In the preview to the E3 2014 Microsoft press conference (check out a recap of the press conference here), there was an emphasis that Microsoft was really going to need to do something to sell games and consoles, as they are falling further behind Sony. I’m not too certain they may have entirely solved that problem, but I can say that they presented their material in the best way I have seen yet.
Phil Spencer promised at his introduction to Microsoft’s presentation that the conference was dedicated to games. At first, as I am sure many jaded/cynical gamers reacted, I nearly rolled my eyes. Too often have we been misled into what we would actually see. And, with how some press conferences as E3 have gone in the past, it wasn’t unfair to believe another cringeworthy or poorly presented one would happen.
However, Microsoft set a new standard for how E3 press conferences should go. There was very little unnecessary talking by studio heads or others, who are often rigid and monotone on the stage. This year, Microsoft let the games speak for themselves.
As I watched. I was surprised time and again that Microsoft fluidly transitioned from one trailer/gameplay of one game to another. There was nothing to break it up with people unnecessarily joining the stage to talk about the game. There was some explanation on stage, but it was exceedingly minimal and was really the most effective way to communicate the information (like the Halo 5/ Master Chief Collection discussion).
Nearly every moment was dedicated to games, as Phil Spencer promised, which made me genuinely excited to see what was next, rather than sigh when they introduce some other old executive/ studio lead. Sometimes they are good, most of the time the people they invite on stage are not. There was a nice mix of gameplay and cinematic for sure. Of course I would love to see just about everything in gameplay, but that is obviously unrealistic.
Microsoft has redeemed themselves from their presentation last year and set a new standard that all other companies should look to when presenting at E3.
As for having something to, not “save” the Xbox One – but certainly help it, Microsoft likely succeeded with its Halo 5 and Master Chief Collection presentation. Halo is a behemoth of a franchise, and Microsoft has promised to see it all again, some of it with shiny new graphics, with the Master Chief Collection. What was most surprising about that was the availability of the beta later this year. That certainly will help them catch Sony.
The most intriguing thing they introduced was Scalebound. It may just be the fact that dragons are cool, but the game looked interesting enough that I was disappointed in the fact that I don’t own an Xbox One! There isn’t a lot to say about the game, as the cinematic trailer didn’t reveal much – other than the fact that the character in it seemed to be able to take on the attributes of a dragon and ride on its back. It looks interesting to say the least. I almost wrote promising, but then I realized they didn’t show any gameplay of it.
At E3 2014 Microsoft nailed it. They could have done little better in their presentation. Maybe the games side was a little lacking, as they did not really show off too many new things. Their commitment and time given to Indie titles was very nice as well.
All in all, I have to give Microsoft credit for a wonderful job.