E3 Press Conferences, What Does Microsoft Need to Do?

Don't call it a comeback...

by

Microsoft's E3 press conference last year was overshadowed by Sony's direct response to the Xbox One's online requirements and used game restrictions. But Microsoft has had a strong year, and the company is making every effort to ensure it isn't an easy target for attack at next week's E3. The PlayStation 4 may be ahead in raw numbers, but after reversing the system's most unpopular policies, charting sales that outpace the Xbox 360 during its launch, and even announcing the release a $100 cheaper Kinect-free version, the Xbox One is well on its way to success.

And the things that wouldn't play well at E3, like Microsoft's television programming plan, are already out in the open, leaving the company free to focus on what the fans demand: games. But will that be enough? In this editorial, GameSpot's editors discuss what Microsoft needs to address at their press conference to ensure that they're on track to pull ahead of the competition in the coming year.

The Presser - Kevin VanOrd

Microsoft has backtracked on its dedication to the Kinect, but the company still wants to sell its much-maligned peripheral. At this year's E3, Microsoft must convince us that Kinect is a vital part of its ecosystem, in spite of having revealed a cheaper Xbox One that will be sold without it. And for that to happen, Microsoft needs to reveal the killer app. Sony has already relegated Move to the children's table and focused on Project Morpheus, but I can't imagine Microsoft jumping on the VR headset bandwagon just yet. No--they need to convince us that we still need a Kinect, and doing so requires showing us what makes it so awesome outside of workout apps and inconsistent voice-and-body navigation. It's tempting to think that Microsoft will overlook Kinect in light of its upcoming Kinect-less system, but I bet it will find its way into the spotlight. The problem? I have no idea what that killer app would be.

Of course, Microsoft's primary tactic should be to focus on the games and leave the all-in-one-entertainment-product-for-bros-and-families strategy behind. Show us games, and make them good ones. Halo and Forza are fine and all, and I wouldn't be surprised if we saw a Lionhead game, a new Project Spark presentation, and a taste of Sunset Overdrive. But to get us talking, we need surprises, exclusives or not. Get Square Enix up there to show off Final Fantasy XV and Kingdom Hearts III. Get some unannounced big-budget games up there, and show us a commitment to supporting brand-new properties. And, importantly, show us that Xbox is still a brand associated with major indies. Sony's commitment to known independent studios like Supergiant Games has paid off. Microsoft needs to bridge the indie gap, and E3 2014 is the time to do it.

Microsoft Needs Focus - Mark Walton

This time last year, Microsoft unveiled its vision for the Xbox One, and it wasn't the one that people wanted. Now, with Kinect out of the picture, Microsoft has gone back on nearly every one of its plans for the console in an attempt to satisfy its audience. That's left the Xbox One in something of an odd place. Where it was once pitched as the go-to media hub, powered by Kinect, it's now a console without a unique vision or selling point. The PS4 made its focus games; the Wii U made its focus first-party titles and the Wii U GamePad. Microsoft's press conference needs to reaffirm what its console is about if it's to instill confidence in the platform among developers and potential customers. A stellar lineup of games over the next twelve months, a better-value Xbox Live to compete with the resurgent PlayStation Network, and a slicker, less sluggish UI would be a good start. But if Microsoft really wants to win people back, it needs another Gears of War moment. A game that blows our socks off, and lets us know the next generation is really here.

Going Beyond Sony - Thomas Mc Shea

Microsoft has had to make a lot of apologies in the last year. After announcing extremely anti-consumer policies for the Xbox One, Microsoft had to backtrack before the console even came out because the anger was so high. And recently, we saw the company do a 180 with the Kinect as well. Remember when the system wouldn't even be able to work without the camera? Well, that fantasy sure ended in a hurry. But even with those two major reversals, Microsoft still has to heal their image. The Xbox One isn't as powerful as the PS4, after all, yet costs just as much, and it's not like Microsoft has established a clear vision of its future. Why would anyone have confidence in the system?

And that's what Microsoft has to earn. Show just how sorry you are for burning the bridges that were previously built to make the Xbox 360 so incredible. Overwhelm us with exciting games and fascinating partnerships. Maybe foot the bill for a seemingly dead franchise, even though it's not a big seller, just like Nintendo did with Bayonetta 2. Lower the price of Xbox Live Gold so it's at least comparable with PlayStation Plus. Remove the indie policy that demands them to be released at the same time as the PS4 version, or not at all. Though all of those steps are necessary, they aren't enough. Drawing even with Sony doesn't matter at this point. If the Xbox One is going to bring in new customers, it has to go even further. I'm anxious to see how Microsoft will try to do that.

