There is little debate over who "won" E3 this year: In our internal poll following the conference most of our readers chose the PlayStation 4 as the superior contender.
Sony put on a quite a strong show, came $100 under Microsoft's next-gen offering, and reassured gamers that no online or DRM restrictions or used game policies would impede them from enjoying their console. Still, to say that Microsoft has lost the battle would be underestimating one of the most capable companies around. The Xbox One launch is still several months away and there is time for the Microsoft PR machine to get their act together.
Now, imagine if you were in that hot seat tonight in Redmond. You've got a gazillion dollars to patch that hole in the wall. How would you "fix" this?
The next-gen console wars, as one PSN brand manager put it, is a "game within a game", a real-world chess battle between two longtime adversaries. Coming to E3 to watch this drama play out is one of my favorite things to witness as a games critic, and tonight's climactic turn of events was great theater. What sort of defensive strategy might comfort the core gamer to think more favorably of the Microsoft machine?
Code Yellow: Microsoft needs to add more context and value to that $499
It would be unlikely for the Xbone to magically drop a hundred dollars to match the PS4 toe-to-toe on price. What might be more realistic is to bundle in digital content that makes the system seem more robust out of the box. For example, what if the Xbox One came with a year of Xbox Gold and a handful of digital download titles of your choice? That's a hundred dollars in your pocket you get back the moment you plug it in. It's already on their mind.
Yes, the Xbox One has great exclusive franchises, but so do Nintendo and Sony. Back in the 16-bit era Sega went to the mat to justify their more expensive machine. Pick that fight and make it good. Give that loyal Xbox fan a legendary vernacular to make your case.
Code Orange: Always on DRM should be the default. Force studios to switch it on
Microsoft could side-skirt the whole DRM thing more gracefully by turning it off by default. Just as with our PCs, the capability is there -- we just assume most games don't go there.
A move like this puts the onus on companies to pick that fight with gamers on a case-by-case basis, like SimCity chose to do, and we'll pick that fight with the game maker when they flip that switch. Instead of a global 24-hour ping, make it on a per-game basis and be good about putting an ugly sticker on boxes of games that do that so we, the informed, can avoid them.
Of course, Microsoft has said their console must be online to work, but this little fib is always debunked in every shape and form. Its not like games are rendered on the cloud. C'mon!
Code Red: Add a new SKU and just unbundle Kinect, geniuses
Humor me with a sweeping generalization: Unless they're nuts about dancing, most core gamers aren't exactly wild about Kinect. I'm sure there is a bar graph somewhere that says the opposite, but its increasingly clear that merchants of doubt will produce anything for a buck. You know, the same people that told & sold you that Wii Fit is the way to living well.
Kinect, like Sony's Move controllers, are a running joke among critics. Kinects is no different than a steering wheel controller: a niche small-cap products. It's an unpopular analogy to Microsoft's people. We tell public relations this at every press event that we just want to drop our #girlwood on the sofa instead of willing our arms around, and they spoon-feed motion waggle back to us like nutritious carrots. Save it for that certain folk who may genuinely be curious about this thing.
Price aside, following Microsoft's PRISM connection people are going nuts over privacy, and with good reason. There are enough people with mixed feelings about having this device in their home, and forcing them to buy one makes the console less attractive. Instead, it is simply going to encourage the modders to hack circles around it (and you know that they will).
Just as it wouldn't make sense to add another $400 to include a Smart Glass tablet with the Xbox One, an optional Kinect is a pawn they must sacrifice in this generation if they don't have a true killer app for it (will we see one this week?).
Or they could just ride it out
Maybe I'm wrong, and they don't need to do anything at all. Maybe mainstream consumers are so poorly informed of the shortcomings of the system that pre-orders for the Xbox One are selling like gangbusters, and a vague press release sent to investors next week is all the reassurance they'll need. I'm sure its forthcoming and we'll be quick to jump on sweeping adjectives and tricky numbers when this statement hits, which again, the mainstream will gloss over until they take Timmy's Xbox to the grandma's house in the woods for the weekend.
