E3 2013: What we want to see from Microsoft's press conference
With Microsoft’s big E3 press conference just around the corner and a promise of games, games, and more games, all we can do now is wait and speculate on what MS will reveal. The Xbox One reveal is still fresh in our minds, and with that, a whole host of questions. Microsoft has a lot to answer and a lot to prove after a reveal that spent more time on TV than games and created more confusion than clarity. I have things I’d like to see most, and I’m sure many of you do as well. Here are my top five hopes for Microsoft’s E3 press conference; feel free to share your own in the comments section below.
Those 15 exclusive games!
From what Microsoft is saying, it seems like their conference at E3 is going to be a nonstop buffet of new games. We’ll probably see games from third parties, but what I want to know about are the 15 exclusive games Microsoft has boasted about. Specifically, I want to see the 8 completely new franchises they intend to launch with this new console. All the features in the world won’t mean a thing if the new Xbox doesn’t have unique games to back them up. With very little shown so far, and not much to get thrilled about on Sony’s side, it seems the ball is in Microsoft’s court to truly wow us with the next gen.
A PlayStation Plus-style incentive program
PlayStation Plus has been an amazing value for subscribers, with a new handful of games added every month -- good games! You could conceivably subscribe to PS Plus and never buy a game again. Xbox Live Gold has felt a bit more like a gatekeeper, keeping those unwilling to cough up the dough away from services like multiplayer and Netflix. Sony’s counterpart is much more of an incentive, and if Microsoft wants to compete they’d better offer a similar value if they’re going to continue charging $60 a year on new consoles.
Proof that they won’t snub indie devs (and companies like Valve)
Microsoft has pledged support for independent developers going into next gen, touting tools and sponsorship for the small guys. That said, Microsoft was a bit of a brute with their handling of indie devs on 360. They got a lot of criticism for it too. At E3, Microsoft had better address their policies, their flexibility in terms of patching and updating games, and the kinds of business models they’ll allow on their service. While Sony allowed MMOs and free-to-play games on PS3, Microsoft kept its head in the mud with the 360, only recently allowing more flexibility with games like Minecraft, Defiance, and Happy Wars. Their denial of free updates to The Orange Box left Valve angry and the 360 with a really lame version of Team Fortress 2. Let’s not do that again!
Microsoft’s biggest mistake with the Xbox One has been the conflicting explanations of their DRM check-in system. Now, only a few days before E3, Microsoft has dropped the hammer, letting everyone know the basic rules. The Xbox One will need an Internet connection to check-in every 24 hours in order verify that you’re not doing anything shady with your console. It’ll also check-in once every hour if you’re playing games on a friend’s console. Bottom line: You’re going to need a reasonably reliable Internet connection to use an Xbox One. Getting this information straight has been like pulling teeth, and now that it’s out there we’re still left with questions. How will the Xbox One handle special cases like those playing on military bases? What about the huge swathes of the world without Internet? More importantly, if PS4 isn’t going to have these headaches, why does Xbox One have to trouble us with it?
Xbox 360 price-drop/new model (Xbox One price too?)
Microsoft has said they’ll be revealing some big news regarding the Xbox 360. The console is going to get support for many years to come, and rightly so. But what could the big news be? My guess is that at the bare minimum we will see a smaller 360 redesign or a nice price drop. My crazy speculative guess? The new Xbox 360 model will be sleek and small, and double as an Xbox One add-on that provides backwards compatibility. It probably won’t happen, but a man can dream, right?
While we’re at it, how about a price for the Xbox One itself, and a release date too! Again, if you’ve got your own wishes and predictions, share them in the comments below.
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