E3 2013: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly From Microsoft’s E3 Conference

Now that the big three have fired all their shots at E3, it’s time to take a look back and take stock of all we’ve seen. We’ll start with Microsoft, who is in the odd position of losing the console war before it even started. They’re currently standing atop their castle with a gun pointed at their head, threatening to kill themselves if we don’t go along with their used game and always online strategies. Currently, gamers across the globe are looking at each other and shrugging, and Microsoft seems to be unwilling to back down from their terrible, terrible idea. But that was all before E3 this year, as they presumably wanted to get all the bad news out of the way so they could focus on all the reasons we should buy their Xbox One at their E3 conference. Was their conference the slam dunk/home run/touchdown/hockey thing (I don’t watch a lot of hockey, okay?) that they needed to bury the PS4? No. Not even close. But that doesn’t mean it was all bad!


The Good:

  • All those sexy exclusives. Perhaps the one and only thing the Xbox One has a marginal advantage on over the PS4 are the number of confirmed exclusives coming early in the console’s lifespan. Dead Rising 3 is perhaps the biggest draw of the bunch, but games like Ryse and Titanfall look pretty excellent as well.
  • We also got a sneak peak at Xbox One exclusive Crimson Dragon, coming to us from the creator of the criminally underrated series Panzer Dragoon. It is a shooter that allows you to control and fire attacks at enemies from the back of a dragon. I’d tell you more, but if you aren’t interested by that you probably won’t be reading this anyway because you are suffering from a pretty serious case of clinical deadness.
  • D4! Another exclusive for the Xbox One that is oh so enticing. The D series has been long dormant, so this announcement came as a genuine surprise. Although this feeds my suspicions that the people at Microsoft might not be great at numbers as D2 came out a decade ago on the Dreamcast and D3 came out never. Unless you count this. It would also explain why they thought Xbox One was a good name, at least.
  • Despite all the big name exclusives Xbox One managed to secure, perhaps the one I am most excited for is Below by Capybara games. Everything that studio touches is video game gold, and despite how much I hate the hardware if Xbox One can keep getting exclusives like this then even someone who is as jaded about the system as I am might have a hard time staying away.
  • Metal Gear Solid V looked like a must buy. I know this isn’t an Xbox One exclusive but I want to play it. Now.
  • Xbox points are finally dead and will be replaced by Xbox Yahoo Fun-bucks. Oh, no, wait, they’re actually just going to use real money now because they realized this whole idea was stupid. Good call about five years too late, Microsoft!


The Bad:

  • The $499 price tag. Ouch. That puts it way over the current price of the Wii U and $100 over the price of PS4 at its launch. While they might have been hoping to win over the American casuals, this sort of price difference is going to make it tough to sway the parents that will be buying one of these for their kids come the holiday season. Perhaps if they weren’t so stupidly committed to forcing the Kinect into this package, they could’ve had a more reasonable price.
  • OH NOT ANOTHER HALO GAME COME ON. Obviously, this franchise is too profitable for Microsoft to let die, but I haven’t really been on board since Halo 3. This time though, Master Chief gets his very own snuggie! I don’t know why the guy in a full suit of armor needs a cloak, but this way when he reaches for popcorn he won’t pull the blanket off of him.
  • I still don’t understand the whole appeal of the Driveatar. Anything that markets itself as “playing the game when you’re not around” isn’t a major selling point for me. I’m only having fun when I’m there with the game. I don’t want to outsource my fun to the A.I., Forza 5. Also, if this is really meant to imitate the in-game driving of whoever owns the game, I now suspect that half of the “A.I.” I’m going up against will refuse to break, slam into walls, and quit halfway through the race because I’m totally cheating.
  • Killer Instinct is finally getting a resurrection and it is an exclusive for Xbox One, but honestly I just don’t care. I know this reveal got the biggest applause at the conference itself, but this was a series I just never cared about. I felt like it sort of went dormant for a reason, with that reason being it wasn’t very good and was basically a subpar fighter in a genre that had already reached saturation. On top of that, this game won’t even be developed by Rare but by Double Helix, a company that took control of one of my favorite franchises and spit out a soulless husk of everything I loved AND NO I’M NOT JUST BITTER ABOUT SILENT HILL: HOMECOMING STILL SHUT UP. Why isn’t Rare working on the resurrection of THEIR franchise? Well, that’s because they’ll be too busy with…


The Ugly:

  • One of those big sexy exclusives Microsoft promised a month ago ended up being Kinect Sports Rivals a.k.a. Kinect Tech Demo Part III a.k.a. Can You Just Skip This and Talk About the Next Game? It is my personal theory that Gamestop is actually the one that pushed for the end of Xbox supporting used games because they had a fear their employees would drown under the sea of unwanted Kinect Sports titles people kept trying to sell them. The extra good news here is that this is the title Rare will be working on instead of any of their own titles. Hmm…if only the Xbox One had some classic Rare title they were working on that they could throw the company’s way instead of drowning them with awful Kinect titles. Any one have any ideas?
  • Totally and completely ignoring the whole uproar about the DRM mess. Sure, perhaps they wanted to focus on the positive and keep the emphasis on all their big new games, but pretending that this wasn’t one of the big concerns everyone had is just silly. It was basically the 800 pound gorilla in the room that Microsoft desperately wanted to ignore, only this gorilla is kind of a jerk when it comes to letting you loan out your games to friends.
  • Sony’s PS4 conference. Honestly, Microsoft’s conference was pretty solid. They showed off lots of interesting titles and talked about a ton of exclusive games that were big names and would likely draw in a lot of undecided gamers…if Sony had decided to join them in their suicide pact against used games and for always on connection. As soon as Sony confirmed they would not be doing that, it left Microsoft standing all alone with their big box of crap.

So there you have it. Everything you could possibly need to know about the entire Microsoft E3 conference. If I was to grade their conference, I’d give it a solid B minus. However, since they ate their previous homework assignment and are currently refusing to turn their textbooks back in because sharing is for communists, I highly doubt they’ll end up passing the class anyway. This year’s E3 had lots of news coming from the big three, but if Microsoft keeps up this strategy maybe next year we’ll only have to cover the big two at the conference (and whatever parking lot Ouya happens to set up their hot dog stand).