Microsoft Owned The E3 Conference…Until The Xbox One Price
Microsoft kicked off E3 2013 in a big way. Gone is the dreary, first party, gimmick selling company. After a huge start with Kojima on stage, who favored Microsoft for a Metal Gear Solid V: Phantom Pain reveal, the stage was set for many middle fingers waved at Sony tonight. Dark Souls, another Sony exclusive, came a bit later, doubling up on fingers. Xbox Live gold is catching up to Playstation Plus with free games and account sharing, Crytek’s Ryse brings a pretty God of War clone, Forza takes a stab at David Cage by pointing out that polygons aren’t everything; the spirits were high in camp Microsoft.
More so than anything, Microsoft stepped away from its advertisement shilling ways and did exactly what it needed to do after they Xbox One disaster reveal: They showed the tons of exclusive features they’ll have and what games could do; all that without resorting to gimmicks. Kinect is still a part of the presentation, but it was blended in ever so softly, without cramming it down people’s throats. The creators of The Witcher 3, coming to Xbox One, said it best: They’re putting in “optional” voice commands. That’s a clever way of keeping in mind the core gamer mentality, while not denying the new technology. In olden times, the Kinect pull would have been much greater and things like “options” wouldn’t have been discussed.
Aside from what we namedropped already, there were many other titles to get excited about. As expected, Rare finally sorted out their Killer Instinct franchise and will be bringing one that looks close to the original to Xbox One as one of many exclusives. Wargaming will bring World of Tanks to Xbox 360, while Minecraft jumps to Xbox One. After Overstrike became Fuse and disappointed everyone, Insomniac is now making another over the top, bright shooter called Sunset Overdrive. Improvements for Forza 5 include AI that adapts to the player’s game style and stores it online to create realistic races, even without multiplayer. A platform title called Max: Curse of the Brotherhood is coming from Press Play and Quantum Break from Alan Wake’s creators showed some of its time freezing elements. Finally, D4 from Swery65 cashes in on The Walking Dead’s success with a cel-shaded murder mystery. All of these are exclusives.
Still not satisfied with that? Well, there’s more. Project Spark showed the great connectivity possibilities with the Smartglass service that syncs consoles with other Microsoft devices. For instance, the game can build worlds nearly instantly with simple voice commands or prompts, establish rules to the player’s whim and create challenges accordingly. All of that was presented in less than 5 minutes for a real time world creation that included towns and large scale battles on land an in air. More so, other players could assist the gameplay on the TV by issuing commands through Smartglass devices. In this case, a tablet changed the world while the player was going through it. Ok, it’s like the Wii U, but it negates you having to buy a Wii U and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There is also inventory management, map screen and most importantly, the ability to set up multiple programs, such as queuing multiplayer matches while playing a different game.
Hold in your breath and let’s do the rest in one big reading: Panzer Dragoon is back, though the sound cut out. Capcom will release Dead Rising 3 exclusively to Xbox One without color or charm. Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP gets a spiritual successor with the roguelike Below, which is also our pick for this conference. Something about Black Tusk and guns, then there were guns for the new Halo, which we’ll undoubtedly have a lot more info on later. Then there were more guns and mech suits with Titanfall. Again, all of these are exclusive on Xbox One. You already have no reason to complain, aside from that DRM business.
It looked like a perfect storm for Microsoft. Anything that had gone wrong before now suddenly was covered with rainbows and sunshine. That is, until they announced the price point: Xbox One comes out in November of 2013 for $499 or €499 for Europe. Let’s reiterate that: You’ll pay 500 Dollars as a North American resident. You’ll pay 500 Euros as a European resident. Those two things aren’t the same; not even close, in fact.
We broke down the rudimentary, inaccurate math for you, so that you can follow without having to look at too many decimals. We know we wouldn’t know the difference. Roughly taken, the difference between $499 and €499 is 1/3 or slightly above 30 percent. When put side to side, the two differ $160. That’s a steep drop for Europe. In fact, we tried to rework a price of €449, which would be a market applied for arbitrary reasons. The difference there would still be a cool $90 in favor of original American prices. There’s absolutely no reason that a $90 price difference wouldn’t be enough to compensate for differing markets, since that is the most upheld excuse for these wide price gaps. Add to that the reports of Xbox One being region locked and you also cancel out importing a cheaper box for the $160 surplus you pay if you’re one of many million Europeans. Sorry, Europe, Microsoft doesn’t care about you. It knows you’ll buy the damn thing, because of the great titles mentioned below.
We were with you, Xbox One. We really were. And then you pulled that stunt.
Let us know what you thought of the conference in the comments.