Microsoft E3 Conference roundup

E3 is without any doubt a gamer’s favourite time of the year, especially if they happen to live close to where the expo will take place.

I will have to speak for myself in saying that, living in Malta, E3 for now is nothing but a massive dream. Someday I will be there, but that day seems very far away. Until then, I’ll keep on streaming every conference and every breakdown show I can – when I’m not at work anyway. Not that I have values, it’s just that they wouldn’t tolerate it (so much so we don’t even have WiFi).

E3 started its conferences with an average one from EA, where the highlight of the night was when whoever was presenting mentioned the word “free”, as well as seeing quite a number of football players talking about Alex Hunter. It definitely was pure concern, and nothing to do with money. Anyway, yesterday it was Microsoft’s turn to try to wow the crowd. It began with a bang, unveiling the so-long called Project Scorpio, but it bombed hard when they revealed its name. Xbox One X. Seriously Microsoft? Apart from not being a very appealing name, Microsoft should have seen what effect adding a simple letter will have on a new console’s release. The Wii U was a totally different offering from the Wii, yet casual gamers and normal people who do not follow gaming closely have been thinking all this time that the U was simply an enhancement or an accessory, like the Kinect is for the Xbox 360. Having also already a very similarly named console in the Xbox One S, Microsoft is seriously risking to compromise their sales figures to the uninformed. Moreover, it is also the smallest Xbox ever, so that will not help either.

On the other hand, to the informed ones like me and now you, the Xbox One X is a portal to gaming nirvana. 4K Graphics. 12 Gigabytes of RAM and an eight core processor. That’s all you need to know so you can soundly tell yourself to sleep. Jokes apart, 4K was rarely, if ever, seen in gaming and being able to behold titles such as Metro Exodus (MY GOD THE BEAUTY) and Forza 7 was incredible. Bringing things into perspective is even more mind boggling. I, for example, watched the conference on a Full-HD TV, the resolution of which is 1920x1080p. The intended resolution of, say, Metro Exodus is 4K, which is twice as much. As impressive as this is, we still have yet to experience the first game in 4K, and after the previous E3s where demos were amazing but the actual games were almost half the graphical quality (I’m looking at you Far Cry 3 and Watch_Dogs), it’s best not to get too hyped. Still, even if it is as clear as my TV showed it, I’d be very very happy to play it.

At the start of the conference it was announced that 42 games will be making their appearance in the briefing, and while I honestly do not remember them all, there were moments worthy of anticipation. Assassin’s Creed Origins, one of gaming’s worst gaming secrets, looks great. It was not received very well it seems since there was a lot of criticism, but I enjoyed what I saw very much. What did not have bad criticism was the demo shown for Sea of Thieves, which definitely was one of the showstoppers of the event. I think it was the loudest reaction from the crowd, apart from when Xbox compatibility was shown. I am not an owner of an original Xbox, and neither know of any game which was on that platform, so it wasn’t that much of a great news for me, but for older gamers who probably cherish their Xbox memories fondly, it was definitely a great announcement.

Last but sure as hell not least, there was Anthem. The game was teased in EA’s conference a day before, and the trailer was already very promising. Microsoft chose to end their conference with a gameplay trailer of the game, and oh my it looks amazing. As a massive fan of another MMOFPS, Destiny, I was instantly awestruck. The mechanics look solid, the graphichs are incredible and the gameplay looks as good as a game can get. Unfortunately, I cannot try the game and tell you myself about it, but from the glimpse which we got, I am definitely impressed.

That concludes my round up of Microsoft’s E3 conference. It was great, full of what we hoped for: games. Triple A games, a couple of indies as well, but most of all the promise of making new experiences for ourselves. That, ultimately, is the big aim of gaming, and why this marvellous industry exists.

P.S. Here’s a quick thought from Josh:

Overall, Microsoft did a solid job. As Chris states they duly delivered with the content they’re releasing on the Xbox One X, which I think is actually quite a nice name in opposition to Chris’ hatred of it. One thing I didn’t like though was the price. I mean were they joking? You’re looking at paying out over £500 for a bundle with games on launch day, and that doesn’t include the price of the 4K TV you just went out to buy to really let the Xbox One X show off what it can do. They say it will still improve the picture on a Full HD TV, but what’s the point in buying a top of the range console if you can’t push it to its limits. I think if this isn’t revised before its launch, then they could be handing the inferior Sony console a massive boost in terms of their sales just because it’s a much cheaper option. Get your act together Microsoft. Rant over!

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