate than I do with Sony.

            I don't get any lag with smartglass on my i7 tablet either, and use my Kinect pretty much every time I turn on the Xbox and am not playing a game for voice control. As for disappointing accessories how about Playstation Eye? I haven't plugged mine in for years.

            Last edited 11/06/13 5:54 pm

              Thats a fair enough explanation - I'm pretty sure that the PS4 will be able to do that too though. This was meant in reply to your above comment.

              Last edited 12/06/13 11:20 am

          Sony said they will support all smart devices not just there own.
          As a PC gamer and enthusiast I can tell you WIndows Blue is nothing worth noting.

            What's Sony's idea of a smart device? Android and iOS? Not Windows 8? I'd take my i7 tablet over an arm device anyday.

    This sounds like it was written by a Sony fanboy.

    On games and games alone, Microsoft took Sony to school. Sony showed what we saw in February, and a couple of other games. Some boring indie ones, and only 1886 was exclusive. Assassin's Creed and Destiny are multiplats.

    I know Sony wowed everyone with their price and used game/online DRM policies, but if E3 "victory" is based on games, Sony got owned. Hard.

      ... only 1886 was exclusive? Did you watch it at all?

      On games and games alone, Sony gave what gamers want. Long awaited Kingdom Hearts 3 and Final Fantasy Versus 13 (15 now). Killzone being the exclusive shooter since PS2. Not to forget Infamous. Quantic Dream's next IP is an honorable mention since there are no details yet. In terms of game level you can say Xbox have some interesting new IP while Sony bring out their big guns to compete. Both have great lineup but the hardware itself.... you know the rest.

        I think both gave a good amount of games for 'gamers'...Though what 'gamers' want is always hard to define.

        They didn't say FF was an exclusive and those other ones have already been announced an shown

        Most of what they showed was already shown in February.

        The rest were multiplats (that froze) and a few indie games.

        1886 was the only totally new exclusive IP and we got a cut scene trailer. But you know "Xbone sucks lol" and whatever. Final Fantasy is another but it's not new, just exclusive (isn't it?)

        Anyone not completely in some fanboy haze right now (not many), basing their decision purely on games, would admit MS showed more NEW or EXCLUSIVE games we hadn't seen anything about yet.

        Killer Instinct
        Titanfall
        Ryse
        MGSV (not exclusive but new)
        Dark Souls 2 (not exclusive but new)
        Sunset Overdrive
        Dead Rising 3

        I"m not including Forza, Quantum Break, Battlefield 4 because they've been shown in some form, and Below is an indie, and the majority don't "care" about those.

        Again, opinions on those games is a different story, but in terms of showing of new and exclusive stuff, MS had them beat with ease. Why this surprises people, I'm not sure. Microsoft has a history of nailing launch lineups/windows and Sony is the complete opposite.

        The PS4 will still end up with great games.

        Last edited 11/06/13 5:06 pm

      Um, no. The original XBox and the 360 have been my main consoles since the XBox came out, but the Xbone has completely turned me off. Sony's conference was basically the Xbones funeral.

        I don't think the Xbox One is dead. It will still sell extremely well and it has some great features (except the whole used games/DRM issues but these don't concern me too much). The war is far from over.

        It's always low hanging fruit to bash something vocally on the internet and once one person gets on board, a lot of other people like to jump on the same wagon holding pitch forks and torches. It takes more guts to say you like something or to point out positive aspects. I like the Xbox One and I like the PS4.

        I was blown away by the PS4. But I was always going to buy both new consoles anyway. Both have their pros and cons.

          Yes, there are some exclusives for the Xbone that I'd love to play, but I never will because of the draconian measures they've put in place on the Xbone console, namely DRM, Always have Kinect plugged in, Online at least once a day etc etc.

          I don't know about you but I want to be able to keep all my games and not have them instantly turn into a worthless pile of rubbish when the servers get shut off.

          Yes the PS4 has cons I'm sure, but they would be very minor compared to the Xbones.

            Agreed. I totally understand this.

            These issues just don't concern me too much, I never really move my console, never trade in games and I'm always connected to Xbox Live. The counter argument to a periodic registration check is "what's wrong with just playing with the disc in?", and I don't have an answer to that. I am acutely aware that when I buy an Xbox One, I'm buying into this. I accept that, because I can take that DRM hit to take advantage of their cloud functionality which I'm a big proponent of and incredibly excited about. I've always been an early adopter of new technology. I think it's better to encourage innovation even if it fails, than to criticise it.

