With it now being more than a week since Microsoft's 2017 E3 presentation, I decided to ask On MSFT's Kit McDonal and Laurent Giret what excited them the most and where they felt the company could have improved.
Kit McDonald: For me, I've been mostly excited about Minecraft cross-play. Ever since Microsoft bought Mojang, it's been clear that they've wanted to push Minecraft further. They've been teasing for a while now that they were hoping to merge Minecraft into one ecosystem for players to enjoy the game together, but when asked, they were always tight-lipped.
Laurent Giret: I was really pleased with the final Project Scorpio reveal: I think the Xbox One X branding is good, the design of the console is impressive, and it's consistent with the Xbox One S. As for the $499 pricing, it’s quite expensive for a gaming console, but it's actually very affordable for a 4K gaming machine (much more than a high-end gaming PC). Besides, the Xbox One S is still available to purchase and will support all upcoming Xbox One games, so gamers on a budget will still have options.
Brad Stephenson: I thought the Xbox One X console reveal was pretty solid as well and while its price is notably more expensive than its rival consoles, there's no denying the value for money in regards to its tech plus there's also the fact that $499 is exactly what the original Xbox One console sold for in 2013 (albeit with the Kinect). Not a bad deal really. It was a shame that the next Tomb Raider game wasn't on display in 4K as a title like that could really help sell consumers on the Xbox One X. Honestly though, the console is a must-buy for me. It's just a matter of when (likely before the end of the year).
Kit: The presentation seemed to go a lot smoother than what I was expecting. Moments such as the new Porche being revealed and the sportscast of the Darwin Project made the show an enjoyable watch. I can't wait to play some of the new titles across both Xbox One and Windows 10 this year.
Laurent: The Original Xbox Backward compatibility was another big announcement I enjoyed. This probably won’t matter much to most Xbox gamers, but it makes the Xbox One more PC-like, and overall it’s a good incentive to invest in the Xbox ecosystem.
Brad: While some of the bigger titles like Anthem and Assassin's Creed: Origins looked great, it was the smaller entries that piqued my interest. Super Lucky's Tale admittedly borrows way too much from the Super Mario and 3D Sonic games to be called a completely original title but it is exciting to see a family-friendly game such as this on the Xbox One (and Windows 10) and given so much exposure during Microsoft's E3 presentation. Another game that stood out for me was The Last Night which immediately became my favorite new game of E3. I'm generally over the use of 8-bit sprites in modern games but The Last Night makes the retro style look fresh and the entire game has a glorious aesthetic that's somehow modern and old-school at the same time. I can't wait to play this title. Was there anything you guys didn't like?
Laurent: The Xbox One has suffered from two perception issues: Being slightly underpowered compared to the PS4 and Sony having better first-party exclusive games. Microsoft fixed the first issue with the Xbox One X this week but the second one still remains. Yes, Forza Motorsports 7 was a great demo for the Xbox One X but it’s is clearly not for everyone, unlike the more arcade and casual Forza Horizon 3, and unfortunately Sea of Thieves and Crackdown 3 are probably not the blockbuster exclusive games that the Xbox One X needed to make a big splash this holiday season.
Kit: I'm pretty easy to please actually. There wasn't really anything I disliked from Microsoft at E3 this year. My biggest rant is about Bethesda but that's a whole other topic.
Laurent: Microsoft probably had the more-impressive E3 press briefing this year but I think it lacked the 'one more thing' to please the more hardcore fans. This could have been Xbox Play Anywhere support for Gears of War: Ultimate Edition, or the release of Halo 5: Guardians on Windows 10 (Microsoft teased us with Halo 5 Forge on the Windows Store last year). These two franchises are very popular and their absence was really disappointing.
Brad: As an Xbox One owner who uses his Kinect every day, I was disappointed to see a complete lack of the console accessory during the presentation. With Cortana now available on the console, Microsoft has the capability to turn the Xbox One into some sort of Alexa or Google Home competitor and I'm fairly confident we'll see some degree of this happen in 2017 or 2018. I'm not necessarily surprised the Kinect wasn't mentioned given the need to promote the Xbox One X but some sort of small mention would have been nice. A new Dance Central game or a replacement for Xbox Fitness would have been amazing and would have gone a long way in reassuring all of the Kinect users who are beginning to feel abandoned. Maybe we'll hear more about Kinect at Gamescom?
What did you like or dislike about Microsoft at E3 this year. Did they make you want to buy and Xbox One X or any of the new 4K-enabled games? Was there anything that was missing? Let us know in the comments below.