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Microsoft's E3 2013 Press Briefing: Silent But Deadly

Few real surprises reared their head at Microsoft's E3 event, but at least we know how much the system will cost now (a lot).

Going into today's press conference, Microsoft swore up and down that this would be the event where the console maker brought the games. After its tepidly-received Xbox One unveiling event, Microsoft knew it had some ground to make up with its core audience, the folks who were less interested in sports partnerships and ways to make their cable signal feed into their gaming consoles. In this regard, Microsoft did not fail to deliver, at least as far as quantity is concerned. In terms of quality? That may be more up for debate.

NEXT. GEN. HORSIES. (Also, Kiefer Sutherland)

The show did at least open with a bang, with a traditionally baffling and ludicrously weird trailer for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. The trailer was replete with the kinds of Kojima-isms we've come to expect from the franchise (bizarre asides, nonsensical character descriptions, operatic levels of weird melodrama), albeit now with the added bonus of horsies that can be ridden--stealthily, no less! Kojima even briefly joined Don Mattrick on stage to praise the power of the Xbox One, before shuffling off almost as quickly as he arrived.

Before Microsoft got too heavily into the Xbox One business, it interestingly diverged into a bit of Xbox 360 news. Namely, it unveiled a new version of the system, form-fitted to more closely resemble the look of the company's new system. The big surprise? It's reportedly available starting today. Granted, it's questionable how many people really need to be buying new Xbox 360s at this point. Perhaps this is a tacit acceptance of the fact that people will have to keep buying new Xbox 360s to play their existing libraries, after their old units eventually overheat and explode? Or maybe it was just an excuse to give the World of Tanks guys some stage time (as that game is headed to the 360).

From there, it was effectively a cavalcade of games. Crytek's Ryse was given a lengthy on-stage demo next, showing off the newly upgraded Xbox One visuals, as well as a long series of quicktime events in an ancient Roman setting. Once deemed a Kinect exclusive, it appears this is no longer the case, what with all the button prompts and whatnot.

Ryse was one of only a few games to get more than a couple of minutes of stage time. Most of the games most heavily pushed were of the expected lot. Battlefield 4 showed off a new battle sequence (after a long delay due to audio issues at the event, which plagued several other demos as well); Capcom debuted Dead Rising 3 as a darker, less overtly silly looking sequel exclusive to the Xbox One; Forza Motorsport 5 offered a genuflecting demonstration of an in-game McLaren (while also unveiling its new "Drivatar" features); and Respawn Entertainment showed off its mech-and-jetpack multiplayer shooter, Titanfall (which actually looked pretty great). And, of course, there was a new Halo game trailer (for a 2014 entry in the series), as is generally custom.

Nope, we still have no idea just what the hell is going on in Quantum Break.

All of those are unquestionably big games, but few were truly surprising. The new games that did manage to surprise were, regrettably, given little stage time. Rare's unveiling of its new Killer Instinct game was primarily relegated to a brief trailer and a stunningly awkward live demo featuring two Microsoft producers--who, by the way, were primarily there to show off new SmartGlass connectivity. Remedy's Quantum Break was given a bit more on-screen time, though the premise and mechanics of the game remain maddeningly opaque at this point. In fact, the only truly surprising new game to get a lengthy demo was Project Spark, a creation-focused game from Microsoft Studios that looked a bit like the company's answer to LittleBigPlanet. Though the demo occasionally veered into Medieval Moves demo levels of banter awkwardness, the game showed a lot of potential in its focus on user-generated content.

There were other very cool looking games too, though few of them got much time on stage at all. Insomniac's new parkour-meets-weaponized energy drinks shooter Sunset Overdrive looked patently insane (albeit in a potentially very entertaining way); The Witcher 3 trailer reminded us why The Witcher is a franchise we still care very much about; we received only a terribly teasing look at Capybara Games' intriguing new roguelike, Below; Panzer Dragoon creator Yukio Futatsugi's new game, Crimson Dragon, had a brief (and regrettably audio-less) trailer; and Swery 65's new game, D4, even got a super brief mention. Two things I never expected to hear mentioned on a major press conference stage: Swery 65's name, and the word "roguelike."

Between all those games, there was little time for system-related housekeeping. Apart from that too-long-running SmartGlass demo, Microsoft spent very little time talking about the Xbox One hardware or UI. That's fine, considering how much time was dedicated to those things at the unveiling event. That meant that news like the elimination of Microsoft Points for the new console's digital store, as well as the system's price point, were essentially breezed past. However, the slightly rushed way that Microsoft unveiled both the price and release window for the console came off a bit less like a result of limited stage time, and more a way to brush past a bit of bad news. The revelation that the system would come this November was hardly a surprise, though the price of $499 was perhaps a bit more so.

I realize this is hardly expected to be some big, millions-of-copies seller, but I would have liked more than like 10 seconds of Below footage. It looked cool!

