Lead up to E3 2012: Microsoft

Welcome, internet, to our second lead up to E3 post. Today we are going to be looking at Microsoft and its Xbox 360 and Kinect. Microsoft has had some really weak E3 showings the last couple of years because of its steadfast support of Kinect at the expense of everything else, and this E3 may prove to be more of the same. The 360 is old and they have promised that there will be no next gen console showing, and Microsoft, more than any other company, can really take it easy. The generation is almost done, and a couple of great exclusives will cement their position against Sony. As with last week we are going to be looking at what Microsoft should do, what Microsoft shouldn’t do, and what we want it to do, with the last category being more of a pipe dream style wish list.

Insert penis joke

What Microsoft Should Do: Xbox 360

The Xbox 360 is at the end of its days, but that doesn’t mean it’s over the hill. Without fail, some of the best games are released at the end of a generation. Microsoft has really dropped the ball with 360 exclusives as of late and they need to pick it up. Great showings on Xbox Live Arcade isn’t enough to show gamers that the 360 is better than the PS3; they need to see bigger games. Halo 4 isn’t enough to float the entire library, and Microsoft definitely doesn’t want to follow Nintendo’s lack of support of the Wii leading up to and after Skyward Sword. What Microsoft needs to do is showcase new games. It seems so simple and it really is. Gamers need to know that they shouldn’t just hold off until the next generation. They need to know that Microsoft has confidence in setting up big name exclusives for their system, and they aren’t simply pooling all of their resources into their next console. If Microsoft can show some new, unexpected, exclusive games, it could gain quite a bit of momentum leading into the holiday season and really push past Sony.

One game is never enough to save a system. Even if you bring in Master Chief.

What Microsoft Should Do: Kinect

If there is one thing that Microsoft has impressed upon gamers these past two E3s is that Kinect is here to stay. Having spent the bulk of both E3s promoting the technology, Microsoft is in the unfortunate position of having poured a huge amount of money into a peripheral that isn’t really that good. However, Microsoft can turn this around without the need for flash or Cirque du Soleil. All Kinect needs is a single game worth buying. I know that sounds pretentious as there are Kinect games that are fine, which many people have enjoyed, but what Kinect needs is an exclusively Kinect game that hardcore gamers will flock to. Let’s face the fact that this is unlikely, but it is what Microsoft should do. If they don’t have any games that can really convince people that Kinect is worthy of attention, then they shouldn’t press Kinect on people as that will diminish the 360 coverage. Hopefully, after two years, at least one developer has managed to figure out the technology enough to make a Kinect game that Microsoft can be proud of, but even so, the 360 should be the star of the show this year.

Have I ever mentioned that this should be classified as a hate crime?

What Microsoft Shouldn’t Do

In a nut shell: don’t do what they did for the last two years. Kinect hasn’t claimed the fanatical interest of any gamer, and its actual gaming applications are highly suspect. Even if Microsoft can showcase great games for it, it should not be the highlight. Microsoft needs to look at Nintendo’s back-pedalling on the casual gamer market and wonder why Nintendo is doing that. Like all gaming companies, Microsoft needs to respect the core, and the core doesn’t care about Kinect, or at very least, it cares about Kinect less than the 360. The absolute worst thing that Microsoft could do is just to show minor Kinect functionality for multiplatform games like its ridiculous Mass Effect 3 and Skyrim voice commands. I don’t care if they are well done. It does not excite people that a $140 peripheral can open up some useless options in a game they could have bough without it. Focusing too much on Xbox Live Arcade is a bad idea as well. These games are often great sleeper hits and highly inventive, but the last thing Microsoft needs is for people to think that no developer will take a chance in developing a full game for the aging console. Finally, although they promised, there is always a chance that Microsoft lied about the revelation of its next gen console this year. This would be a very bad thing for gamers, as many are simply not ready to jump into the next generation anytime soon.

Or I could play with real controls and have been bored of the game months ago.

