Daily Reaction: Microsoft’s gamescom 2015 Press Conference Impressions
With gamescom going on right now and Microsoft having had their briefing already, Daily Reaction is taking some of the biggest announcements from the event and giving their impressions on what this could mean for PlayStation gamers and the industry as a whole. If you haven’t had a chance to check out the presentation, you can watch it here.
Rise of the Tomb Raider and Homefront: The Revolution:
Dan: Since Rise of the Tomb Raider was originally thought to be an Xbox exclusive, many gamers have been touting it as their rendition of the Uncharted series, and after looking at the trailer at Microsoft’s gamescom briefing, it doesn’t appear to be too far off. Homefront on the other hand is a title that I saw a few years back behind closed doors and was something I wasn’t terribly impressed by, and the while the new trailer does a good job of setting the tone of the game, I think I am still on a “wait and see” mindset on this one.
Chandler: I’m excited by Tomb Raider, as I was a fan of the first one, and this one looks to be upping the ante by a significant amount. The timed exclusivity does nothing for me though. PS4 gamers have plenty to be excited for, and I don’t think it’s going to be Microsoft’s answer to Uncharted 4 like they believe the exclusivity deal was supposed to be. Homefront is the revival of a game that was a complete failure, and while it looks better than the original by far, it still isn’t really doing much to impress. We’ll be getting both of these on PS4 eventually anyway, and there’s really not enough wow factor to warrant the timed exclusivity.
Quantum Break, Scalebound and Cobalt:
Chandler: Quantum Break looks like a cool concept, Scalebound looks like a PlatinumGames title, and Cobalt is most certainly not Minecraft 2, even if it is coming from Microsoft’s acquisition of Mojang. These particular games are not ones that are driving me to feel like I need an Xbox One, but that might be because these are all not yet established franchises. Perhaps these could become the next heavy hitters in Microsoft’s lineup and we’ll be seeing Cobalt 5: Guardians in ten or so years.
Dan: Since the original announcement of Quantum Break, I had always wondered if it was going to be the system seller for me, and after the seeing the trailer at gamescom, I am still wondering. The game looks great and is probably the title I am most excited to see out of the event, but it still isn’t enough to get me to hop over the fence. Scalebound is also another game that has me curious, but there is just something about it that makes me feel like it could be a less strategic Monster Hunter, and that is what I love about these types of games. Cobalt could be interesting, but nothing I’ve seen makes me want to play it.
Crackdown and Forza 6:
Dan: Crackdown is a series that looks like a ton of fun with the right group of friends, and is something that I wish was on a PlayStation platform. Now that they are introducing 100% destructibility, I do have a few more questions that are starting to leave me wondering how everything really works in a real world environment. Will there be dynamic destruction, or will things follow a set procedure? Do to cloud based processing, will it need to be always online? Hopefully we find out more soon, as this could be a big hit for Microsoft. Oh, and Forza 6 looks like more Forza, but still not as pretty as DriveClub.
Chandler: I agree on Crackdown. It’s on my list of Xbox games I would love to see on PlayStation. The destructibility is extremely intriguing, and as an established franchise on Microsoft’s consoles, it seems like it is doing enough in advancing the series to make it not feel like a tired or expected game (like the next segment we talk about). Interesting that you note the game may possibly need to be always online with the cloud processing, as that is something that bit Microsoft in the ass before the Xbox One ever releases. Racing games do basically nothing for me, but I don’t feel like Forza 6 can quite keep up with DriveClub or the next Gran Turismo, whenever we see that.
Halo 5: Guardians and Halo Wars 2:
Chandler: Ah, the Microsoft staple franchise. Good old Master Chief and his recognizable armor. Perhaps the most well known first-person shooter next to Call of Duty, and the game that set the stage for gun-toting space marines. Now, I may sound like a hypocrite, as I’m excited for Uncharted 4 on the PS4, but I just feel like Halo has run its course, with the change in developers from Bungie to 343 in the middle of the series, and it feels like a forced and tired franchise. At this point it seems to be less of something to be excited for, and more of just something that is expected on the platform.
