Microsoft held there Xbox Games Showcase today, and there was some good stuff there. I was surprised by a few things, and I think Halo: Infinte looks great and was my personal favourite of the show.
For those who missed it, you can view the full thing here:
You can browse Xbox’s official YouTube Channel for other official videos, trailers, and summaries.
What did everyone think?
For me, as I mentioned, Halo: Infinite was the big one of the show, and I was surprised by the Fable reboot announcement. Tell Me Why and The Medium: Dual Reality look interesting as well.
I also like how they’re supporting, and releasing titles across their three platforms: PC, Xbox Series X, and Xbox One. Xbox really has moved in the direction of a brand across multiple platforms, instead of being a solitary platform.
I thought the show was fine. Certainly not great. It was frustrating because none of the games showed a human being playing a game. Even the Halo demo was a very strictly scripted experience. Either it was programmed specially or they tried it dozens of times to get it exactly right.
Only a couple of games looked interesting to me. Everwild has an incredible aesthetic, but who the heck knows what the game is going to be? Forza looks amazing, but racing games always look amazing and I don’t especially need a new one. Fable is not a game. Nothing even resembling a game was shown. This is the equivalent of that awkward EA moment where they interviewed a guy in the bleachers to announce the name of Jedi:Fallen Order. It’s “we are going to develop a new Fable.” Hopefully they don’t kill it like they killed Fable Legends (which I thought looked interesting. Sadly, if they are announcing games where development has not progressed enough to show a screenshot then it makes it unlikely that KI is in the works.
No KI. Also no Battletoads. How many years are they going to sit on that one? Is it cancelled? We’re approaching the Last Guardian territory for what amounts to a pretty simple side scroller. The time has come and gone - is anyone still interested at this point?
Obsidians games look really good. The reference to CyberPunk and the line “made the developers of games that aren’t anything like this one” made me laugh out loud and was the best part of the show. Much better than all the breathless “we’re so excited to share with you the creative vision of our wonderful team…” followed by a cryptic trailer.
Ori is an amazing game and it deserves an series X upgrade. But showing us your 144hz upgrade on a stream that was dipping well below 60 didn’t help the cause.
So that’s my rant. In summary form:
If you love Halo, it’s pretty much a given you’re buying an Xbox. The game looked good but Halo’s design aesthetic hasn’t changed since OG Xbox and it doesn’t show off the power of the machine well. Nothing they showed was especially technically impressive except everwild. None of the games screamed “oh my god, I need new hardware to run that!”
What MS continues to do well is everything other than the games. Gamepass is great. Compatability is great, “smart delivery” is a great feature that didn’t need a terrible focus group derived name.
I was watching Twitter feeds during the presentation, and a LOT of people were literally excited that PS5 will be the winner, due to the exclusives…
Seriously, what people don’t realize, is that the hardware doesn’t mean as much as it did in the 90’s.
I believe MS understands this (Nintendo certainly does), and thus not pushing flashy exclusives like Sony. Instead they are creating an ecosystem for gamers through Xbox Game Pass. I believe every one of those titles they showed will be a part of Game Pass.
Now even Destiny…
This is a huge win. You pay your low monthly subscription charge and you get all of this.
I believe, much like Disney +, Netflix, and HBO Max, is the future of movie watching, Xbox Game Pass and it’s like will be the future of gaming.
I will pass on this years launch consoles due to lack of personally interesting exclusives. Killer Instinct would have me locked in for a pre-order this fall, but alas, Microsoft shelved it like a bunch of dumbasses. Battletoads looked like a Nickelodeon cartoon so hopefully they scrapped it or reworked it from the feedback. I wish someone would do justice for TMNT and Battletoads already. A studio like Rocksteady comes to mind. Halo is the same old :yawn:, Resident Evil 8 is first person, etc… I’m a grouchy old gamer these days.
MS is fighting the last war. They are following a script to win the XboxOne PS4 generation. They are going with “we have the most powerful hardware.” And looking at the data from last gen, none of the launch exclusives sold particularly well. The best selling game was Call of Duty on both systems. So the data shows that people are mostly updating to get improved visuals on games they could already play on the machine they currently have.
