Microsoft at E3 2013: our top 5 moments
14th Jun 2013 | 22:52
Come Xbox One, come all
Top 5 moments
After all the theatrics, controversy, zombies and booth babes, we're finally able to reflect on our favorite moments for Microsoft at E3 2013.
The company struggled a bit, to tell you the truth, with weird messaging on its once every 24-hour online check in requirements and used game policies. While it certainly delivered on revealing the games headed for the Xbox One, the $499/£429/€499/AU$599 looked high when stacked up against the PS4's $399/£349/€399/AU$549 price tag.
Granted, there are some features and even hardware the Xbox One comes with that the PS4 doesn't, so at the end of the day consumers who are looking for a camera included with their console may be willing to shell out the extra dinero.
But the Xbox One wasn't all there was to Microsoft at E3, so for more on our favorite Microsoft moments, read on.
1. Hands on time with the Xbox One
Aside from all the Sony-created distractions on price, DRM and daily check-ins, the Xbox One is one serious next-gen console.
Though it's priced $100 more than its primo competitor, Microsoft's offering is awash with innovations. We found it forward-thinking, screaming with horsepower, and a mighty fine game player.
Thanks to that HDMI in port, this is a true all-in-one device, and the pricey machine does come alongside a 1080p Kinect. The PlayStation Eye camera, meanwhile, is sold separately.
So when the dust settles and the console finally hits the market in November, we think consumers who decide to go the Xbox One route are going to be generally pleased with their purchase, even if it does cost some big bucks more.
2. Did somebody say games?
Microsoft delivered on its promise to talk about games during its June 10 press conference, and you have to hand it to the company for sticking to the game plan.
We got peeks at the "Drivatar" features of Forza Motorsport 5, Killer Instinct, Dead Rising 3, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Titanfall and even a mysterious new Halo title, which was revealed without a number. We should know more next year.
There was a Ryse: Son of Rome battle and talk of Sunset Overdrive, which will feature new content daily. By the end of the press conference - which also saw a McLaren P1 rise from the belly of the stage - our ears were ringing from the high-impact demos of so many titles.
If gamers were feeling slighted after May 21, Microsoft's E3 press conference should start to heal the wounds, especially with what are generally gorgeous looking titles.
3. Xbox 360 reclaims some swagger
Microsoft breathed new life into its aging console by showing off an Xbox One-inspired hardware redesign for the Xbox 360.
The console will be slimmer and sleeker while still selling for the same price as the version we've known for so many years.
As if a new look wasn't enough, Microsoft talked up new titles coming to the 360, like World of Tanks: Xbox 360 Edition,Max: The Curse of Brotherhood, and Dark Souls 2.
How the refreshed 360 fairs when the Xbox One hits the market is anybody's guess, but since Microsoft says it's serious about keeping the older system a mainstay of its offerings for the foreseeable future, we think the company has hit on the right note to do just that.
4. Microsoft loves McLaren
And honestly, so do we.
Sure it's a marketing ploy for Forza but it was impossible to ignore the gorgeous drop tops circling the blocked off L.A. lane outside USC's Galen Theater. They were eye-catching, sleek and shiny (there are those words again), and set abuzz those waiting to in line prior to the June 10 press conference.
We're sure commuters didn't appreciate the traffic jam caused by the dedicated McLaren lane, but may stuck their heads and camera phones out the window to snap a pick. And the crowd inside the theater ooo-ed and awed when a P1 rose out of the mist.
Though indirectly related to Microsoft's hardware, we appreciated the eye candy the company provided us while also pining for a raise to buy one. One day...
5. Ready and fight!
We love us a good versus, so when we got the chance to pit the Xbox One gamepad against the one belonging to the Xbox 360, we couldn't resist.
We came away with some stand out comparisons, such as the Xbox One's much improved D-pad, better X, Y, A and B button access on the new controller and, best of all, infrared sensors to contact the always-on Kinect.
All in all, the new Gamepad is much improved over the older version, so though with worries about how it will feel compared to what we're sure are warn 360 controls, fear not.
If you're a sucker for nostalgia and like to, as we do, carry around 7-year-old gamepads, you may want to start saying your sweet goodbyes now.
News and reviews from Microsoft at E3 2013
Microsoft kept good on its promise to deliver games and more games during its E3 2013 keynote June 10.
While we got a glimpse of the next Halo coming out in 2014 and titles like Forza 5, Microsoft was in a generous mood as it bestowed pricing for the Xbox One in both the U.S. and U.K., plus a release month of November. We, as most consumers do, definitely appreciate the details.
There's more to come from Microsoft and the Xbox One as the week progresses, but read on to find out what's going on with the company so far:
Hands on with the Xbox One
Sony has had a strong showing at E3 2013 with the unveiling of the PS4. The Sony gaming console features the ability to play older games, removes required daily check ins, and the price undercuts the Xbox by $100.