              "What's wrong with just playing with the disc in?"
              Well if they all run off the hard drive you can just pick up the xbox and take it to an event/a friends place and you have your entire library (or what's installed) with you, you don't have to take all those discs with you.
              It's not something many people would do very often though.

      You've got to be joking right? You obviously left the conference after 1886 was shown. Your totally nuts.

      Sony pwned MS in all cases today, the games Sony showed were all awesome. Just because you don't like indie games, doesn't mean that they were an awesome showing, something that MS didn't do themselves, and is just another way that Sony pwned MS.

      Basically what you are saying, is that you are a MS fanboy who turns a blind eye to anything that Sony says. Cool, enjoy your Xbone. We'll see you again if and when MS decide to put up a fight for this generation.

    i have an xbox one pre ordered, 2 games and extra controller but im seriously considering cancelling and pre ordering the PS4. I have owned a PS2 before but i didnt like the controller. I brought an xbox 360 as my next console and loved the controller and xbox live but that PS4 controller looks alot better than my PS2 ever did. The thing that has me thinking is this preowned games/ borrowing games thing and the fact you need to log in every 24 hours (i doubt the machine powered off in sleep mode would be considered "still connected"). I dont always play my xbox day in day out so what happens if i go away on holiday or something? Pre owned games dont bother me but what happens when i want to sell my new xbox and get the next xbox after that? i wont be able to sell anything and either keep it or throw it away?? As i sure wont be footing the bill to allow someone to buy my used stuff and nor would someone buying a used console want to pay more money. My friends have xboxes so what if i want to lend them a game and they dont have xbox live so they arent on my friends list to allow me to let them borrow the game licence to play on their console? Serious MS this is bull$hit!! I have Xbox live till June 2014. But get your act together and get rid of these restrictions and lower your price to PS4's. THEN i may consider staying. I give you 1 month.

    Last edited 11/06/13 3:05 pm

      Lower their price a whole AU$50 to match Sony's bleeding money undercutting of them? Why?

      Mate if your friends all have xbox's but don't have internet (live)... Maybe you shouldn't be friends with them... You realise it's 2013? If they don't have internet in their houses, buying a new XBOX should be the last thing on their list of priorities...

        only 2 of my mates dont have xbox live and they have the internet they dont care about playing online let alone paying a subscription

        I have xbox but I have no live. I like using PS3's free multiplayer lol. Now that is changed that I need to pay either way. I'll choose the one with my favourite games. PS4

      did you not think before you pre ordered?

        i preordered incase of limited stock. can always cancel a preorder. its a no brainer.

      To put it simply, that won't happen. It is too late for them to change the restrictions and price now. and they DEFINITELY won't in the next month. They have had plenty of time to change it before E3, but they did nothing.

      Certain agreements would already be in place with publishers for the restrictions.

      I had a Ps1 because thats what i got given as a child. By the time i was old enough to make my own decision i went with Xbox and it was a FAR superior machine to the Ps2, particularly the Xbox component.

      When the 360 was first announced i was on that like a hobo and a $50 bill (for lack of a better description). Again they had Xbox live (which i have now been apart of for 10 years) were cheaper and they had the games, better multiplats and everything else i wanted, the Ps3 was dead in the water. This continued until there were enough Ps3 games for me to justify buying (Almost all rpg's) and I haven honestly sunk very little time into the machine, even now I wonder if it was worth buying because of how much focus my 360 gets.

      I Am an Xbox fan, Microsoft revolutionized the console market with Xbox and only now, 10 years later has Sony caught up.

      Despite all this I still want an Xbone, almost out of blind loyalty.The controller (fuck dual shock that thing is awful, new one could be good though), my online Persona, my friends everything is tied to the Xbox and yet right now I have the Ps4 pre ordered and will be picking it up day one. and not the Xbone. They don't have Draconian DRM they aren't screwing with used games they actually showed VIDEO GAMES that aren't cod blops halo dog and still In the back of my mind im hoping beyond all logic that Microsoft gets rid of its anti used games stance so i can justify buying their machine instead.

      My point in all this is if me, a 100% loyal Xbox fan has fled the system clearly Sony is doing something right and more than anything they deserve gamers money, Microsoft does not.

