Microsoft Needs to Redeem the Xbox Name at E3


#1

As E3 nears, we're taking a look at the big three—Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo—and what the year's biggest show means to them.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/microsoft-needs-to-redeem-the-xbox-name-at-e3

#2

Xbox for me right now is just a system to play multiplayer games on with friends. I made the jump to PS4 this generation and didn’t regret it until I saw all of these great MP games coming out and I had no one to play them with. I just play all single player games on PS4/PC and then use my Xbox as my multiplayer machine. It’s sad, but that’s just how it is. The exclusives, outside of Gears, Halo, and Sunset Overdrive (such an underrated game), just aren’t there right now.


#3

Patrick’s overall message is pretty on point. With Halo on OG Xbox and Gears on 360, the Xbox One is missing that defining franchise. (I’d argue that it’s Forza now, but obviously not as far reaching as the other two.) I don’t think Sony has one either right now, but I suppose that’s beside the point.

That being said, speaking as someone that follows Microsoft as a whole closely and writes about them, Patrick is missing a few pieces of the puzzle that muddies this article a bit.

Microsoft has been very careful when talking about Scorpio. They always refer to it as part of the “Xbox One family”. I’m 99% certain it will be called “Xbox One -something-”. They don’t want consumers thinking it’s a totally different console. “Xbox One” needs to be part of the name. It will NOT be called Xbox One Elite however, as they already blew that name on a SKU with a hybrid hard drive and Elite controller packed in.

Bungie has already stated that Destiny 2 will be 30 fps on consoles. Scorpio is a console. Is it possible that they’ll say otherwise at E3, or somewhere else down the line? Sure. However, my cynical side thinks it’s far more likely part of Sony’s deal with Activision and Destiny 2 includes ensuring it’s 30 fps on all consoles in the very likely event that the PS4 Pro can’t.

The day that mainline Halo games and Forza titles come to Steam is the day that Microsoft’s future as a consumer facing company has ended. A lot of their future success is riding on Windows 10, and in large part the Windows Store. They’re throwing A LOT of resources behind it. There’s a 0% chance that any true 1st party titles go to Steam so long as Microsoft and Xbox are making strides to improve and expand. They’ve already put select “2nd party” titles on there, such as Quantum Break and Halo Wars: Definitive Edition. While that may continue, you’ll never see Halo x on Steam.

Patrick decided to bring up PlayStation Plus and it’s stagnation, and touched on Mixer and Game Pass, but completely missed arguably Xbox Live’s biggest offering; Games with Gold. Sure, you can argue about the quality of the games from month to month, but not only do you get two free Xbox One games with GWG, Gold members also get two free Xbox 360 games that are backwards compatible. When viewed in the context of a yearly subscription, that’s an insane value. It’s also something that is almost a technical impossibility for Sony to do because of the complexities of the PS3’s architecture.


#4

Despite whatever shortcomings the Xbox One has it is probably the best value console ecosystem.

For me at least it definitely is: good subscription services, solid network infrastructure to facilitate digital distribution, back compatibility, a bunch of apps for streaming media, and a working film&TV store/player with a decent library.


#5

I’m actually becoming extremely hyped about Forza Motorsport 7 (a series I love). FM5 was a huge slump, throwing away the extensive library of work done up to FM4 (to avoid the ugly import that GT did to change generations) and combining it with a completely different progression curve that pushed microtransactions and had to be backpedalled after release to try and win back some audience faith. FM6 was the fix, even if some of those classic tracks are still missing and it feels like it replaced FM4’s rounded offering with lots of cars (even more with all that DLC) and maybe not that much to do with them (plus Porsche being DLC-only, further fragmenting what could have been a rounded package for licensing reasons). Hopefully FM7 will continue to add quite a few new tracks (with each corner meticulously boxed to avoid cutting with no off-track for a clean lap enforced - no, this isn’t optional); bring back Volkswagen (missing from FH3 but maybe they are ok with circuit racing still); and provide at least some basic Porsche options in the base game, even if they’ll be selling a non-season pass DLC pack as normal to recover licensing costs - hopefully the 6 year deal done included some cars for those paying $60+ for the base game. I’m thinking a classic model, a sporty (GT2?) 911, a P class monster, and a modern street car (not another 911 so Cayman is already modelled from inclusion in previous XB1 games) at the very minimum.

Clearly car clubs and auctions are coming back (coming across from FH3). Hopefully those clubs get expanded out to provide club leagues/racing series and some more online stuff for the serious racers. There is a lot of community discontent that should be addressed, especially for a series that has peaked in terms of sales (best case plateaued a low millions of copies per entry).

The engine (shown running very well at 4K60 in the Apex beta/demo/test on PC) is clearly ready for Scorpio and I really hope that means pushing forward with dynamic conditions. The absolute best of DriveClub was the dynamic time of day and weather evolving a race to be completely different depending on which lap it was. Sometimes that meant the simple straight turned into a blinded run or a couple of corners became tests of skill as the Sun flashed through the trees around sunset or sunrise. It meant knowing which areas rain or snow collected in as conditions developed. I meant just a couple of laps of that beautiful darkness broken by glowing markers but not being forced to do all X laps like that. The dynamic conditions being in Horizon, where you’re not memorising circuits, and not being in FM is a terrible waste and it really need to jump into this series for FM7.

But if they announce that, and announce it coming out in a few months, I think there’s another top game in 2017 fighting for GotY. Finally hitting the stride of a 3rd revision on these consoles to bring enough content to give the enthusiast enough to get stuck into out of the box. Considering the concerns with GT right now, it would be a great time to remind everyone what a great FM game feels like and recapture the people who went out and got FM3 & FM4.


#6

All of my destiny pals are on Xbox so I’ll keep a hold of that as 2 nears, but it just feels so uninspired at the moment. I will give it to Xbox that generally the gwg stuff has felt more substantial than plus (my plus expired a year ago, I’ve only just let gold expire) but at the minute when I’m working on things like persona 5, eyeing up Horizon and Nier, I just can’t see past another gears, another halo, another forza. Whilst the latter in Horizon mode is a real treat, I feel this is Microsoft’s put up or shut up year. I hope there’s something good coming.

I do like the look of sea of thieves…


#7

I’m surprised that this isn’t brought up more. The base Xbox One is still a fine console that can be had for relatively cheap, and that combined with Games with Gold and/or Game Pass gives you a relatively cheap way to keep up with gaming for the next several years.