Microsoft, Start Listening - Dan Hindes

I think there's a good chance Microsoft's press conference will be like a car wreck in slow motion--awful, yet hard to look away from. I can positively smell its desperation already; its fear that the console's recent price cut (accomplished by removing Kinect from the box) will undercut the significance of what it has to announce: a killer app for Kinect.

It's time to show us how the thing which makes the Xbox One unique can power a truly next-gen gaming experience. It needs to show us why we need the Kinect in the first place. Whether that reason comes from a first-party studio or is the result of a third-party locking themselves in a room with the tech for a year doesn't matter. And if I hear them talking about TV one more time, I'm switching off.

Microsoft Has a Shot at Rebirth - Edward Makuch

It's fitting that Microsoft's E3 press conference takes place on Monday, June 9 because that's the same day the new $399 Xbox One goes on sale. After all the missteps and 180s of the past 12 months, the Xbox One--come June 9--will have a shot at rebirth as the $100 price gap between the Xbox One and PS4 is finally erased. At E3 2014, Microsoft has a (second) chance to win over the hearts and minds of gamers, and in doing so, turn the tide in the battle for the living room.

Microsoft needs to deliver on its promise that its 90-minute presentation will be all about the games. Though entertainment usage may actually end up being the most popular form of interaction with the Xbox One like it is on Xbox 360, Microsoft needs to "wow" us with games. We already know Halo will be there in some way or another, but that's not enough. Microsoft needs to show us what a truly next-gen experience is; something that's not possible on the 80 million+ Xbox 360s sitting in homes today. That's how you drive mass adoption of a new platform, and what we've seen so far just doesn't cut it.

You've read our thoughts, but what do you think Microsoft needs to talk about at their press conference this year? Let us know in the comments below.

And For even more E3 discussion, check out our full pre-E3 series:

And for even more E3 discussion, check out our full pre-E3 series:

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Discussion

107 comments
cynicritic
cynicritic

I've been a pure XBOX 360 player this past gen but both the XBOX ONE and PS4 have left me lost. I want pure gaming with ZERO TV and App GARBAGE. Console gaming seems to be pulling a Beyond Petroleum and moving into other areas other than gaming just to stay alive. This is UNACCEPTABLE.


When I buy a gaming console I require it to actually be a pure gaming console and not an all in one, mainstream box. 

This is why I am waiting to see what Valve can do with their Steam Machines before I make my final decision. Microsoft and Sony, Microsoft especially have failed to impress me. All the XBOX 360 needed was updated graphics, if it 'aint broke, don't fix it. But even the controller has been wrecked this time.

Poor show.  

RadTad62
RadTad62

what sony and ms need to do is to give me a reason to upgrade all the games i want to play i still can on my ps3 and 360 a handfully of games dont justify me spending 399 they both have to come with something that makes me go damn i gotta play that and everything out now for ps4 and xbox one is meh but this is just my opinion

TroyTrojanGamer
TroyTrojanGamer

I will buy a X1 as soon as Halo is available.  The other games I'm looking forward to are games like Fallout 4.

gazza1995
gazza1995

well theres loads of people talking on the Nintendo forum and hardly anyone on here what does that tell you.

gazza1995
gazza1995

ms need to give up............

SEADRIVE
SEADRIVE

I for one played my 360 100:1 over my ps3...if a game was for both consoles, I would purchase the 360 version.  However, so far, I use my ps4 much more than my xbox one.  Like this article mentions and I have told students at work, Microsoft has to get past their panicking catch-up stage and come out with something amazing.  I also agree that it must be something that cannot  be done on the 360.  Titanfall is good, but not that much better than the 360 version.  If this hardware is 6-8 times more powerful, let's see something impressive.  When Gears was announced on the 360 years back I was in awe; it truly was the reason for purchasing a 360 and was amazing upon release. Nevertheless, there has been nothing yet on either new systems that comes even close.  I have Second Son and feel it's okay, but not amazing, the same actually goes for Titanfall.  It's time for Microsoft to step it up if it wishes to not become another Wii U. Sony is luckily still floating on Microsoft's personal failure from last year.  Nevertheless, similar to last generation, I wish for both Microsoft and Sony to share the market equally; competition, is better for consumers, and the game industry.


cheers,


SEADRIVE

sonic_rareware8
sonic_rareware8

Just what Microsoft needs to do, make the Xbox One have backwards compatibility with Original Xbox and Xbox 360 games.

barrica
barrica

recently i had a friend who brought its ps4 and i played infamous, fifa, battlefield and need for speed. I did like how the ps4 is built arround games and its really fast at changing profiles and between os and game but after a few hours i was done with it. Cant wait to hear for what microsoft is going to say at e3 i love the 360 but i havent been convinced onto the one yet! So far it looks like the best console is the ps4 with an xbox one remote.

memenotu
memenotu

MS will not make a comeback this gen.

