My Microsoft E3 Grade
Well first off I'll say I am an avid Xbox 360 fan. I own all the consoles however.
Like most Microsoft fans I was looking forward to hearing about project Natal, now named "Kinect". I actually like the new name better then Natal.
So the Microsoft conference started out nicely for me, the COD Black ops trailer and in game footage was nice. I have high hopes for this game, especially after MW2 let me down so much. The exclusive map pack deal was a nice touch as well.
Metal Gear Solid Rising really impressed me, I know it's multiplatform but whoa! It was looking good. Sometimes the Multiplatform games are better then the first party games IMHO, and this one's looking great.
Gears of War 3, what else is there to say. 4 player co-op, amazing graphics, even improved on the Gears 2 ones. We get new characters, new mechanics, the ability to give each other weapons, female Gears, new enemies, this game is of course going to be amazing.
Halo Reach, this game has exceeded my expectations since the Beta. I loved the look. It reminds me very much of Halo combat Evolved. Your back to fighting the Covenant, which is the way it should be. 4 player co-op, new game modes, weapons, vehicles, abilities, looking like a great campaign and oh did I mention Space battles? Bungie always does a good job and this is shaping up to be the biggest game released this year.
Fable 3, the Fable series has always been a favorite of mine since the amazing first game on the original Xbox. this one looks amazing and the way you import your character from the last game is impressive. I love the idea of your decisions effect the outcome, this is more hack and slash, but plays a lot like Mass Effect series.
Forza 4, The Forza series is my favorite racing series, they use officially licensed cars, and offer real time damage. It's the best racing sim and the new features that work with Kinect look fantastic. The detail on the cars, the ability to sit inside them and look around. It's looking nice.
Codename Kingdom, now there wasn't a whole lot on this one other then it is an Xbox 360 exclusive from Crytek, the makers of Crysis 1 & 2. The promo looked pretty sweet though and I'm sure I like other gaming fans will look forward to more information as it comes available.
On to Kinect, I knew Microsoft would be pushing this a lot today, so I wasn't surprised at the attention it got. Well deserved attention even if the device isn't geared towards hardcore gamers. Sure I would have liked to see a few more titles aimed at the hardcore crowd, but I look at Kinect as Microsoft's "Soft console" launch. I see Microsoft using Kinect the way Nintendo used Wii, pretty much using motion controls to sell this device as a new console. See consoles don't have to have state of the art graphics, were in an age of "Entertainment" more then anything else. So Kinect in fact is the next Xbox.
Many of the games didn't interest me, but I could totally see myself playing them with some friends, tossing back a few brews and having a good time. I would like to see some hardcore games to give them a try with Kinect. The fact is Kinect just isn't geared for the type of gamer I am, it's not for the people of this site or any gaming site. It's going to appeal parents, grandparents and casual gamers alike. Does that mean hardcore fans wont get it? Of course not. I will get it. Why? The show blew me away, I love tech and the voice commands, controller free options really impressed me. As a whole, I've not seen Move or Wii follow movements like Kinect did today.
XBL improvements, I am a huge sports fan, I love ESPN as well, so mixing the two and having so many sporting options on Demand and having it free to XBL Gold members is really a big deal to me. So bravo on that one.
Now comes the heavy hitter, the Slim Xbox 360 with built in Wireless N and 250 gig HDD. It's looking super Sexy, I love the design, very Alienware and very hip and fresh and new. This combined with Kinect is why we wont see a next console for a few more years at least.
Now some people were upset about the Microsoft Conference, I pretty much expect just this. They had more games to show, Crackdown 2, Kameo 2, Ninety Nine Nights 2. They just didn't have time to push new hardware and all these games as well.
Personally, I have had a hard time getting all the 360 games this year, so I am kind of glad I wont have to worry about getting a new game a week or whatever, because combined with the hardcore exclusives, there are a lot of third party games I want as well, MGSR, COD Black Ops, Medal Of Honer, Crysis 2 etc..
anyway, Halo Reach and Gears 2 will tide me over a long, long time.
I think some of the Sony or Nintendo fans that are talking smack on the Microsoft show will have a slightly different tune after tomorrow. Sony is going to heavily push 3-D, mostly because they have billions invested in the technology and cant afford for it to flop. Also expect as much time devoted to Move as was devoted to Kinect. As for Nintendo, they are launching a new 3DS, so a lot of their time will be for that. Not saying you wont see games, but new hardware or a add on are always going to take a lot of time.
Now was the Microsoft E3 conference a success? I think so. The new Slim Xbox 360's are sold out everywhere and #1 on Amazon right now. At my local Gamestop they were doing a lottery just to get the chance to buy one. They said to expect a 3 month or longer wait. So Microsoft is clearly seeing a big rush on their console right now. I am personally seeing PS3's going up for sale and older Xbox 360's going up for sale for cheap on Craigs list and Ebay. I mean CHEAP too. It seems the Slim Xbox 360 is just what the doctor ordered and now a bad price for what you get really, Wireless N is the top you can get and is only available on the new Xbox 360.
I was a little disappointed we didn't get a Kinect price today, but I suspect we will get one after "Move" has a price point. The $149 speculation was wrong and even though Gamestop put it up as that, there reasoning was they needed some kind of price on it in order to accept pre-orders and they were getting a ton of them today.
According to Aaron Greenberg on Twitter
"No Kinect price announced yet, retail price estimates are purely speculative, final price & pack-in details are not yet determined."
We are also seeing the current 360 prices slashed, $99 arcades and $179 elites, so now is the time to buy a Xbox 360.
I still believe we will see a Kinect/Slim 360 bundle for $250. They want to compete with Wii and that price point will let them do that.
Was the day perfect? no, but I think it was successful and will help Microsoft cement themselves into a second place finish this generation. Kinect could very well be the next big thing.
I don't expect a lot of support for this blog here, but this is as unbiased as I could be. I will give grades to the other two big contenders tomorrow.
To those saying they expected a price cut with the new slim 360, I think you got one. I mean I know a lot of people who wanted a 360, but couldn't afford to get one and then a Wireless N as well. Which sells for $100 on it's own, bringing the total to over $400 for an elite. Now you get 130 more gig in HDD space and Wireless N for the same price. Everyone I know is trading up and trading in. So people thinking Microsoft messed up need to look at the big picture. I know most Sony fans are "hoping" the Slim Xbox 360 doesn't sell well, but bottom line, it will probably sell as good as the Slim PS3 did and maybe even better, Plus there are around 2 million current Xbox's out on shelves at really reduced prices. I think This is a great step for Microsoft.
Overall on the day I give the Microsoft Conference a B