Strictly speaking, E3 hasn’t gotten underway yet over in Los Angeles. Sure doesn’t seem that way, though, with much of the big news from the show coming out at during the many press conferences from major console players, publishers, and developers held yesterday, the first of which came from Microsoft.
Last month, Microsoft held their own reveal event where they announced the upcoming Xbox One, touting its impressive multimedia capabilities and its next-gen, cloud computing-enhanced gameplay. The event was marred by questions about used games restrictions and always-online requirements – a couple of points that were ignored during the press conference yesterday. Best as anyone can tell from the mixed messages, there will be some kind of restrictions, fees, or some other encumbrances making used games more difficult than a simple person-to-person (or person-to-Gamestop-to-person) transaction, and you’ll have to check in once every 24 hours in order to play games of any sort on the console.
Anyway, a lot of people didn’t like those tidbits, and if Microsoft wasn’t going to meet any of those issues head-on, they needed at least something else intriguing at their E3 press conference. They did that by mostly showing upcoming games, addressing the supposed dearth of game announcements at the reveal event. That included a new Star Wars: Battlefront game, as well as looks at Battlefield 4, Dead Rising 3, a new Halo, and Metal Gear Solid V. Microsoft also wanted to stress new IPs like Quantum Break, which will be a sort of video game-television show hybrid, and Ryse: Son of Rome, an action game set in ancient Rome. Titanfall, the new game from the original creators of Call of Duty, was also shown. The full suite of EA Sports titles – Madden, Fifa, UFC, and NBA Live – were also on display. It’s difficult to say how many of these will be exclusives – there’s still a lot of time for things to change, and the murky phrase “exclusive first” was bandied about freely throughout the day’s press conferences.
There was also news that Microsoft points, which were used to purchase content on Xbox Live, are being removed, in favor of direct transactions in local currencies. Current Xbox 360 owners and Xbox Live subscribers will receive two free digital games per month until the release of Xbox One, including past favorites on the console like Halo 3 and Assassin’s Creed 2. On that note, the Xbox 360 is getting a redesign to look more like the One. It’s already available, at the same $200-$300 price points for existing bundles.
The Xbox One itself will retail for $499, and, according to Gamestop preorders, will be available on November 21 of this year.