Which isn't to say that people didn't expect an expensive console. Still, $499 definitely puts Xbox One on the high side of what was expected, and the revelation that the price had not been adjusted for European currency was a real kick in the junk for that whole audience. In pounds and Euros, that price roughly translates to something like $660. Yeowch.

While Microsoft unquestionably delivered the games today, I am left wondering if those games made the argument for the Xbox One that the company hoped for. There were big tentpole franchises, some new reveals, and some genuine indie curiosities, but at a price like $499, and based on some of the initial responses I've seen, it doesn't seem quite like Microsoft made believers out of those who took issue with the Xbox One's first presentation. Fortunately, we'll have the opportunity to see many of the games shown today up-close and personal from the E3 show floor. Here's hoping that some of these games show better in-person than in all-too-brief stage demos.

Alex Navarro on Google+
297 Comments
Edited by EricSmith

A lot of games looked dope. I'll be picking One up, for sure.

Edited by evanbower

People keep referencing the Sorcery demo, but do they not mean the Medieval Move's demo, featuring "Good job Jeremy?"

Posted by ionkinetic

Wow thats expensive, I may not be at two console guy come this fall

Edited by CrossTheAtlantic

The only thing I really thought was cool was the free games stuff (which I've really enjoyed on PSN), but then I read that it's apparently only until the Xbox One launches?

Is that the case? Because then I really don't understand giving away free games to pump people up for your new system when said games won't play on it. Oh well.

I'm curious to see what happens with Xbox Live and the Cloud. Will single player games that use "cloud power" (aka, the nice way of saying always online) require subscription to Xbox Live Gold to use or will they work only on a Silver subscription? If that's been addressed then maybe I missed it.


EDIT: Also, it looked like Microsoft paid the big bucks from some exclusives and timed exclusivity, so I'm curious to see how Sony is going to respond to that.

Edited by raynate2022

I'll keep my PC..thanks M$ for making my decision for me

Posted by Hailinel

D4 and MGSV were the only two games shown that I really have any interest in. But that price. Jesus.

Edited by playastation

Don't show any games. Internet Explodes.

Only show games. Internet explodes.

Edited by EXTomar

The thing that mystifies me is why the dodging? I understand why Microsoft didn't want to put "boring stuff" in this conference but that doesn't mean they should leave that out for their reveal let alone even talk about about the boring stuff at all.

Forget the original reveal event and go with just this stage show. Wouldn't this have been a stellar "reveal event"?

Edited by Crono11

Pretty much my thoughts exactly

Edited by Imsorrymsjackson
Edited by shawnyofthedead

Nice to see Titanfall but I'm not sure that the Call of Duty audience will get behind what looks to be a more team based objective style shooter.

Edit - And at that price in UK £ I'm out especially until this always online/DRM stuff sorts itself out

Posted by Disaya

Don't show any games. Internet Explodes.

Only show games. Internet explodes.

Pretty much.....

Posted by sofus

wow, interesting stuff. Below was the eyecatcher of the show for me!

Edited by AlmightyBoob

Waiting for sony to come out and do a repeat on the Saturn E3 price reveal.

Edited by SuperSmashSnake

I thought a lot of the games looked very bland and they looked like current-gen games as well.

Posted by datarez

What was the thing with live accounts changing per system? I missed most of what he was saying when they were talking about the xbox live gold changes.

Edited by EchoForge

Sony's move now. If they somehow just have Kaz say '$399' to punctuate the presentation and he just drops the mic after, I'm guessing applause at the presser.

Edited by Skillface

$500 isn't warranted for a bunch of stuff I'll never use (kinect/TV stuff). If they had a kinect-less package I would have considered it.

And every next-gen game that excites me is not an xbox exclusive. Welp.

Posted by devilzrule27

@alex I think you mean Deadmund's Quest not Sorcery when talking about awkward E3 press conference banter.

Edited by Veiasma

I'll get an Xbone eventually, if I don't get it at launch.

Really depends on how much Sony's console is.

Edited by Zatoichi_Sanjuro

Titanfall looked pretty good, coming to PC so that's nice.

I wonder how fired the Microsoft sound technician is? "That was good..." You are already dead.jpg

Posted by neoncion

It had some pretty good-looking and interesting games but the dudebro explosions and price were a bummer. Will have to think about this really hard. Also kinda sucks that the best-looking and most likely awesome games aren't even exclusive to Xbox One.

Posted by Milkman

This conference seems ripe for the "best thing ever or worst thing ever" internet problem that Vinny was just talking about a couple days ago. There are things I really liked (MGS V, Titanfall) and things I really didn't ($500, Ryse, LOTS of first person shooters). But already know these comments are going to be filled with "HORRIBLE MS IS DONE XBOX ONE IS A FLOP."

