E3 2014: Microsoft’s Xbox One Presentation

What a difference a year makes. While the Xbox One console specs had already been announced, it was last year’s E3 where perceptions of the console were cemented. The online check-in requirements and mandatory Kinect sensor policies have since been reversed, but there’s no question – the entire convention was a bit of a PR disaster for the company, and their hubris has had an impact on sales.

Microsoft enters this year’s E3 in a position it’s probably not used to – being the underdog. With the higher price, high profile management changes, and the perception (however exaggerated) of it being the underpowered of the two next-gen consoles – the company needed to put the focus back on the area where both consoles are still severely lacking and where it could gain the advantage – the games themselves (especially AAA titles).

Last year the company pitched five exclusive XB1 titles that have since scored a release – the much hyped “Titanfall,” “Forza Motorsport 5,” “Dead Rising 3,” the fighting game “Killer Instinct” and “Ryse: Son of Rome”. Whilst none scored stellar reviews, most fared quite well with quite a few critics saying that “Titanfall” is the only new console game since the last E3 that has been truly “next gen”.

This year their 90-minute presentation was very much about the games with a lot of the major cross-platform games having a big presence, but quite a few exclusives also getting a look in:

Later this year in terms of exclusives they announced racing sim “Forza Horizon 2” for September 30th, and the Kinect-centric “Disney Fantasia Music Evolved” and “Dance Central Spotlight” with the latter set to boast Top 40 hits.

There were also demos and new trailers for “Sunset Overdrive” and “Project Spark”, the guys behind “Killer Instinct” displayed a cinematic trailer for their reboot of “Phantom Dust,” PlatinumGames showed off a cinematic trailer for “Scalebound,” there was a fun demo for “Fable Legends,” a brief trailer for the beautiful side scroller “Ori and the Blind Forest,” and at the very end was the first trailer for “Crackdown 3”.

There was also new trailers for third-party non-exclusive games like “Rise of the Tomb Raider,” “Dragon Age: Inquisition,” and “Evolve”.

Some of these presentations focused on gameplay over cinematics such as a four-player co-op mission in “Assassin’s Creed: Unity,” extended glimpses at “Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare,” “The Division” and “The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt”.

“LIMBO” creators PlayDead showed us haunting looking gameplay from their second game “Inside,” and there was an indie reel for games like “Techland,” “Below” and “Broken”.

Finally there’s “Halo” which got its own section. “Halo: The Master Chief Collection” is set for November 11th with all the four numbered “Halo” games on one disc – all running at 1080p/60fps. Everything is unlocked from the start, “Halo 2” will include the original multiplayer maps, and there is over 100 multiplayer maps across the four games.

There’s also the “Halo 5: Guardians” beta which will be launched with the set, along with the Ridley Scott produced “Halo Nightfall” digital series.