The Xbox One on Life Support

The Microsoft Press Conference has concluded, and it has left me with mixed feelings. There were a couple game announcements that rocked me a bit, but I’m still not completely sold. For instance, as a blind gamer, the fact that Killer Instinct is making a return is huge. Not just a fighting game that I could, of course, play, but the return of a fighting game I grew up with. That’s pretty epic, I have to say. I hate that it’s exclusive, but what can ya do there? Microsoft owns Rare, the game’s creator. So… ouch. Not a system seller, but still, ouch.

I would like to point out that they opened the show with a trailer for MGS5: The Phantom Pain. It was really long, and the trailer was good, but folks, that particular game is not exclusive. Yes, most of the show’s emphasis was on exclusives, but I would’ve thought that would be how you opened the show, rather than a multiplatform game, since multiplatform games don’t help your case.

We then went a little bit into the Xbox 360, which has a few games coming out, but that’s not why we’re here, so I don’t want to focus too much on that. Suffice it to say the 360 does have a few more games left in it.

Moving on, they showed off some Xbox One games like Rise, which to me only sounded impressive when it started. The audio during the actual combat wasn’t all that great, and I have been informed the combat itself is sort of a Quicktime extravaganza. Of course, it optionally uses Kinect, and Smartglass as well.

I don’t think I’ll go over every single game covered here, but they also showed the Xbox One’s ability to be playing one game while queueing for multiplayer in another. The person in control was playing Rise, but had queued up for a match in Killer Instinct. They got their request, which can be accepted with both voice and via the controller apparently, and I’ll give the Xbox One its due here, it switched from Rise to Killer Instinct really, really fast. It’s sad, but I sort of wonder if that was rigged. No idea. Still, I’ll admit that’s neat.

They then discussed the Xbox’s ability to record and stream gameplay, which as you may know, the PS4 has already announced. The big difference here is that Xbox One will stream to Twitch TV, whereas, (and I admit I sort of forgot this), PS4 actually doesn’t stream to Twitch, it streams to Ustream, which is a significantly less popular service. Still, what may end up happening is an increase in Ustream’s popularity, and here’s why. The Xbox One does support recording and streaming with commentary, which is good, but it’s commentary using the Kinect. If you’ve ever tried to chat with the Kinect, you know the audio is not very good. They’ll have to massively improve the mics in that thing to make that viable.

Now the big blow for me was when Respawn entertainment came to the stage. These are the folks that split from Infinity Ward, and they were here to announce their next gen title, Titanfall. Titanfall sounded freaking incredible for starters, but the big blow came when I was told the kinds of things that wer happening on screen. Imagine a game that sounds like a single player campaign, you talking to your squad before a mission begins, the drop into the mission zone, all that stuf… Except it’s not. The entire game is co-op. Your entire team appears to be composed of real people taking control of these characters, and playing cooperatively in a massive action setting which includes the ability for you to get in and out of huge mechs at will, without any loading time or anything. It really sounded like it was something. I have since heard that this particular game might not remain Xbox One exclusive forever, but that’s unconfirmed.

There were other things. Dead Rising 3 is also exclusive, which my fiancĂ© is into though I didn’t think it sounded that great. Quantum Break sounds like a big deal, but I still have to say we didn’t see enough that I really understand what it is. Project Spark, which is a creative platform similar to Little Big Planet on PS3, seems cute. Overall, it was a conference that focused on games, and it at least is making me think about it. I still have a lot of problems with the Xbox One. I don’t agree with the used game policies, I don’t agree with the connection policies, and I don’t agree with the Kinect always needing to be hooked up. Still, games like Killer Instinct, and Titanfall, make me think that maybe Xbo One can deliver on that at least. It’s very difficult to say yes or no here.

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