But the good news for Microsoft is that while all of the E3 theatrics were an unwanted distraction, the Xbox One console and its games provide serious next-generation innovations that no one else is doing right now.
Xbox One gamepad vs Xbox 360 gamepad
To the untrained eye, the Xbox One gamepad doesn't seem like a vast improvement over its predecessor. However, that's not the case.
In fact, there are more than 40 enhancements to the new gamepad, including updated buttons, tweaks and dimensions. But don't let us spoil the surprise for you.
After the Xbox One press conference wrapped, Microsoft announced a few special packages and accessories destined for to make the next-gen console a pleasure to play.
Most notable among the offerings is a pair of headsets specifically designed for the Xbox One, vital as only Turtle Beach and Polk have signed on to offer head gear so far.
Xbox One release date and price
It doesn't get much simpler than that: The Xbox One will be $499 in the United States, £429 in the United Kingdom. No word yet on pricing in the rest of world. The system will be released in November of this year.
This is a bit of a change from the Xbox 360's pricing. That system had a core version that was $299 and £209.99, while the premium model was $399 and £279.99. There was no indication that Microsoft plans to have multiple versions of this new Xbox One system.
New Xbox One Smartglass and Smart Match
Well ... not really, but it this new feature introduced during Microsoft's press conference will exert more control the Xbox One.
With Smartglass, you can play an Xbox One game on your tablet, view leaderboards, and stack achievements.
What's more, Smart Match lets you set up multiplayer games with other gamers, while you continue to play your single player game.
Hail to the chief once more with Halo for Xbox One
The Master Chief will return in another Halo game for the Xbox One. We knew Microsoft wouldn't be able to resist trotting out its flagship sci-fi shooter franchise at its E3 press conference.
It took its time, showing a video of a lone figure moving through a desert landscape. Once his tattered cloak blew back, that signature green helmet elicited cheers from the crowd. Interestingly, only the name Halo was presented, not Halo 5. Are Microsoft and game developer 343 Industries going with that stripped moniker for this new entry? Or is it all just part of a long tease? We'll just have to wait to find out.
Microsoft piles on the Xbox One exclusives
Microsoft knows that games sell systems, so its been going back to back with new titles for the upcoming Xbox One. Metal Gear Solid V, Sunset Overdrive, Minecraft: Xbox One Edition, Forza 5 and more have all been revealed here at E3 2013.
And that's not all. The PC smash World of Tanks is on its way, and Microsoft promised as many as 13 exclusive new titles for the Xbox One.
Redesigned Xbox 360 is already here
The Xbox One isn't the only one getting lots of love at Microsoft's E3 2013 press conference, today it revealed an updated version of the Xbox 360. This redesigned version of its hit console sports a sleek look reminiscent of the upcoming Xbox One.
That's not all, Microsoft also announced that Xbox Live Gold subscribers would get free game downloads each month. The Softies made sure to remind the crowd that lots of great titles are still on the way before the next generation begins. We've got GTA V, a new Splinter Cell and more to look forward to.
The company later revealed estimated retail pricing for the new 'tude console: $199.99 (about UK£129, AU$211) for 4GB, $299.99 (about UK£192, AU$316) for 250GB and $299.99 (about UK£192, AU$316) for the 4GB Kinect bundle.
The calm before the storm
We're in line for the Microsoft conference, waiting to see what's in store for the Xbox One. We've heard a lot about its media features, online connectivity, Kinect voice recognition software and Call of Duty: Ghosts, bit surely Microsoft has saved the best for its show here at E3 2013.
The anticipation in the crowd is palpable as we shuffle into the theater. Stick with TechRadar as the presantation gets underway. We'll bring you all the latest and greatest from this year's industry shaking E3.
Here we are, on the cusp of Microsoft's second act in it's multi-part Xbox One unveiling extravaganza.
Before Microsoft's press conference, we came up with the top 10 things we wanted to see from Redmond at E3 2013. Read our list below.
Microsoft promised long before its May 21 reveal that E3 2013 would be a continuation of the conversation on the next-gen console, specifically a place where we'd see a showcase of its "full line-up of blockbuster games."
This news is surely welcomed by gamers the world over - many were miffed the Xbox One's unveiling paid so little attention to its role as a gaming device and so much time on entertainment. That's all well and good, of course, but we're talking about a console here, right guys?
While there won't be any surprises in the looks department, there's still plenty of unanswered questions about Microsoft's console and its overall presence at E3. We've whipped out our magnifying glasses and sharpened our gaze on just what you can expect out of Microsoft between June 10 -13, laying it all right here.
1. Games galore
Microsoft has left no question that games are the main ponies it's trotting out at this show, much to the delight of a concerned gaming community.
"I can confirm that we will have TVs (or similar) on stage to show the games. That should be the extend [sic] of TV talk in your #E3," tweeted Larry Hryb, director of programming for Xbox Live, on May 31.