    You've gotta be kidding me right? Sony absolutely hit Microsoft in the nuts with the price and the no DRM, but I don't think there's any doubt MS stole the show with games. The best games shown on the PS4 were multiplatform titles. But here's the exclusives for Xbox One I counted (not sure if I've missed any)

    Below
    Crimson Dragon
    Dead Rising 3
    D4
    Forza
    Halo 5
    Killer Instinct
    Minecraft
    Spark
    Quantum Break
    Ryse
    Sunset Overdrive
    Titanfall

    There's a pretty solid mix of safe bet sequels and new IP. I don't think anyone would argue that Sony out did MS in the games department.

    Last edited 11/06/13 3:18 pm

      How, exactly can you count Minecraft as an Xbox ONE exclusive?

      While that is an impressive list you've made, I do want to point out that between now and the launch of both the Xbox One and PS4 there is an event called the Tokyo Game Show. Sony usually has a presence there very similar to the presence they have at E3, so I would not be surprised if Sony reveal a few more titles for the PS4 there (some Japan exclusive, some international)

      Microsoft on the other hand has always struggled with the Japanese market, so i doubt they'll show anything at TGS that they haven't already shown by that point, if they even have a noticeable presence there at all. . . basically what I'm saying is it is highly likely that Sony still have a few cards up their sleeve to reveal at TGS, while Microsoft understandably have put all their cards on the table at E3

      How many of them are confirmed exclusive?

      and how many of them do people actually care about?! Seriously, Sony showed exactly what people wanted, and the games people love. only blind people can think that MS won the conferences.

      The only shooting games I like are ones with Rpg's mixed in and (old gears) so when i look at this list it has literally 1 game i would consider buying maybe 2 in an extrodinary circumstance.

      Panzer dragoon was AWFUL, sequel is the same thing.

      Dead rising was awful, both of them. Clunky un-fun poor level design everything. Just because "ZOMBIES" doesn't make it a good game, its a safe bet this one will be just as bad.

      Halo, spark, quantum, sunset, titan are all shooters, might consider 1 if ALL my online friends had it.

      Ryse is the only game I liked, but i liked it 3 years ago when it was first shown. Name a game that had extended Dev time and changed generations that actually was impressive? (its maybe 1/20 chance).

      Don't like fighters or driving games and pfffft mine craft is a rehash.

      So what exactly is supposed to "knock my socks off here?" Granted this is just my tastes but im not alone. I'm a hardcore gamer who buys 100+ games a generation, how is there not a single launch title for me to buy? Because its all frat boy bro gamer tv sports cod halo offerings, there is no diversity. Microsoft seem intent on alienating as many gamers and potential buyers as possible.

      There is no way any impartial person can look at E3 and say Microsoft "won", its just delusional.

        If you think Somy had better games, far be it from me to argue with you.

          It was less Sony are better rah rah, than sony has a single game that i want to buy day 1 that the xbox doesn't. I know My tastes are unique and usually considered "niche" but the point was Sony gave me something for that where are Microsft only offered more of the same. Both have shooters both have the driving games and the fighters and what not, its the added diversity sony brang that Microsoft didn't. That is what makes the difference.

          When you add no DRM or anti consumer policies, the fact that PS plus will now be superior ( as far as i can tell) To xbox live gold with 1 free Ps4 game PER MONTH. Microsoft lost in almost every single front when looked at from the neutral perspective.

            Well it's a good thing the console wars aren't fought at E3 then isn't it. The war is fought at retail. There's so many factors you can't anticipate from a press conference. Sony for one will be taking a HUGE hit on hardware selling at that price and it's going to hurt them. And who knows what the future brings, how does Microsoft's system for sharing games with up to 10 people work? How does the TV stuff pan out? Will MS introduce a heavily discounted console subsidised by a Gold subscription (as it's been heavily rumoured). Imagine if Microsoft killed it at retail by selling the Xbone for $200 with a 24 month plan. At that point, does DRm become irrelevant? What happens with digital distribution? If digital distribution takes over as the primary form of buying games, you know Sony has DRM on those right (not to mention that you can't trade in or lend digital games either). How do the consoles fight with Gold vs PSN? Sony has thrown the first glove slap and hit MS square in the balls, I won't disagree there. But this is the opening punch in a boxing match that will last years. You can't call the outcome after the first punch.

