Microsoft disappointed a lot of people last year at E3. From the DRM they were sticking to, the always on & required Kinect sensor, price of the console (due to the Kinect), the anti-consumer policy on used games, the always online requirement, and terrible PR marketing and messaging; they really just made a wrong move at every turn and upset a lot of dedicated fans. Many would argue that some of those things they wanted to push would be monumental to moving the games industry forward, but one thing was clear; people wanted their voices heard, and voiced their thoughts with their wallets and numerous videos.
Since last June, Microsoft has backtracked (or 180’ed) on all of those “features” that made the Xbox One unique. Microsoft has been repairing it’s image in order to gain the trust of it’s most loyal of fans for nearly a full year. Although we’ve got some really cool titles in it’s 1st six months, this is just the beginning. So here are the top 5 ways in which Microsoft can impress us at this year’s E3, and gain some real momentum moving forward!
5. Drop price of X1 even further.
The Xbox One is now the same price as the Playstation 4 if you chose to get the non Kinect bundle, which leaves consumers with a less expensive entry point for Microsoft’s entertainment console. Microsoft made a great decision to offer this as an option to the consumer. The problem is that its biggest competitor, the Playstation 4, is the same price, but has more power under it’s hood. Amongst the PS4 and the Wii-U, you’re still paying $399 for the middle-range machine. And that’s excluding the price of Xbox Live, which is also more expensive than its competitors. If Microsoft really wants to offer value proposition, they should hit where it matters the most to many consumers- their wallets.
4. Demonstrate, in real application, how the cloud will make our games better.
We’ve heard countless times that the cloud can add processing possibilities that we can’t even fathom, can help with matchmaking services, and can even assist in AI and progressive world simulations. We’ve seen the “driveatars” in Forza Motorsport, and heard about the “improved matchmaking” in TitanFall. These are great advances, and should absolutely be commended and celebrated, but they aren’t very visibly tangible in terms of demonstrating what it is actually doing. How specifically is the matchmaking better than it was before? Where is the evidence of the cloud actually processing and rendering an environment? Where is the demonstration that shows a comparison between a game processing AI behavior with, and without the cloud functionality? If you’re going to invest in the Cloud, and bring it up in the first place, actually show us something we can digest. Please and thank you.
3. Blow us away with impressive new IP’s and features.
This one is pretty self explanatory. Ultimately, gamers are looking for amazing gaming experiences (go figure). Microsoft did wonderful things with last year’s E3 when they showed some interesting games and features we could look forward to moving forward. This year we want more of that, but with less teaser-trailers, and more actual in game footage or show us trailers for upcoming games with integrated gameplay. Show some new games that bring new ideas, and show variety, and haven’t already been leaked or talked about. Tell us that you’re extending the Kinect functionality to the headsets, so people can still control their Xbox One with their voice if they opt for the Kinect-less system. Also give people who have a Kinect, a real reason to be using it in-game. Above all, tell us that Microsoft’s 1st party portfolio is expanding.
2. Drop parity clause for ID@Xbox.
I’m not an independent developer, so this particular talking point doesn’t directly effect me. But if I only had an Xbox One, and kept seeing Sony releasing all of these fantastic independent games on their console, I’d be pretty irritated at the way Microsoft has been handling their relationship with independent studios. Indie games are what fill the games gap between the huge AAA releases, and often times are the at the forefront of bringing new concepts and gameplay innovations to the table. Microsoft’s indie program, ID@Xbox, has a clause requiring that all indie games must be simultaneously developed/released alongside with whatever other platforms a game is released on. This is an issue because many indie studios don’t have the money or resources to allocate towards multi-platform development out of the gate, and sometimes use the money generated from one successful release towards the other platforms. We’ve heard countless stories about how Sony sought after indie studios for partnerships very early on, so those studios that chose to start developing on that platform are now being punished due to Microsoft’s obsessiveness with controlling the process.
1. Be honest, transparent, and pro-consumer.
We’ve got to hand it to Microsoft; they have been repairing their image since last years E3 quite well, and have been very thoughtfully and carefully listening to what industry veterans and consumers have been saying they want for their system. But it wasn’t like this at first, and many faithfuls still aren’t willing to trust the Xbox One with their money. The best way to capture those people, is to just be as upfront, honest, and for-the-consumer as possible. Microsoft is actually filled with amazingly talented, and great people, but they have been known to be a very greedy and shady company when it comes to corner-pwning our wallets. The bottom line of “how do we get as much money out of people as possible while giving less” often comes into play when discussing their business practices. Before 2013, they had the only console that actively required gamers to pay for their online services, dating back to the year 2000.
Even looking at the (finally) reversed policy on entertainment apps being behind the xbox live gold paywall, it was hard to believe that Microsoft was charging people just to access content they were already paying for. People are just now starting to voice their disdain regarding this after they dropped that, but many of us have been talking about it all along. Also, how about you drop the dashboard/UI ads? People are paying for the service; other services offer free subscriptions with ads, and to opt out and gain extra features, you pay to remove the ads.
There you have it; The top 5 ways in which Microsoft can restore the faith of millions of gamers this year. What are your thoughts? What did I miss? What are you hoping to see? What do you agree or disagree with? Leave a comment either here, or on the youtube video, and let’s talk about it!
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