Forza Motorsport 5, Call of Duty: Ghosts, Quantum Break, FIFA 14, Madden NFL 25, NBA Live and UFC were the only titles talked about during the Xbox One's unveiling, while an E3 teaser trailer (viewable below) gave some YouTube time to Gears of War, Halo and Splinter Cell, too.
Following Microsoft's event, we also learned that Ryse by Crytek would be an exclusive offering.
OK, so those are the games you can expect Microsoft to chat up during E3, particularly during its 9:30 a.m. PT/12:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. BST press conference on Monday, June 10, but the company is sure to lift the lid on a number of unannounced titles as well.
Look for more, unannounced IP and third-party titles to race, climb, grind and shoot along the company's press conference stage. In fact, we may have an idea of some of those titles already thanks to a leaked Microsoft E3 slate posted by a NeoGAF forum user and published by Digital Spy.
Titles suggested include Banjo-Kazooie: Grunty Land, Halo 5, Killer Instinct, Dead Rising 3 and Fable 4. Any one of these bad boys would make for a solid E3 presentation, though we expect Microsoft to throw more games at us than there are balls in MLB 2K13. OK, maybe not that many.
Microsoft won't completely ignore the console's entertainment features, especially on ways users can get the most out of the Kinect that comes with it, but as Microsoft has said some umpteen times, get ready for game overload.
2. Xbox 360 gets its day
Despite being eight years old, the Xbox 360 doesn't look like it's going anywhere anytime soon. In fact, we're due for some 360 lovin' during E3.
"We have a huge, I think it's huge, [Xbox 360] announcement for E3 that I keep wanting to talk about, but I can't," said Microsoft Game Studios Corporate Vice President Phil Spencer in May.
While Microsoft is obviously ready, willing and able to support the Xbox 360 for years to come, what could this surprise be?
Don Mattrick, president of interactive entertainment business at Microsoft, said during the Xbox One reveal that news and games for the older console would be discussed at E3, so there's one clue. Games would certainly fit with the overall theme Microsoft is going for.
Beyond that, we wouldn't be surprised if Microsoft follows Sony's footsteps and brings downloadable games to its older console, and throws in a price drop for good measure.
3. Xbox One questions answered
Well, some of them, anyway.
Word on the gaming streets is that Microsoft won't offer any details on pricing for the Xbox One itself.
When it comes to pricing, it's doubtful we'll hear anything until the console is ready for release around the holidays. While different numbers have been floated about, the general opinion among observers seems to be that the Xbox One, as well as the PS4, will retail for cheaper than their predecessors.
Interestingly, a June 5 tweet from Steve Tilley, who covers entertainment, video games and tech for Sun Media publications, reported that Microsoft cancelled its post-press conference executive roundtable with media, scuttling any chance reporters would have to pin the gathered suits down for questions all at once.
However, perhaps anticipating fall out from this, Microsoft outed two big revelations for its console on June 6.
The first was that while the console doesn't require an always-on connection, the Xbox One does require that gamers check-in every 24 hours.
"With Xbox One you can game offline for up to 24 hours on your primary console, or one hour if you are logged on to a separate console accessing your library," wrote Microsoft on its new Xbox Wired blog. Gamers won't be able to play offline until they check-in with the interwebs once again.
The second one that will surely tickle gamers' fancy is a clarification on its used game sales policy. From the same Wired blog, Microsoft said that no fees will be charged as part of game sales or giveaways.
"There are two requirements: you can only give them to people who have been on your friends list for at least 30 days and each game can only be given once," the company wrote.
4. Headset cases
One thing Microsoft didn't talk about during its Xbox One reveal was the fact that it doesn't support current gaming headsets, news that might be a big bummer to those who wear them while they play.
Soon after it came to light that the console's controller has a proprietary port that isn't compatible with on-the-market ear warmers, Turtle Beach piped up with news that it procured a licensing agreement to design headsets for the Xbox One.
Now, with companies like Mad Catz, Razer, Logitech, Plantronics, Sennheiser, SteelSeries and Astro prepared to pepper E3, we can only imagine that they'll have a set of headsets primed for the new console. If not, then it's up to Microsoft to explain what the hold up is.
Obviously we'll search Turtle Beach's wearables as well as other companies, but we're more than ready to question Microsoft on the situation, especially if Sony's PS4 has an all inclusive headset policy.
5. Something to put our hands on
While we were primed to play with the Xbox One up in Redmond, Wash. on May 21, sadly Microsoft wasn't ready to let its box out of the bag for hands on time.
We know the specs, we know what it looks like, but how does the darn thing play a game? How does it respond to voice commands and gestures when a regular person who hasn't rehearsed for days tells it what to do? How does it respond to the controller, for crying out loud?
We have many burning questions about how the Xbox One performs, and we anticipate finding it lurking somewhere inside the Los Angeles Convention Center. We're think it will be more Phantom of the Opera than Hairspray because Microsoft knows full well that given the chance, everyone at E3 would go hands on with the console.
However, we've got our ducks in a row and anticipate getting down and dirty with the new machine. Stay tuned.