E3 2013 Microsoft Xbox One Press Conference: We begin at the end, where it was revealed the Xbox One would be launched in November 2013 at a price of $499 in the USA, and 499 Euros in Europe – which equates to around £429 in the UK. Pricey for a new console, although the PS3 launched at a similar price point. The Xbox 360 was cheaper, however.
And it’s there that we move onto first. Before getting on to the Xbox One, Micrsoft looked at the Xbox 360, which will be released in a new black version which apparently has a look and feel of Xbox One, but obviously looks like less of a behemoth.
It was also revealed that there will be two free games per month for Xbox Live Gold members. These include Assassin’s Creed II and Halo 3. New games include Splinter Cell: Blacklist, Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, Batman: Arkham Origins, Grand Theft Auto V, World of Tanks, Max: Curse of Brotherhood and Dark Souls II.
For me, it’s GTA all the way! However, Dark Souls II (below) does look damn good. In addition, we are promised “hundreds” of forthcoming Xbox 360 titles, so it seems the console won’t just pack up and die like you’d expect when a new bigger brother comes along, like happened when the 360 took over from the Xbox.
Then they moved on to the main event. Atop the event, came a trailer for Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain, not always my kind of series, but it has a huge following. First title amongst the main section saw a clip of Xbox One-exclusive Ryse: Son of Rome (below), where you play a Roman General, commanding a leader of men in the Roman Empire. I’m not quite sure if it’s my kind of game, but the graphics look exceptional.
Fighting gamers are accounted for with Killer Insinct, a mostly 2D actioner. I thought these had rather had their day, but there’ll always be some retro fans wanting more.
From the makers of Ratchet and Clank comes a new Xbox One exclusive, Sunset Overdrive, a new shooter that’s “not just open-world, but living world”, and which looks like a shooting game mixed in with parkour and zombies.
Driving fans will ‘lap’ up Forza Motorsport 5, although this particular title is a bit too precise and less arcadey than I’m used to. The draw distance looks very impressive, however.
Retro games will enjoy a bit of Minecraft: Xbox One Edition, while graphics take another leap forward with the amazing-looking Quantum Break. Then there’s the cell-shaded title, D4, a trailer for which gave a flavour but that was about all.
Sim-world gamers will go ape for Project Spark, where you can create worlds that are out-of-this-world in the space of a minute, all in real time and at your command. Xbox Smartglass helps enhance the experience by allowing you to change what’s on there.
After this, they showed Smartglass being a useful addition to going online with Ryse: Son of Rome, but that did make me wonder if this such tablets being a requirement in future to make full use of a game.
We also saw how Game DVR automatically records a game clip, such as one from Killer Instinct, then can be edited and uploaded with Upload Studio. However, it made the final piece look overly flashy and all over the place compared to the game moment itself, so I think I’d rather stick with my conventional way of editing footage. I don’t need instant uploads – I think I’d rather take my time.
Twitch.tv allows for on-the-fly live broadcasting of your game footage. Worth a look if you have a lot of friends who are into that kind of thing. Again, I prefer to edit and upload something more precise.
Other new aspects: Microsoft Points have been ditched in favour of using your own local currency. I wonder if this is because the cost of them on sites like Amazon really tended to vary? Whereas the Xbox 360 allowed a maximum of 100 friends, Xbox One is unlimited (although my friends list totals around… erm.. 3 or 4). Also, everyone else in your house will be able to share your Gold status, even if they don’t have it themselves.
If you hadn’t had enough of zombies already, there’s Dead Rising 3. Personally, I find this kind of game rather repetitive, but it has its followers. Another long-running series is accounted for with a new entry in the Panzer Dragoon saga, Crimson Dragon.
Fantasy RPG types aren’t forgotten with The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Again, this isn’t my type of game, but you can’t fault how it looks.
Want another shooter? Footage of Battlefield 4 was shown at 60fps, although it took a while to get started. Such is the nature of live events. However, once it did start, scenes such as the shoot-out on an aircraft carrier have to be seen to be believed, especially when planes are ‘sliding’ towards you…
What Lies Below looked a little minimalist while looking like there’s more to it than immediately meets the eye, then came footage of Black Tusk, although that was a little indistinct. A classy clip of the next Halo title – Spartan Assault – was shown, but we didn’t get any in-game footage.
I’m genuinely excited about playing many of the new titles being released on Xbox One, although I don’t need it to play all my movies and music – I have a Home Theatre PC that does that perfectly fine. If I’d really wanted such a thing, I’d have used my Xbox 360 for that, although that didn’t fare so well at the task. There’s also a new Kinect system built-in but while I have one for the Xbox 360, I’ve rarely used it because the games have been few and far between, and those that were released just weren’t that good. Shame, as I had such high hopes for a device which looked like something from Minority Report.
Finally, if you like a mech-battle, there’s Titanfall, another Xbox One exclusive, due for release in Spring 2014. There was a lot going on through the 3-minute trailer, before some live gameplay, but I prefer to battle human-looking opponents rather than robots. Online gamers will have an absolute ball with the maps, though.
You can see Microsoft’s press conference here but note that you have to fast-forward to around 35 minutes in before it starts. Throughout the whole presentation, when showing game footage, I wish they didn’t keep cutting to a far-away shot of the screen. We know what the arena looks like and we don’t care! We just want to see the gaming footage close-up and fullscreen!
Perhaps if Microsoft had focused on some games at the first viewing of the console, the console reveal might have been more plain sailing.
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.