Tuesday, 12 June 2012

E3 Reflections Part 2 - Microsoft

Stuff happened, yay stuff!

I'm not sure whether it was because a lot of people -- myself included, to be honest -- went into this E3 expecting Microsoft and Sony to hint at or even unveil their next generation systems, but the Microsoft showing this year seemed rather lacklustre to me. Certainly there were the glimpses at the games that have made the company scads of money: Halo 4 and a new Gears of War, but other than that I wouldn't exactly say that the company really had a lot to write home about this year.

Smart Glass is certainly a thing that exists, but I find it hard to get psyched over something that has existed off the consoles for a fair amount of time. There is certainly some potential, but I'm worried that only Microsoft itself will bother utilizing it for any sort of in-depth tricks, because third party developers might just not be arsed to give a crap.

I'm not the only person that believes so, as the always cheery Jim Sterling summed up the press conference as follows:

Microsoft was, in a word ... shit. There's no way around that and no point beating about the bush. The company seems to have truly given up as this generation draws to a close, relying on a bunch of television shows and sports, sports, SPORTS in order to drag itself through a tortuous hour of nonsense. 

The show was, in essence, identical to last year's waste of time. Halo 4, a sliver of a look at a new Gears of War, then Kinect and sports forever. The fact it closed its show with a huge demo of a third-party multiplatform title says it all -- Microsoft is spent this generation. It's having one more Halo and one more Gears to end out, and other than that, it's stopped caring. At least about games. 

If, however, you want half a dozen video streaming services to watch Dr. Who as you watch Dr. Who while watching Dr. Who, you're covered! Oh, and SmartGlass was at least interesting, if a bit of a weak attempt to steal the Wii U's thunder. 

South Park looked hot but, again, it is third party and multiplatform. Hardly a coup, especially with Parker and Stone mocking the host company.

More vitriolic than my assessment, but it honestly looks like it's ultimately in the same vein. It seems clear that Microsoft is merely biding it's time at the moment, waiting to surprise us in the future with whatever their next console offering turns out to be. The problem with that is of course is that it sort of leaves this current generation a little high and dry, and as much as anticipation about the future might play into things, we are stuck in the present (until otherwise noted).

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