            I've been playing games since they came on cassette tapes and I've seen E3s come and go, trust me when I say the war is fought at retail. The proof is in the pudding. E3 is a giant pissing match but I wait for the sales to come in before I make my judgement. Let me point you to last generation's E3. People laughed dismissively at the Wii and foretold the demise of Nintendo. The PS3's conference was considered such a failure that people literally wrote songs about the death of the Playstation brand but that didn't stop Sony from getting to where they are now. You just never know what the future holds and what cards each company has yet to play.

            Last edited 11/06/13 6:09 pm

        Sounds like the big reason you didn't like the games ms showed was because you don't like many games (I mean fps and driving simulators are huge and very popular genres on all platforms).

        Calling Spark a fps though really misses the point of the game by a wide margin.

        Also I'm not sure how you can argue there was no diversity, because there really was quite a bit. And has it occurred to you that there might be a reason they showed a few fps games? Like they are incredibly popular with gamers?

        huh? panzer dragoon on the Saturn was fucking amazing

    $50 to customers is HUGE. if sony can sell me a product like they did at E3 and have it $50 cheaper than its main competitor then i would certainly consider a PS4 for a $50 saving which i could then put towards a game or another controller.

    I think the Xbox One line up of games seemed pretty good. Ryse, Below, Killer Instinct, Project Spark and Sunset Overdrive looked interesting. Ohhh and a new Star Wars Battlefront!!!!! Sony from what I saw primarily had multi platform games though Kingdom Hearts 3 and FFXV should be interesting and popular. Good to see both having a good line up.

    Well,I look at that XBOX list posted above, and the Sony list looks good to me:
    GT6
    FFXV
    Kingdom Hearts 3
    The Order 1866
    Watch Dogs
    Bungie's Destiny
    Drive Club
    KillZone
    Infamous 2nd Son
    and the Indie Line-up make the PS4 attractive to me, as does the obvious developer love and support Sony is showing, the self publishing and titles in the wings make the games outlook pretty much a wash between the two companies to me. I have been an XBOX guy since the original black beast launched, but at the moment the PS4 is on my list and the ONE isn't yet.

      Watch Dogs and Destiny are both on Xbox One too you know.
      I don't think anyone knows if FFXV is a PS4 exclusive or not.

    Both consoles look fine to me and there are enough games to justify grabbing both guise stop fighting.

    The point that Evan makes that I take from this is the same one I've been wrestling with since they said they'd have 16 exclusives at launch. Where were our exclusive games in the last 2 years of the 360.

    In 2010 there was Crackdown 2, Alan Wake and Splinter Cell Conviction, since then unless it was a Kinect party game almost everything has been either Halo, Forza, Gears of War or Fable. We were loyal customers - where the hell were OUR EXCLUSIVES, OUR NEW IPs.

    I see a new Killer Instinct game, that's great, Rare has a tonne of IPs you could have multiple developers working on, why do I think we'll see Killer Instinct, maybe one other original game, then once the console has it's first major price drop they'll be back to targeting the family crowd and Rare will be back on the Kinect treadmill.

    The last 3 years of Xbox 360 has seen a situation where Microsoft Executives thought that exclusive DLC is somehow some kind of substitute for original games development.

    I'm happy that they've seen the light and have invested in some truly exciting things, I think Insomniac's game looks fantastic (I can't wait for the focus-group approved version), Remedy have my respect after the fantastic Alan Wake and my kids were salivating over that project Spark , thing is - it's too little, too late for me.

    I will ride out what's left of this generation with my 360 then probably get a PS4 when the price comes down from it's lofty perch. And hey they give you two free games... that you probably already own!! I know I owned both Halo 3 and Ass Creed II at one point before trading them (yep... trading them, now I'll get them back for free! Something weirdly poetic about that!

    http://au.ign.com/wikis/playstation-4/PlayStation_4_Games
    Total of 58

    http://au.ign.com/wikis/xbox-one/List_of_Xbox_One_Games
    Total of 46

    As long as the list from IGN is accurate, i think we got a winner

    From the previews I'm not getting an XBone. Not even feeling an X-semi.

    Did you guys even watch the PS4 announcement? Sony said over 100 games in the first year, 40 of which are exclusive. TGS is coming, and you'll surely see a lot more then.

    ALSO
    STOP
    SAYING
    TITANFALL
    IS
    EXCLUSIVE.

    It's on PC. I don't care what bullshit M$ tries to pull, 'EXCLUSIVE' means on your platform only.

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