Even if they actually do something crazy like come out and admit that their "vision" has failed and they are no longer going to push it, the entire system is built around it and cannot be recovered. The One will never be a gaming console even if MS decided today that they are not going to make a single thing for the media portion of the system again.


There is no way to repair all the damage they have caused between the company and all the gamers they pushed away. They may get a few of them back, but not all, not this generation. The PS4 is always going to be vastly more powerful due to the design being for video games first and not choosing vastly outdated slow memory with low bandwidth.

mastalin1
mastalin1

Am I the only person who watched both press conferences and saw MS talk about games and introduce new IPs for 1hr and 15 minutes then show like 5 slides at the end? Then watch Sony introduce a bunch of multiplats of which AC4 was their longest spot then 4 sequels to existing franchises and 25 or so slides that looked like they were made in office 2007 with just a blue background and white words for the last half an hour. Slip in you have to pay to play online now and that tv segment and they somehow "won"? I don't get this community anymore everyone complains about games yet no one cared about anything except policies, maybe I'm just odd. Also for reference I have both systems before all the idiotic "you're obviously a fanboy" responses. I love video games not corporations.

flashn00b
flashn00b

I think what everyone wants Microsoft to do is to auction off studios and intellectual properties.


...and then some prepubescent cynic buys Battletoads for a dollar because he hates humanity.

sizzlingdviper
sizzlingdviper

So much for Day one adopters splashing out £429 for a system with a now pretty useless Kinect,when we told it was the Dogs doo dahs ! But now use about as much use as a chocolate teapot.

I sold my Day One Xbox because of this reason,feeling totally disillusioned with Xbox One.

But I still enjoy my old Xbox 360.


soulst0p
soulst0p

There was a time when Sony's policies were all about proprietary formats and unilateral consumer policies, and Microsoft was the "we can work with anybody" choice.  Oh, how the worm has turned, as they say.

Blk_Mage_Ctype
Blk_Mage_Ctype

What they REALLY need to do is stop holding their first party exclusives for ransom in a desperate attempt to sell more Xbox Ones to a crowd that just plain isn't interested/will never realistically buy one and start releasing their games on the PC as well. 

Seriously, all they're accomplishing is cheating themselves out of more money.

Super_C
Super_C

"...I can't imagine Microsoft jumping on the VR headset bandwagon just yet. No--they need to convince us that we still need a Kinect..."


They're going to announce their VR implementation requires Kinect to facilitate in-game motion tracking.  2 birds, 1 stone.

MAXAM999
MAXAM999

Let the moneyhatting begins $$$$ *cha-ching*

PixelAddict
PixelAddict

I'm just a gamer looking forward to seeing great stuff about games.

Is that so wrong?

kingcrimson24
kingcrimson24

Hmm . well . Xbox had a really good show last year actually . they showed more exclusives than Sony , there was Ryse , Dead rising 3 , Titanfall ... and overall it was a great show BUT those stupid policies Ruined everything and Sony killed Xbox by using them . 

but this year , there isn't anything that Sony can attack on ( well , the only thing is resolution ) this year its all going to be about games and games only . if microsoft manages to have some new IPs OR reboot of some of their old games ( like Perfect dark or jade empire ) then they can win this E3 .

and I believe they have some good surprises . I mean , they are going to show 3 of their Big exclusives outside the conference ( Quantum Break , Sunset and Forza Horizon 2 ) . that makes me wonder what they are going to show at the conference .  if its something more exciting than Quantum Break ... then hell its gonna be a great show !

LucentWolf
LucentWolf

Microsoft needs to reveal the killer app. " Speaking of killer, and app... Let's kill this fu cking app sh it! >.< Uuuuugggghhhh, we aren't 12yr olds of the tablet age here. GAMES, they're freaking GAMES!

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

I swear to god, Gamespot has run this exact same "What does Microsoft need to do?" article 3 times now.

cherublvl99
cherublvl99

I can't imagine how brutal would be the win for Microsoft if they realese those classic titles from Rare like Project Dark and Banjo Kazooie, and a new Batletoads game. 

cynicritic
cynicritic

@TroyTrojanGamer Bethesda RPGs only work on PC. The consoles can't perform console commands to fix all the bugs they keep leaving in them.

cynicritic
cynicritic

@SEADRIVE Well to be realistic, only a total n00b or fool buys a Console in the first year... 