The problem with this strategy is that it doesn’t make for great marketing. If they come in at a price even $50 less than Sony I think they are in it for sure. Hopefully they didn’t miss that part of the discussion.
As far as the fanboy wars, I doubt that winning the war on Twitter has any meaningful relationship with sales success. Most of those fanboys are relying on mom to buy the console.
Interesting, because that’s exactly what I was expecting: a game “show,” not a game “demo.” I expected trailers, some showing gameplay, some simply CGI, and the purpose of the event was basically to show what games are coming to the platform at launch, and beyond.
Yeah, that was great. The game isn’t my type of game, but it was a wonderfully done trailer.
The thing is, Microsoft doesn’t seem to be pushing for hardware sales. If they were, they wouldn’t have Smart Delivery or be placing the same games on their current generation console. They’d be doing like Sony and forcing you to upgrade.
It absolutely looks like they’re focusing on Gamepass and subscriptions as their primary revenue means, not hardware sales, but what they’re doing with this is giving their consumers something the competition isn’t: choice.
I can play Halo: Infinite on three primary platforms if I choose, heck, more assuming xCloud works out well.
It’s a very PC-style mentality that they’re doing, and more with the streaming stuff. I’m very keen on that direction personally.
That’s fair. But none of the trailers showed any gameplay whatsoever and half of them left me not even understanding what the game was going to be like. Even the backyard Obsidian game I’m not sure what style of game it’s going to be. Base building?
As far as subscriptions, I’m now into Gamepass for myself and my son so that’s $30/month. No question it’s a better monetization plan than selling me $500 hardware and $60 controllers where MS ends up with 5% margins or even a loss. It’s a lot of money, but I have four different screens I can use in my house (3 Xbox and 1 PC) and it’s a terrific ecosystem. I wish it was a terrific ecosystem with a few more games that I really wanted to play.
So now any possibility of an all-new Beavis and Butt-Head video game? Could there be a potential too especially due to the fact there hasn’t been a new game for those two dumbasses in a really long time now?
For Grounded, they said it was going to be a survival game, team-based. I believe this was mentioned in the post-show.
Halo: Infinite did show gameplay, as did The Medium and technically Forza: Motorsport.
For Game Pass, those games may be coming, so we’ll see in time. For me, I find the subscription quite expensive for how I play, so what I’ve done is use it for a month or so, buy a few games I want, and then cancel and simply play those games. For me, it’s more like a preview/rental service, and works well in that regard.
Not to flog the horse here, but I still don’t know what that means for me when I have the controller in my hand. And yeah, that’s okay. I don’t have to fully understand every game but it sure would help to understand more of them.
They announced things I’m interested in. Avowed in particular has the potential to be big hit if Obsidian meets AAA expectations with it.
But it’s still all the same lack of substance from previous showings. I know it’ll take some years for MS’s first-party efforts to fully manifest, but it’s always going to frustrating to have to keep waiting and wondering if it actually will in the end. Game Pass is good, but is it going to stand out when others inevitably begin to mimic it? Even streaming services like Netflix rely on exclusives and invest heavily into original programming.
Yeah that’s going to hurt. I think it’s 100% the right thing to do if Halo Infinite isn’t ready to launch. But MS pretty much has all their eggs in that basket for the Series X launch. Otherwise it’s “upgrade your hardware for your existing games library.”
The only saving grace is Sony has a pretty dismal launch lineup as well. I’m really interested to see how they are going to price these machines. If they come in at $500 I think it’s going to be a very slow launch for both companies. I also think that with two boxes to choose at launch (with disc drive or without) PS5 is going to be in a weird place.
I wouldn’t say PS5’s initial lineup is dismal. There’s no huge blockbusters but titles like Spider-Man, Deathloop, and Oddworld are fairly respectable exclusives. Though I agree about the disc drive, and I wonder how it’s going to pan out with physical retailers.