June 15, 2010

E3 Conference Impressions: Microsoft

I'm now officially underemployed again so I have time to actually watch and respond to the conferences that came out in the last 2 days.  I mainly care about the big 3 console producers: Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony.  I'm watching all three today in one way or another, so I'm going to tell you all what I think.

I realized in the middle of typing this it may be too long, so I'm going to do 3 posts, probably all in the same day.  With that, the first conference I am talking about is


They could've taken better advantage of being the first present of the big 3, other than boring me for two hours.  First of all, their presenters suck.  They vary from monotone voice, to obviously reading a teleprompter, to looking like the guy who tries to lure preteens to the back of his van.  Seriously the guy presenting Kinetic games looked more than one kind of sketchy with his jogging jacket, huge sunglasses, and 5 o'clock shadow.  I personally thing CEOs can be some of the worst presenters for their products, because they're not inherently salesmen.  Sure, they have to create a viable product, but they' not salesmen.
Considering there was a controversy last year about the natal not reading dark skinned people, they definitely made sure a couple dark skinned people did the demonstations.  Makes me wonder how they improved the technologly--if they actually did.  I'm only cynical because it felt like every presentation was obviously rehearsed.  The way people delivered lines, and the way that people went out of their way to explore the space with the kinect products, I can't help but be cautious of the product's actual performance.
The first part with the actual "hardcore" games was decent, but all stuff we were expecting.  They announced all that stuff last year, and the fans want more games that they know they'll love.  Instead, the majority of the Microsoft conference was how they are responding to the Wii.  And you can see by a lot of the games announced for Kinect that they are Wii games without the controller: Kinectimals, