E3 2011: Grading Microsoft’s Press Conference
How Did Microsoft Do In Their State Of The Gaming Console?
As E3 is wrapping up, we’re getting lots of great game coverage and peaks at distant titles. But the real meat of the event came from Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo’s press conferences. How did they do? Well, let’s take a look at the good, bad, ugly, and then tally it up. Before we go any further… these articles are about the press conferences only, not the meetings going on behind closed doors or the demos on the show floor.
Going into Microsoft’s press conference, no one really expected much from the company. Sure, they had Gears of War and Forza 4 on the horizon… but really not much else. Oh, and that Kinect thing.
Well, we got both those games… and not much else.
To be fair, Gears and Forza both looked pretty good, but didn’t really add anything new to the table. The opening demo of Modern Warfare 3 proved to be quite impressive, but also didn’t really resonate because it’s not really an exclusive.
Then came Kinect… and boy was it painful to watch.
The child actors were bad enough, but most of the games looked downright sluggish. Star Wars Kinect in particular looked like a painful and frustrated experience. Not one did the lightsaber controls look slow, but the fact that the character actually ran towards enemies on their own is going to be an immense source of frustration. By the end of the demo, the game ended up looking like a poor man’s Jedi Outcast.
Admittedly, seeing Mass Effect 3 was fantastic, but the actual Kinect integration felt a little shallow. Saying the responses on the dialogue wheel seemed to be unnecessary and time consuming compared to simply flicking the control stick and pressing A. The squad commands seemed much cooler for the fast and loose play style, so that’s a plus. However, for players like myself that like to pause with the power wheel to look around and assess the situation before assigning strikes… the voice commands don’t hold any value. Still, for combat, there’s a decent reason to use Kinect.
The games aimed at children did a decent enough job of moving in on the Wii’s territory. The Sesame Street game in particular looked like a great choice for parents to play with their children. Ryse holds a certain amount of promise, but after seeing the Star Wars demo it seems like a nearly impossible prospect to pull off without making it an on rails affair. Obviously, we’ll have to wait to hear more, but there’s too little on Ryse to make a real judgment when the rest of Kinect’s line up is so underwhelming.
The announcement of the search function integrating Bing and Kinect could actually prove to be pretty useful for the interface, so that actually managed to impress. The problem is… who really wants to spend the money on Kinect when that’s the device’s most useful function? Furthermore, the early announcement of Microsoft putting their version of cable on X-Box Live is HUGE and could be real competition for Netflix. Though we didn’t see the details of the coming service, it’s something to be excited about.
Sure, at the very end we got a pretty Halo 4 trailer… but the general execution of the unveiling really became too little too late. Yes, the trailer was cool, but it didn’t really show us anything to be excited about other than the return of Master Chief. The Halo Anniversary addition is also nice, but it’s something we knew about for months.
The Verdict: The Microsoft Press conference was exactly what we were expecting, only more painful because almost none of the Kinect demos looked good. If this is their attempt to win over the hardcore crowd for Kinect, then they hit the ground with a lifeless thud. The cable announcement is a rather big deal, but will only really come into play in the coming months. While there were a few decent demos… the press conference was a mostly lifeless and boring affair with a few cringe worthy moments.
Tomorrow, we’ll put up our grade for Sony, followed by Nintendo. In the mean time, agree, disagree? Let us know what you think of Microsoft’s press conference!
Aaron also writes reviews and editorials on his site Media Rushes.
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