Microsoft's E3 Conference Was All New Consoles And Old Video Games

I had a really strange epiphany at the end of Microsoft's E3 conference.

I am interested in Microsoft's consoles. Plural. Not just one, but two. I am not quite as excited about the games coming out on those consoles.

But let's discuss those consoles. Because god damn.

Most platform holders announce one new console at a time. Microsoft isn't playing by those rules. It announced the Xbox One S — a smaller version of the existing Xbox One console. Then, as reported pre-E3, Microsoft announced Project Scorpio — a super-powered console that renders a lot of teraflops. We know this because a lot of people said the word teraflops over and over again. Then one unfortunate soul said the words "highest quality pixels".

Be gentle internet. Be gentle.

We're about to live in a strange future. Microsoft dropped a helluva lot of buzzwords during this conference — "no limits", "beyond generations". It all seems to signal a shift in thinking, the idea of providing a more modular style of console that caters to individual needs and — more specifically — how much cash you're willing to drop. I'm not too sure how I feel about it.

I honestly felt a little bit Grandpa Simpson when Microsoft started discussing Project Scorpio. I'm old, I'm set in my ways... I like the idea of fixed generations... how many new consoles do they want me to buy, etc. By the end of the show I was honestly thinking to myself, "has there ever been a better time to get into PC gaming?" It used to be that consoles were the cheaper, safer, more homogenised option when it came to playing video games. Is that still the case?

I'm not so sure.

So as excited as I am about all that power and all those "high quality pixels", it is in a sense, pushing me away from the Xbox platform.

Now, let's talk about the games.

There were many games. Perhaps the strangest (and coolest) moment for Australians was the news that Forza Horizon 3 would be solely set in Australia. I pretty much spat out my drink when I heard the presenter name drop Yarra Valley. The trailer opened with kangaroos bouncing around like idiots, so I should have known we were in for some bonza Australian racing action.

ReCore was a game I'd practically forgotten about, but its new trailer reminded me why I was excited about it in the first place. Anything made by anyone who was even partly responsible for Metroid Prime can get right on my 'most wanted' list. I'm looking forward to seeing more from that game.

Sea of Thieves was the real highlight for me: an online pirate simulator where teamwork is required just get the goddamn ship sailing? Count me in. Just exploring this universe seems like an incredible amount of fun.

Others that stood out...

— We Happy Few looks subversive as shit. — I can't believe people are excited about a Halo Wars game in 2016. — Gears of War 4 looked a lot better this year. Was that just me?

But I can't help feeling as though it was a real light year for Microsoft. The Xbox One is starving for some genuinely exciting exclusives and I can't think of a single game shown tonight that has me thirsting to see more. There's no The Last Guardian or No Man's Sky. No mention really of how VR or Hololens fits into Microsoft's plans.

It all felt a little lackluster to be honest.

Most likely it's a result of Project Scorpio leaking prior to the event, but Microsoft's event really did feel like E3 by numbers. I had hoped for better.


Comments

    With The Simpsons thrown in half way through this, I'm disappointed you didn't grab the opportunity with both hands to call Project Scorpio, 'Project Scorpion'

    Seems like just a mediocre stuff from Microsoft conference. Bethesdas was more interesting.

      Yep. Sea of Thieves seems really lame, like a cross between WoW and Ass Creed Black Flag. I'm pretty much calling it as a flop.

      Talking about flops, I don't know what MS was thinking talking about the Scorpio at this E3. It seems like it should have waited until next year. Unless Sony is lying and Neo WILL actually be at E3, it seems too early for MS to muddy the waters with a new product that won't be released for about 18 months.

    It's never been about the games for me. Never.

    Ubisoft, EA, Square, these guys need to show me games. If E3's feeling a little lacklustre this year, then I'm looking solely at them.

    Xbox, Sony, these guys need to show me hardware and service - something that Xbox have continued to evolve and improve on, and something that Sony seem to treat with some contempt. (WHEN CAN I CHANGE MY PSN NAME SONY??). If anything, the Microsoft conference needed less games and more Mike Ybarra and Phil Spencer.

    In the meantime, I'm still waiting for my Project Scorpio-sized erection to subside.

      So on that note what do you look at nintendo for? Hardware? Software? Services?

      How bad is you PSN name?

        This E3 ... nothing. They've already said they're just showing games, there's nothing for me there.

          What, so you don't buy first party games or something? EA needs to show off games but Nintendo doesn't? Also, honestly if you have problems with the PS4 hardware then you're just nitpicking.

