Something about E3: Microsoft and the consumer diskinect

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[We’re not just a (rad) news site — we also publish opinions/editorials from our community & employees like this one, though be aware that it may not jive with the opinions of Destructoid as a whole, or how our moms raised us. For his E3 musing, Uber Mashu shares his reactions to Microsoft’s press conference. Want to post your own musing in response? We’re promoting E3 blogs through the rest of this week. — JRo]

Everyone knew a kid in school that would copy your homework and shamelessly try and pass it off as his own. He was a right proper little toe rag wasn’t he? What a cheeky rascal! What a right royal bastard more like. I hope he’s dead. Watching the Microsoft E3 press event yesterday, I was reminded of him and that rather unpleasant memory.

Stood up in front of the class was that same child from all those years ago, proudly showing off his stolen idea, with a hand tactfully covering somebody else’s name at the top of his term paper.

When Sony and Microsoft both announced their respective products last year, there was worry they were simply trying to cash in on the Nintendo Wii’s success. From what we’ve seen so far, it’s clear neither have failed to deliver on that promise.

With the Move, there was never any doubt about what we were getting as a consumer. Call it a sub-controller if you like, but Daddy’s still going to ask the nice man if it comes with nunchuk when he’s Christmas shopping.

‘Softy on the other hand chose to keep their lips tightly pressed about Project Natal. Whether it was intentional or not, this implied they were planning something big. With Natal’s potential only hinted at, our minds were allowed to wander and dream the impossible. This was probably a mistake on their part. When it finally came to the big reveal, we were treated to ten minutes of a guy reading from the operator’s manual.

The presentation was so poorly executed, anybody still impressed by Kinect after that embarrassing display was every bit the tool Microsoft were promoting them as.

Once the man in green had finished waving at his television set, soft in the head went on to explain how Kinect will incorporate video chat. A function the 360 already has, but with a new twist.

Now please bear in mind that outside of the press, nobody has really had a chance to see this thing in action yet. So, in order to capture the excitement of hobby enthusiasts everywhere, Microsoft actively chose to bring an already existing feature to our attention very early on. Now, I like to watch two lovely ladies engage in chit chat as much as the next man, but not one of them removed a single item of clothing. All I learned from that experience was how I can now stick a piece of bread in a toaster instead of going to the trouble of grilling it. Swings and roundabouts.

Before things could get any worse, some plonker wearing sunglasses indoors graced us with his presence on stage. Fresh off his private jet no doubt, Doyouthinkhesaurus told anybody still listening about upcoming compatible software for project plagiarism. Not one to miss a trick, Ian Malcolm made sure we all knew “…these experiences can only be found on Xbox 360”. And he said it with a straight face too.

It also became increasingly clear that Microsoft had no idea what they were doing. One minute we were watching Muscles play Gears of War 3, the next we’re treated to a moving display of affection between some little girl and an endangered species.

This mess was followed by a man with a lisp dancing his skinny rear end off. Now, I understand that I may not fall under the “Strut your funky stuff you pale white beast” target demographic, but who exactly were they looking to impress during this presentation?

The titles shown were so shamelessly copied from their rivals, it was impossible not to go red in the face with embarrassment. Microsoft’s big reveal, their ace in the hole, were a collection of games that parody the ones already found on shelves.

“Only available on Xbox 360” is not a collection of magic words. Kinect Sports is clearly a spiritual successor to the hugely popular Wii Sports. Do not insult your audience’s intelligence by telling them any different. Nintendo sold us this idea four years ago. We’ve already seen it. We already have it. We don’t need another one. They have that area of the market covered and copying their product will not guarantee you the same success. This stuff isn’t cheap. It’s a full blown investment and people have already done so in the Wii.

When pulling back the curtain on Kinect, Microsoft should have taken this opportunity to convince us just how different this product was. Instead, they chose not only to patronise everybody, but show us nothing we haven’t really seen before.

The market is about to get saturated by both Kinect and the Playstation Move on top of the already existing Nintendo Wii. By not differentiating themselves enough from an already bustling crowd, it will prove difficult not to get lost under a sea of undistinguishable faces. Kinetic’s potential means nothing if you’re too busy looking over the other guys shoulder and copying his answers down.

E3 2010 had a really cracking start.


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