I think MS did what they needed to do. After the reveal, everyone asked "where is the games?" Well, here they are. Whether all those games are completely interesting, I'm not so sure. But I think there was plenty to like about what I saw.

Edited by Underachiever007

Some of these games sound cool, but I dunno man, I'm not really sold on any of these new systems yet. I think for me this will be very much like the last generation, where I didn't buy any of the consoles until a year or two after they were out.

Edited by swedmiro

Swedish price on sites right now is: 5490SEK, roughly 840USD.

Edited by DFSVegas

It's Funny, I didn't know 90% of those games existed, and I thought the system would be $599.

Are game journo's jaded, or am I not jaded enough?

Edited by CaLe

I'm surprised at how impressed I was with Titanfall. Looks much more dynamic and interesting than a typical CoD game.

Edited by Colourful_Hippie

PC/PS4 looks like the combo to have. Quantum Break (wouldn't be surprised if it goes multiplatform), Dead Rising 3 (I would bet money that it goes multiplatform), and a 60 fps Halo game are not enough for me to swallow the rest of the bullshit MS is selling.

Other than that though that conference did a fantastic job on making me happy to be on PC. Titanfall here we go!

Edited by mrfluke

MGS 5 and titanfall were the stunnners for me, i really dont get the big excitement behind the indy game but it looks cool.

the fact that titanfall isnt out till next year, means i can hold of on swallowing the 500 dollar pill till thats out.

Posted by FurieMan

The only game that i could se myself playing that I would not be able to get on other platforms seems to be sunset overdrive..

Edited by omdata

$500 might not seem like quite as much if they stopped pay-gating Xbox gold (or the majority of its features).

Still quite a chunk to ask for up front.

Edited by BenderUnit22

They had some great-looking games to show, although the amount of first-person shooters was staggering. Somehow, I was most excited for Dark Souls 2, although I wish it was a split-gen game with that late a release date.

Posted by Gordo789

There's really nothing Microsoft could have done after the way they've bungled PR for the past few weeks. Crimson Dragon looks pretty alright. Not too excited for Killer Instinct. I think a lot of nostalgic folks forget that Killer Instinct is actually not any good.

Posted by DeathInstinct

Microsoft did a good job. Can't want to see Sony's conference tonight as well. Overall very excited for next round of consoles. The jaded bug hasn't gotten me yet.

Posted by flanker22

i think people have a built up expectation on what consoles should cost due to history. $499 seems what you should expect to pay previous generations aren't the same there has been significant inflation in the past couple years.

Posted by Pie

MGS5 looked amazing but is coming to PS4 (and PC maybe maybe maybe please). TitanFall is coming to the PC. Those were the two games that really grabbed me so I guess I'm safe from wanting the one.

Online
Posted by Veiasma

@dfsvegas said:

It's Funny, I didn't know 90% of those games existed, and I thought the system would be $599.

Are game journo's jaded, or am I not jaded enough?

Both.

Posted by danielheard

Lets say you were going to put together a living room PC with a $500.00 budget. Would it be comparable to the hardware capabilities that Microsoft is offering?

Posted by fazzle

The $499 sticker shock will wear off in a few hours when Sony announces the exact same price for the PS4

Posted by sub_o

I'm impressed with this conference, not by the glut of FPS, but how Microsoft courted devs to show games like Crimson Dragon, D4, Below, etc.

Now, hopefully that Sony will have presentation as strong as this one

Online
Edited by UpInLights

Yea it was good ,but i got awkward in the middle there for a bit

Posted by BD_Mr_Bubbles

Nothing that was shown was enough to make me forgive all of the terrible decisions they are making.

Edited by Morningstar

In Norway it will cost like 865 USD.

Online
Edited by Solh0und

@playastation said:

Don't show any games. Internet Explodes.

Only show games. Internet explodes.

Posted by LoktarOgar

660 dollars

you cunts

Posted by SirLaughAlot87

If Microsoft had made better work with clearing up the whole DRM mess prior to this, this would have been a great briefing, if you overlook the near constant focus on shooters and all out action, this briefing was a great showcase for what next gen should be about; unique experiences only possible with this bump in specs, storage medium and enigma that is "the cloud".

Twitch seems like a nice feature but i surely hope they don´t hide it behind the anchor that is Gold at this point, paying for the privilege of playing online is quite 2001 no?

Oh and that price announcement? Did you feel how the cheering and clapping from the date kind of died when that 499 € reared it´s ugly head in?...Yea, kind of a "you sank my battleship" moment :P

Edited by meaninoflife42

Jack Choice?

Online
Posted by Skillface

@benderunit22: Dark Souls 2 is only coming to current gen consoles IIRC, they showed it after saying "Here's what you can expect on Xbox 360 this year"

Edited by GrumpyBob

That was a REALLY solid conference. People will bitch over just about everything these days. Hard to keep people happy. smh