          Feel free to hold an opinion mate, but yours is just... weird.

            Zero problems with PS hardware as it currently exists. Zero. When compared against the Xbox, the PlayStation is, by far-and-away a more pleasurable system to play on. 2 minute game installs, a speaker in the controller, smoother graphics and (originally, not so much anymore) UI give the PS4 every right to be the market leader.

            However, let's look to the future. PS4 isn't going to be able to handle VR beyond the niche first-party titles that are being developed, and 2-3 years into the cycle, we need to be hearing about longevity of the service. Microsoft are diverging into PC gaming because they now know from experience the damage that one bad console (or service) does to the bottom line. Remember, PlayStation is really the only thing keeping Sony going, Microsoft has a whole raft of other business that will sustain it for years. If PS5, PS4K or whatever comes next isn't going to knock Project Scorpio out of the effing park, then why bother investing in the system now?

              Yes but what's the point of showing the next thing at E3? Project Scorpio is years away and most likely just a reactionary move from Microsoft in retaliation to the upcoming NX reveal. You seem to be talking about the distant future here and assuming that VR is going to completely take over gaming. The average person doesn't care much for this long term stuff - they want to see something that they can play soon and enjoy. As Keynes said, 'in the long run, we are all dead' - businesses should look towards what they can do immediately while keeping this PS5 or PS4K business in mind but not in focus - that is what Sony is doing right this E3 and that is also why I have to look at Scorpio and think 'why even announce this'.

              Last edited 14/06/16 8:34 pm

    sign me the fuck up for halo wars 2. the first was an underappreciated gem.

    Yeah but i think its a great idea.. your not stuck on an ageing system for too long, but only if you want to. Its about choice.. if you're happy with 1080p (900p) gaming on a budget then you have that option whilst being able to still play all the upcoming games. But if you want 4k gaming at a price i can only imagine will be cheaper than 4k pc gaming then you have that too.

    They aren't forcing you to upgrade.. I called this from the start when they announced x86 architecture. They can just release upgraded consoles more frequently with full backwards compatibility and no one gets left out if they are still happy with the old.

    You also seem to forget how expensive the ps3 and xbox 360 were when they were released.. not cheap by any means! Bring it on I say.

    I don't understand why everyone is upset by Microsoft releasing their exclusives on Windows 10 also.

    I think it's fantastic, more choice and power to gamers to choose where they play a game.
    It doesn't take anything away from the Xbox Console, it will still get all the same games it was always going to get.

    As someone with both a PC and Xbox, the choice to buy and play games on Console is more about the simplicity and experience unique to consoles. Microsoft is changing the game in more ways than just multiple console hardware specs in a single generation. They are now making the choice between gaming on a PC and gaming on a Console about which platform is your preferred choice based on platform features alone and not simple due to exclusive content. If anything, this is great for gamers, no one should be forced to buy an Xbox or a Playstation just to get an exclusive.

    If you want to game in the living room, with a simple plug and play console, get the Xbox. If you can afford a gaming PC and prefer to game at a desk with a KB/Mouse, get a PC. If you like to have the best of both worlds, get both. But ultimately your choice of where to game will come down to platform preference rather than exclusive lock in. I think that's best for gamers.

      I think the real issue is what is the point of having a gaming PC and an Xbone? There doesnt seem to be one.

        1080p30 graphics on the cheaper console vs 1440p60 (or higher, possibly 4k60 if Vulkan and DX12 are an indication of future progess) on the high end PC.

      I'm not upset - if I can play MP with PC players so much the better!

    Author implies the Last Guardian will ever be released, and that No Man's Sky isn't heading to dev hell.

    Sea of thieves looks neat but I think it's going to suffer the exact same problems as Guns of Icarus. There are going to be some jobs that nobody want to do and getting any teamwork out of pug teams is going to be practically impossible. Does look like it would be great fun if you could get a proper crew together though

      yeah, I thought so. "Yeah guys you stay on deck watching the beautiful blue skies and seas and shooting cannons, I'll happily spend my limited entertainment time in the drab belly of the ship, patching holes and the such!" said no one ever.

    So are we going to end up with base Xbone, XboneS, and Scorpio all out at the same time? I am assuming that they will phase out the original when Scorpio releases and the XboneS will take its place as the cheaper entry point...

    As someone who owns an Elite, I will most likely get a Scorpio when it releases but just depending on what is happening in the gaming industry at the time.

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