Well, that was a waste of 90 minutes. You’re probably wondering how I could hate a conference that showed SO MANY GAMES!
One would think with all the games, there’s a ton to be excited about for Xbox One owners. Why am I mad, you ask? Iet’s break down this conference, and you will see why the this year’s E3 briefing like the prior one is a smoke and mirrors show.
Trailers, and gameplay footage was broken down into a few categories
Microsoft Games Studios: Microsoft did away with the “Exclusive”, and “Console Launch Exclusive” categories. These are games that are exclusive to the Xbox family of systems. These games won’t be seen on any other system, ever (To be fair, they said that with Cuphead; Look where we’re at now). There were roughly 14 of those which seems exciting, but we’ll do a breakdown of this later.
World Premiere: This is where things also get rather misleading. Especially when after some of these trailers, developers from those studios come up on stage to give Microsoft the equivalent of the fellatio that got Bill Clinton impeached (too soon…). World Premieres are first looks of games that Microsoft paid out the ass to be shown at their conference first. These games made up a good chunk of what was brought to the presentation and at times tended to be the real show stealers. All the world premiers have no exclusivity and will be available on many other platforms when they launch.
Let’s break down the exclusives.
Bleeding Edge: This is the first exclusive title that is the result of Microsoft’s acquisitions from last E3. It’s a 4v4 melee title.
Ori & The Will of the Wisps: This game was teased last year, and got more gameplay footage with a release month of February 2020.
Battletoads: New gameplay was finally shown for this. Sadly, there was no release date.
Phantasy Star Online 2 (Timed Exclusive): This one was a huge surprise. This game had been out for years, but Sega was always silent about their plans to bring this game state side.
Halo Infinite: We got a cinematic trailer with no gameplay. This will be a project Scarlett launch title which we will get to in a moment.
Gears of War 5: Another Cinematic trailer as well as one of the team members to talk about a bunch of new modes.
Gears POP: The mobile game no one asked for…
The rest of the titles were expansions to games that are already out and indie titles.
There was an Indie sizzle reel with a bunch of games. Sadly most these games are already coming out for other consoles.
Game Pass was talked about. Most of the games shown were games that would be on Game Pass day 1. This conference seemed designed with sell Game Pass. For those under a rock, or aren’t hardcore gamers, or Xbox fan boys, Game Pass is a subscription service that allows you to download and play over 100 games in the Game Pass Library. It is essentially trying to work its way to be the Spotify of games. About 30+ games from this briefing were games that would be available on Spotify day one.
Among these games were some major reveals like the release date for the highly anticipated Cyberpunk 2077, the reveal of another Tales title, and a teaser for a game written with assistance from George RR Martin (FINISH THE DAMN BOOKS ALREADY!!!!)
With so many games, one would have to assume that there is much to be excited about for Xbox owners. You’re sort of right; there is much to be excited about, just not this year. A bulk of the heavy hitters don’t launch until 2020, presumably the holiday season. Until there isn’t a terrible amount to fill the void that can’t already be played on a PS4, Nintendo Switch, or PC.
It should also be noted that all the Microsoft exclusives are playable on PC which begs the question, is there any good reason to own an Xbox One in 2019? There were some solid titles, but not ones that will make people run out and drop money on an Xbox One today, or this holiday season.
During this conference, Phil Spencer talked about plans for the future. He talked about project xCloud, and it’s ability to allow you to play anywhere. He also played a teaser video of devs getting excited about the next gen Xbox as well as some specs. They all dream of a future where loading screens are a thing of the past. They also claim that the console is still the center of their vision. Is it really though?
Microsoft appears to want to fight this war on a number of fronts this next generation. From console, to PC, to mobile phone, there’s no escape from Microsoft. Microsoft did everything BUT give me a reason why the Xbox is the best place to play games. Microsoft has done little to make me feel good about the purchase of my Xbox One in 2014, and the purchase of my Xbox One X last year. Cuphead was a great thing to brag about before it went to the Switch earlier this year.
Aside from having the most powerful 4k console on the market, there’s no compelling reason to own an Xbox One, or One X. You can play all these games, and more on PC with a much higher fidelty. The cost of entry may be higher, but it’s a better experience in the long run. There’s no good reason to own an Xbox.
Most of my fun this gen has been had on either a PS4, or a Nintendo Switch. Microsoft’s whole smoke and mirrors game is to show a bunch of exciting third party titles, and throw some of their exclusives in there. The third party titles once again carried the show. Microsoft is a company with little faith in their exclusives. Sony’s show last year may have had fewer games, but 80% of them were exclusive Sony titles.
Microsoft may have a powerful console in the form of Xbox One X, but they’re severely lacking games. People don’t care about graphics as long as they have good games. Nintendo has proven this time and time again. 2020 will mark the beginning of a new console generation, and Microsoft needs to hit hard next gen with some spectacular games as well as a reasonably priced console. Sony won’t be at E3 this year, but know that they’re making moves in silence. You can bet your ass that E3 2020 is going to be Sony’s finest hour.
Microsoft has so much to do in the next year to prove that they’re worthy of our living rooms. Sadly, they didn’t do a good job this year. Microsoft has proven that they’re just as irrelevant as ever. If Microsoft can’t make a compelling case for their next gen console, then it will be time to invest more into my PC.
Flemmings Beaubrun is an avid gamer and lover of music. When not working, Flemmings likes to spend his time whipping up dank beats for the masses. He also spends his weekends thrift shopping for rare video games and obscure electronics. Other times he’s in front of a TV with a giant bowl of cereal enjoying shows from the 90s.