What We Want Microsoft to Do

Truthfully, I don’t want to hear a word about Kinect at E3 this year. It is ridiculous that Microsoft pushed it so heavily last year. Nothing good came out of it. It didn’t change anyone’s opinion and it didn’t lead to Microsoft gaining any ground over Sony. It was like Microsoft wanted to handicap itself. Basically, Microsoft needs to stop being arrogant about Kinect and let it fade to the sidelines. The greatest coup in recent history was Microsoft’s stealing of Final Fantasy XIII’s exclusivity, and, although, everybody hates that series now (Idiots), another such move would really shake the gaming world. Exclusive DLC doesn’t matter, but exclusive games do.

Is this a little too overt?

Microsoft is in one of the strongest positions right now, but they are also fading fast. Despite their sales lead, Sony has been hammering out better and better exclusives each year and securing quality first party studios and games, while Microsoft keeps pushing its Kinect pet project. If Microsoft continues to arrogantly assume that gamers will play for multiplatform games and a handful of exclusive here and there, they could get into some serious problems in the upcoming years. Sony isn’t slowing down and Microsoft would be foolish to do the same.

– Mistranslations for the Modern Gamer


5 thoughts on “Lead up to E3 2012: Microsoft

  1. I do feel microsoft are putting the kinect above all else which means if people don't have a kinect they won;t be as fussed for gaes coming out. They have alot of nice multiplatform games out but love to see some more excluesives

  2. Definitely. Everyone has been a winner this generation with the emergence of multiplatform games as the standard. If Microsoft can throw out some great exclusives, they should be just fine.

  3. I have nothing to say about Microsoft, except that they are seriously underutilizing their talents by having them develop crappy Kinect software (Looking at you Harry Potter Kinect). The purpose of this review is to ask if you have Dragon's Dogma yet, and if so do you plan on writing a review for it. The IGN review made me sick, and I would really like to hear your thoughts on the full game since your review of the demo basically lead me to buying the game. -Still a loyal reader

  4. To answer your question, yes I do in fact have Dragon's Dogma and am currently playing through it as Diablo 3 took me much less time than I would have assumed. I will write a review, but it is a little ways off as it is a long game (damn me for insisting that I finish a game before reviewing it!), and I'm very busy with an internship. Therefore, I'll give you the cliff notes version of what I would write about it based on my experiences so far.Personally, I think the game is fantastic. Its gameplay is deep and rewarding, especially as Augments (Passive skills) can be transferred between classes, as this encourages class changing. Each class plays very differently, which is always a plus. The game is difficult, and thus extremely rewarding. It also doesn't always just give you a quest marker, and many quests require work, which is really refreshing after the Skyrim-style go to map marker, kill everything quests (Poor Skyrim, it didn't invent that). The graphics are well done, the music is a little boring, but it does the job and the voice acting is fine; although there aren't enough voice actors and all children have adult voices, which is really creepy. The story is non-existent, but in this case that isn't a bad thing. The game doesn't force the story in your face like say, Diablo 3, so a general omission of it isn't actually that bad a thing.Altogether the game does feel like a combination of many games such as Monster Hunter, Dark Souls, Skyrim, Shadow of the Colossus, and a bit of God of War; however, it doesn't come across as a ripoff. While its climbing mechanic isn't as good as SoC, and its combat isn't as weighty as Dark Souls, it brings so much more to the table than any individual game on this list. That isn't to say it is the best game ever, but it is anything but derivative. This game has the best Roman/Greek mythological monster fights I have ever seen in a video game, and that is saying a lot as I have a degree in Classics. I also wasn't fond of the IGN review for one really particular point. The characters I have built with very little time investment look much better than premade characters in other games not to mention the insanely ugly standard create-a-character. I don't understand why they though the editor was off. It is the best I have seen: simple, but detailed.In short, I think the game is great.

  5. Thank you! I honestly haven't been so enthralled with a game in quite a long while. The massive size of it alone for me was enough to warrant the purchase. As far as the story goes, I believe you can see as much or as little of it as you like, depending on what quests you choose to undertake. (I found the whole 'Investigate the Salvation' quest lines quite interesting, as well as every single wyrmhunt quest, if you have the time/patience to finish all five of them). I honestly think the IGN reviewer didn't play enough of the game to give it the credit it deserves, which is understandable but still sad.

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