Not everyone has the time or inclination to sit down in the middle of the day and watch a forty-minute press conference about video games. Luckily, we do.
Microsoft held a non-livestreamed conference on the opening day of Gamescom, a major video game expo held in Germany. Luckily, Gamespot recorded the event, so if you want, you can watch it in its entirety. The conference was short and hit the key aspects of Microsoft’s plans to repair public perception of the Xbox One following Sony’s PR gains during E3.
The presentation began with Microsoft stressing a revamped approach toward indie developers and the advertising of launch titles. Many of these changes included the elimination of fees developers previously had to pay for things like development tools, their games to be certified as Microsoft products, and activating their product in the virtual marketplace. In addition, Microsoft has redesigned the Xbox Live Marketplace to make discovery of new indie titles easier and smooth the process of searching the marketplace for consumers. Chris Charla, a former video game journalist and veteran of the video game business, will be running the program. Essentially, these changes mean that Microsoft has made the Xbox One a place where independent developers can self-publish their work, eliminating a previously crucial hurdle in console game development.
Microsoft then revealed a next-gen MMO, Fable Legends. Not many details were given besides what was shown in the trailer, but it seems apparent that Fable Legends will allow players to take up arms as either the hero or a villain.
The debut trailer for Ubisoft’s Fighter Within was shown, a game using the Kinect to read player’s movements and translate them into onscreen attacks for their avatars. Another Ubisoft title, Tom Clancy’s The Division, showed off gameplay centered on the Xbox One’s ability to integrate SmartGlass tablets.
Microsoft showed another ace up their sleeve with Cobalt, a new side-scrolling competitive shooter from Mojang, the creators of Minecraft. Cobalt appears to be the same game that Mojang released alpha footage of around two years ago, albeit much more polished and out of Alpha.
Moving on to Call of Duty: Ghosts, Microsoft recapped the success of the franchise and delved into dedicated Xbox Live Cloud support hosting dedicated servers, Blitz multiplayer mode, and the multiplayer maps that will be available first on the Xbox One. Microsoft also announced that a there will be a Call of Duty: Ghosts Xbox One bundle at launch in November.
Microsoft also catered to the casual crowd with titles like Kinect Sports Rivals, Peggle 2, and Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare. Rare’s Kinect Sports Rivals will feature “The Champion Creator” which will have the Kinect scanning players and making “an awesome” version of the player. Peggle 2 will be available at the launch of Xbox One and Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare will land sometime in 2014 with Kinect and SmartGlass features.
The final part of Microsoft’s presentation was to make some statements about FIFA 14 and the exclusive content coming to Xbox One. FIFA 14 will have a feature called Ultimate Team Legends all season long. This mode will allow players to pit themselves against some of the greatest soccer players in history. In addition to Ultimate Team Legends, all European pre-orders for Xbox One will include a copy of FIFA 14 at no additional cost including pre-existing pre-orders.
Microsoft concluded their conference by promising more pre-order bundle information in the near future.
Anyone planning to pre-order an Xbox One? What are your thoughts on the system and its launch line-up of games?