TacticaI
TacticaI

@SEADRIVE Agree with everything in this post, 100%. The big 3 really need to show out this year. I'm enjoying the PS4 a bit, and with Forza Horizon 2 coming, I now have 3-4 reasons to seriously consider getting the One sooner rather than later, but where are the killer apps?

cherublvl99
cherublvl99

@memenotu - While you was typing this comment 5 indies realese for Indiestation 4

northArrow
northArrow

@mastalin1 The thing is, Microsoft's policies were so bad last year that I completely lost interest in the games. Even if they did show off more games, it wasn't worth putting up with the higher price, weaker power, DRM, paywalls, always online and Kinect for. 


Microsoft has finally got rid of the the garbage I wasn't going to put up with. This is the first year I'll actually care what Microsoft has to say about the Xbox One

rem234
rem234

@mastalin1 I 100% agree, i watched both ones. And i get why people were mad at microsoft, but they said all the games were at E3 last year, and it was pretty much 99-100% games. Then Sony came up and their talk was mostly rhetoric and hey here are a few things, and  a lot of media. 

Then they said oh and we are 100% cheaper. So everyone was like, OMG that was the most impressive sony E3 ever. And i am like, what? Are we watching the same thing? Yes its cheaper, yes thats good, but what?

KSSuperhero
KSSuperhero

@mastalin1 Its spin at its best and gamespot is just like any other media outlet in that regard. Ive got a PS4 and a X1 and I play me X1 alot more then the ps4 because its got better games at this time, and by looking at Sony's e3 list thats not gonna change next year either. Xbox may make up a lot of ground just off their games if they play their cards right because that's what is gonna sell systems in the long run its the games. Most the people that buy a console in its first 6 months are the fanboys and hardcore who have to have the latest and greatest. The average consumer who will make up the biggest portion of sales will be later and it will be based on what games that catch their eyes not cpu's,framrates, and resolutions.   

cynicritic
cynicritic

@PixelAddict If you really are a true gamer simply after games then wait with the rest of the intelligent, true gamers and see what Valve has in store with their Steam Machines later this year. 

McGregor
McGregor

@cherublvl99 Just thinking "battletoads" makes me want to ram my head into a wall...but of course I'd still play it. That game was impossibly hard!

memenotu
memenotu

@A8ADD0N @memenotu Yep, I am the one crying when MS is the one hurting...lol, the hardcore Xboxers remaining have it so bad their minds turned to projecting their systems problems onto people with no issues!

mastalin1
mastalin1

I game on PC as well and their policies didn't bother me it seemed like steam in its infancy and I was fine with that. I haven't been disconnected from the Internet for years and DRM has been on every system since we entered the CD age. I have a family so the Kinect is great for is doing things together. I also have the PS camera and my kids use the Playroom. That's just me though. As far as weaker power goes my PC could eat both systems whole spit them out and never have a frame drop while playing Planetside on Ultra. The only thing that matters to me was what I can play because at the end of the day I need games or the system and it's policies or lack thereof are meaningless.

mastalin1
mastalin1

Yeah it didn't make any sense to me. I was going to buy both before either announced price because I love video games and I'm fortunate enough to have the ability to without hindering my real world responsibilities. But I came out of the conference with the " so what am I going to play?" In my head and to me that's a bad thing. I hope Sony comes out with their big guns because I like my PS4 but the indies and free to plays I already have on PC and that's not enticing me to turn it on more. They don't have the "oh we aren't MS" card to play this year so it will truly be a battle of games and when that happens we the consumers win.

mastalin1
mastalin1

Yeah, most consumers will buy what's cheapest, what they have already, what their friends have and what has the game they like. Usually in that order. I've never heard someone ask for a console resolution or framerate. Both consoles will eventually max out at 1080/60 so arguing about it now is idiotic. I love games and honestly my Wii U gets more runtime then either my X1 or PS4.

PixelAddict
PixelAddict

@cynicritic ...

Yeah, because only true gamers will wait and do no gaming whatsoever until Valve does something.

Makes total sense.

memenotu
memenotu

@mastalin1 And yet sales numbers are out for May today and the Kinectless price drop of the One not only did NOT increase its sales, it DROPPED MORE...

The PS4 sold TWICE as much as the One and the Wii U combined.


So, your biased BS means nothing.

rem234
rem234

@memenotu @mastalin1 The kinectless system is not out yet. Its not our until this month. So i don't know why you would expect numbers to go up before its implemented.

mastalin1
mastalin1

You mean the Kinectless bundle that's not out yet? I'm not sure how you sell something not released but ok. Also when does the game sales figures come out? Can I play sales figures on my vita? Can I play sales figures the game on my PS4 ? Does it have exclusive content? Also if owning all 3 consoles and both handhelds makes me biased I must not know what that word means.