The Xbox One hasn’t had the easiest time since its announcement back in spring of 2013. Confusion around the console’s functionality, damaging statements from certain members of Microsoft’s staff, and the fact that the PlayStation 4 raced out ahead at an unpredictable pace made the first year pretty rough for this newest machine.
Instead of giving up, the team over at Xbox pressed on by making major changes to their newest product and working day and night to deliver a clear, consumer friendly message. Yet, even with them putting their best foot forward and executing a complete turnaround, they still struggled to claim ground within the Big Three of Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony.
After some price drops and a few smart exclusive moves, the future started to look a bit brighter for the green machine, but they still couldn’t get that edge. At E3 2015, Microsoft and the Xbox team showed off one of their strongest (if not the strongest) line-ups yet, alongside amazing new tech, and the announcement of backwards compatibility, and it was all well received to say the least. But there was one major problem: they weren’t the only company presenting, and they didn’t get in the last word of the night.
Although the Xbox conference was absolutely amazing, the night closed off with nostalgia tugging away at the industry and its fan’s heartstrings. There were many huge announcements from other companies that stole some spotlight from what the Xbox was trying to accomplish. Gamescom presented an opportunity to reverse all of that, and provide Microsoft the chance to make a strong statement while minimizing the chance to be one-upped by their closest competition.
Of course, with an opportunity as grand as this one, Microsoft and the Xbox team needed to pull out all the stops. We’re talking huge exclusives, world premieres, bundles, and everything else that makes consumers and fans smile. After all, they were stepping into a territory that has been dominated by their strongest direct competition (the PlayStation) for what seems like forever. And you know what? They brought it, they brought it all.
The Xbox Gamescom briefing started with games, and not just any old software mind you. Fans have already seen quite a bit of everything slated for later this year, so the briefing kicked everything off with what was in store for next year instead. Quantum Break, Scalebound, and Crackdown 3 all received some much needed attention. They were noticeably absent at E3 2015, and were in pretty high demand. Showing them first gave Xbox One something that is invaluable to a console, a tangible future filled with variety.
After Quantum Break going dark for so long, it was amazing to see some fresh, highly impressive gameplay in action. Not only that, but further insight into the time-centric narrative and the antagonist’s motive was presented as well.
Scalebound showed off a lush, beautiful world where dragons fight alongside humans in an attempt to overthrow evil. And Crackdown 3 brought back the open world mayhem of being a modified officer in a city rife with crime and social decay. Three big, AAA experiences debuting at Gamescom to much applause. It was a strong move for Microsoft.
They also made sure to remind everyone of the huge AAA experiences that were already unveiled by providing new in-game footage, as well as more info regarding the upcoming Xbox One games. Indies got an equal chance to shine as well during the [email protected] segment of the briefing. This showing, just like the last few Xbox presentations across previous conferences this year, was once again dedicated to the games – a message that was lost two years ago.
One of the biggest talking points of the presentation concerned the new Windows 10 ecosystem that would benefit gamers on both console and PC. Sony always boasts about their ecosystem whenever given the chance, and I honestly can’t blame them. Having multiple platforms able to deliver a singular experience is an amazing feature. Handhelds, phones, TV, PlayStations, and even computers all created one flowing system that made life much easier. Xbox had SmartGlass already (which is an amazing app), but they needed a new way to connect devices and services. Something where the gamer never misses a beat.