Dan: I currently own just about every Halo title, except for Halo 4 and the original Halo Wars. Having played the franchise since it first released, I agree with Chandler in that it has run its course and has become a casualty of its own magnitude. Much like anything that needs to improve itself frequently, it keeps getting changes that take away what I originally loved about the series. Halo Wars has never been a big draw for me, as consoles don’t really do a great job of doing real-time strategy style games, but it did have a cool trailer.
Better Xbox One and PC connectivity:
Dan: Microsoft’s idea to connect both of their platforms is a great idea, and one that I am surprised took this long. As we move forward I can only imagine that the overlap will become more seamless, and it seems that they are taking the next steps in making this happen. Better cross-play is a fantastic option, but one I do think will open up the door to new issues as you try to combine the PC ecosystem with the console one. The ability to cloud save is a great feature, and one that if done right can greatly improve an experience, but when transferring between two home based devices, I can only wonder how much usage it will get.
Chandler: As a connected person using my Google account on various devices, the Windows 10 connectivity is the feature that I am most jealous about with the Xbox One. I love things that seamlessly connect across multiple devices, and as a majority of Microsoft’s customer base probably owns a PC, they’ve got a pretty good footprint for success. Even my own newly updated, six year old Windows 10 laptop reminds me of its close association with Xbox, as it has it’s own section of the Start Menu now. Don’t forget about Windows 10 phones, tablets, or touch screen laptops, and you’ve got a vast amount of devices that can easily be connected to your Xbox One. Like I said, I’m jealous of the power of that network power. Sony, want to partner with Google?
Games with Gold:
Chandler: Microsoft’s answer to Plus has been steadily improving, and this latest announcement of the free Xbox 360 games featuring Xbox One’s backwards compatibility is great news for anyone who doesn’t have the older console. I haven’t been keeping tabs on the games that are offered in this feature, but Games with Gold now has added value proposition for Xbox One owners, and while many of the PlayStation Plus games are cross buy, there are still some games that you have to own something other than a PS4 to play. It’s still not making me rush out to buy an Xbox One, but it’s an excellent bonus for gamers on that side of the fence.
Dan: This is probably the coolest announcement from Microsoft, as I know many gamers are looking for backwards compatibility. Sadly, I am not one of them, so while I think it is great that some gamers will be able to finally play some older games on their new console, I personally like to look forward.
Fifa 16 week early access, Must buy 1TB bundle console:
Dan: It is no surprize that Microsoft has always had issues making waves in the European market, and this is obviously a move to make some headway in that space. The need to actually purchase a console to gain access a week ahead of time is a big proposition, but I do think it is a smart way to get the console into people’s hands.
Chandler: Sure it might be a smart way to get a console into some people’s hands, but let’s face it, it’s a week long exclusive and does nothing for Microsoft’s current Xbox One consumer base. This is for new customers only, the exact group of people who probably aren’t keeping up with Microsoft’s gamescom press conference. Will that magical week be enough to sway would be PS4 owners? Would existing PS4 owners grab this bundle just to play a week early? It’s an interesting strategy, but one that I don’t feel is going to do much for them overall.
Chandler: Like their E3 conference, Microsoft had a good showing. They didn’t make any missteps, but at the same time, really didn’t wow me. I will say that Microsoft has been steadily improving and increasing their footing after severely stumbling early this generation, and while there’s nothing that’s making me rush out to buy the console, I have to tip my hat to them for doing some great work with the Xbox One for the existing fans of the platform.
Dan: Overall, I think Microsoft had another solid conference, but nothing that wasn’t terribly exciting for me personally. I know being a bit more PlayStation-centric that won’t come as much of a surprise to anyone, but many of the big names here are things we already knew about, or have been waiting for. While some of the games did look cool and I’m sure some fans will be excited for some of the news, this wasn’t something that blew me away as much as I was hoping for.