Microsoft failed to serve up any humble pie during its press conference, perhaps hopeful that Sony would make the same draconian policies and give consumers little option in the way next-gen just is. That didn't happen, and Jack Tretton could have beat them over the head with it today in a far more brutal delivery. I thought he was pretty classy about it, and I'm sure Sony will remain humble this holiday as they prepare for Microsoft's response.
I'm sure someone at Microsoft will pound a conference room table tonight and encourage their staff to stay the course...and that will be as popular as the absence of the Windows button in Windows 8. It seems to me that Microsoft is increasingly confident that it can train consumers to adopt products and habits they're not entirely demanding, and that's the sort of hubris that will cost even the most formidable opponent its game.
What about you, what might you do if this was your console?
[img]https://i.imgur.com/JIsNh43.png[/img]Amna Umen Anyone else getting massive lag in between games of the Battlefront Beta? I'm running an AMD rig so it might be that but just want to know it's not just me.Shinta 1 hour stream of Dragon Quest Heroes.
http://www.twitch.tv/gametrailers/v/20434097MeanderBot Plague Knight is pretty rad, even when represented by mediocre artists
[img]https://www.filepicker.io/api/file/kAV8fSgTP2iNGUivBEOu[/img]Shinta Initial impressions: Chibi-Robo Zip lash is pretty damn fun so far. It's like Mr. Mosquito + Castlevania + Umihara. Controls are spot on, platforming is actually very solid so far, and the characters are about as charming as they can get. +amiibo.nanashi Question: Is resident evil nemesis supposed to start off with a toolbox that has (unlimited) ink ribbon, 250 handgun ammo, magnum (w/ammo), shotgun (w/ammo) and two assault clips, in the first room of the game?????OverlordZetta [img]https://i.imgur.com/50Gj3X6l.jpg[/img] Much want. Such need. Ow.Shinta [img]http://i.imgur.com/RylEZlJ.jpg[/img]
Can you imagine if greedy aliens stole all YOUR snacks? I don't even know how I'd handle it honestly. I don't even want to think about it.Mike Martin Great. YouTube took down my nude re - enactment of She-Wolf. Again. Fuck you Shakira. Let my art shine. RadicalYoseph BREAKING: Inner city man and "Pokemon Go" enthusiast found dead after entering rival gang's territory. "All he wanted was a Shiny Charizard!" according to an interview with a close friend. "We found him on the street, limp as a Magikarp stuck on a beach."GoofierBrute I completely forgot that Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow had an animated opening. Other than the compression, it actually looks really good today, and makes me wonder why Konami didn't commission some sort of Castlevania anime. That would have been sweet.Cosmonstropolis Gamestop has Splatoon amiibo up, if that's your thing. Totally didn't order and just cancel mine. OverlordZetta Anyone else having issues with italics in blogs? I went to save a draft, and when it loaded the post-saving creature I was working on, the entire text had been italicized and I now am unable to change it back. I've been possessed!VIRGO So that's $50 for the season pass on top of the game already costing sixty at launch, plus the monthly subscription fee for playing online on consoles. All in the name of getting the full experience! VYDEO_GEAMEZ!!BroskiTheChocobo Why hello there. My name is Broski and I am new here so be nice. I'll be posting some content over the next few days so have a read and I hope you enjoy it. Broski out. Agent9 tired but I gotta work. Would rather play more MGS5.Batthink Races have been pretty intense, and the last Moto3 race in MotoGP 14 should have been too. Emphasis on the word [i]should[/i]. The AI riders ignored infringements in the last race, meaning everyone was disqualified except me. Derp.Batthink Been playing MotoGP 14 on my Vita. A bit buggy (some menus you need to press circle to go back, then cross to select to proceed, otherwise nothing happens. And motorcycling helmets riding motorcycles in-race), but I've got the sweet spot in difficulty.RadicalYoseph Daily VGM #21 (Witcher 1) - Geralt of Rivia (The Witcher 3)
I think this theme does a fantastic job capturing the feel of The Witcher 3. Epic, but also somber at times.wutangclam Sorry to shamelessly self-promote, but I wanted to share a piece that went up over the weekend with ya'll
Hopefully it's an enjoyable read!