Microsoft’s E3 presentation was 90 minutes of pure gaming.
Finally, Microsoft listened to its fans. Instead of droning on about Xbox One apps, “living room entertainment devices”, and other promotional babble, Microsoft put games front and center.
Just a few months after revealing a cheaper $399 Xbox One without Kinect, Microsoft devoted its entire 90 minute presentation to gaming coverage. From the new Assassin’s Creed 5 to Halo 5, Microsoft was clearly trying to win back the hearts of gamers.
You can watch the entire 90 minute press conference here or read our summary below:
Fortunately for Microsoft, their strategy seems to have worked. Here are the top 5 best moments from Microsoft’s E3 presentation on June 9, 2014.
5) A commitment to indie gaming
Today’s gaming industry is dominated by AAA titles from massive publishers. Those publishers include Activision Blizzard, EA, and Ubisoft.
That’s not totally a bad thing, because these three companies make some awesome games. However, we all know it’s bad for game development to focus on making the same game over and over again – even if the game does have different names.
That’s why a highlight of Microsoft’s E3 presentation was its recognition of indie developers. Microsoft previewed a game called ‘Inside’ which featured some of the most beautiful artwork ever seen in a video game.
Microsoft also briefly featured a diverse range of other games created through its ID@Xbox program – which helps indie developers release games to a mass audience of Xbox One users.
Yes, the focus was largely on AAA blockbuster titles. But unlike in previous shows, Microsoft found time to squeeze in information about other games as well.
4) Surprise Crackdown announcement
Crackdown is back!
We knew that announcements for the next Assassin’s Creed and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare would happen at E3. One thing we didn’t know, however, was that Crackdown was returning.
We saw a Crackdown trailer at Microsoft’s press conference. It didn’t tell us a whole lot about the game, but it was enough to whet the appetite of Crackdown fans.
Crackdown was like a crazier version of Grand Theft Auto. Players fought criminals across the city using all manner of weapons at their disposal. If you ever wanted to roam around a city feeling like a badass superhero, then Crackdown as a good game to play.
We don’t know much about this next Crackdown. It will likely be called Crackdown 3 and will hopefully fix the series’ reputation after the mess that was Crackdown 2.
3) Master Chief Collection and Halo
Halo is back – but we already knew that.
We also suspected that Microsoft was preparing something special for Halo 2’s 10th anniversary. Microsoft certainly is preparing something special and is releasing a Master Chief Collection which features all versions of Halo on a single disc.
Better yet, Halo 2 has been remastered and updated. The multiplayer gameplay and maps are exactly the same, although the graphics have been upgraded to full HD and 60 frames per second.
That’s awesome and it gives Halo fans exactly what they want.
2) The Witcher 3
The Witcher series has attracted a core following of RPG fans. It’s a dark fantasy world that doesn’t shy away from racism, sexism, and all of the other problems faced by human civilization.
This engrossing world will also be home to the Witcher 3. The Witcher 3, like its predecessors, is a graphical masterpiece and it looks amazing in early gameplay trailers.
More importantly, the Witcher 3 is the first game in the series to be truly open world. If there was one complaint about previous Witcher games, it was its use of separate zones.
An open world Witcher 3 could give the series the mass exposure it needs to compete with giants like Skyrim. The Witcher 3 was extensively previewed at Microsoft’s press conference and it looked impressive – especially beside worthy competitors like Dragon Age Inquisition.
1) A focus on games instead of Microsoft’s corporate goals
Previous Microsoft press conferences felt more like stockholder meetings than gaming conferences: Microsoft would repeatedly demand that its console be used as your sole living room entertainment device and that there were cool apps to download and you can control it with your voice and play Kinect games and blah, blah blah.
Gamers were growing tired of the constant barrage of Microsoft press release-style information. That’s why this year’s E3 2014 was such a refreshing change: Microsoft didn’t bother explaining any Xbox One features or apps – gamers already know about them.
Instead, it featured purely games. That’s a great change for Microsoft and one we hope continues at future E3s.
Microsoft needed to do something totally different from last year’s E3 – which was a total disaster. This year, Microsoft pulled off a perfect 180 and impressed gamers around the world.