E3 Conference Roundup: Microsoft

Microsoft logo for E3 Conference review

Oh, boy. It’s Microsoft again. Did anyone watch them the last two years? Microsoft have long fallen from grace, focusing on ‘better with Kinect’ than any proper video games. Now, that’s not to say Kinect games aren’t to be played or aren’t fun. They are technically proper games too, so what do I mean? Well, I mean a poorly expressed difference between the cluster of shovelware and party games that make their way onto Kinect, and the standard fare that video gaming has been for generations now. There’s no problem with the new gimmicky video games that developers produce for the Kinect peripheral, but it’s fairly evident that Microsoft are focusing far less on their core audience in an attempt to bleed more money out of the industry as they follow Nintendo’s example.

In past years, fewer exclusives and brand new IPs have been getting announced at Microsoft’s conferences. At least, none that benefit their Xbox 360 system specifically. Microsoft’s conference has been the place for third party developers to show off their multi-platform titles to try and get some hype building up. Sure, we’ve gotten the 360 exclusive Halo 4 and Gears of War: Judgement this year, but therein lies my problem. Halo 4. Gears of War: Judgement. There’s nothing truly new about this. Again, I wish to remind my readers that I have no issue with sequels or remakes – I have recently enjoyed Final Fantasy XIII-2 and I’m loving both Metal Gear Solid and Devil May Cry’s HD collections (I even plan to pick up MGS HD again on the Vita!) – but what I do have a problem with is the sheer abundance of them in exchange of brand new IPs. Microsoft have yet to announce any brand new IPs for their core audience, and even the Kinect is starting to get less new IPs as well.

Whilst the lack of brand new franchises can be correlated to the fact that the consoles are nearing the end of their lifespan, just recently Sony announced their Last of Us title, a new party fighting game and – in their own conference – Beyond: Two Souls. This generation of consoles are nearing their end, but that doesn’t mean brand new IPs cannot squeeze whatever remaining life they can out of the systems while we wait for the next generation yet to be announced. The worst part is that this is just the start of what’s wrong with their conferences.

Who aren't E3's demographic but Microsoft believes they are for their Xbox 360's Kinect
An example of the “casual” audience that
Microsoft appear to be marketing towards.

While Microsoft completely lack brand new core gaming IPs, lack focus on exclusives and focus on multi-platform games that the other systems are also going to have, and focus entirely on a peripheral that gamers are generally and seemingly not that interested in; Microsoft also forgot about video games for what seemed like a significant portion of the conference. In actuality, probably about one third of the conference was on things such as SmartGlass and ESPN on Live. This just doesn’t seem all that relevant for the E3 demographic, at all.

And then there’s the Kinect. This year, we had more focus on games being better with Kinect (spoiler: they’re not) and had only two games for the device. One was practically Angry Birds HD, and the other is probably the only game to have never received an applause at E3. I needn’t comment more, but even the Kinect is suffering from lack of support.The Kinect!

The conference was a bit of a joke. With Windows 8 being pushed and internet explorer 8 is coming to 360! Yeah. But that’s not all. Usher came out to advertise their dancing game, and they didn’t pay the game any attention at all. The best they did was show it in the background while he danced, but he was utterly out of sync and tune with it.

As a conference about a video game console, it was a terrible conference. Microsoft did little for their consumer base. They showed off the things that didn’t really matter, and forgot that they also had to have games developed. Instead, they left it to the third party developers to show off their multiplatform games at the Xbox 360 conference. Microsoft need to ask themselves why they received a spot at E3. What are they doing there? They’re there to show off their video games console. Not media centre. I remember when I wanted a 360. Ever since I got a competent PC for gaming, however, Microsoft have done little to sell the 360 to me. This was the final nail in the coffin. Their 360 is finished. Now we just need to wait a year to find out about their new console, because they’ve certainly given up on this one.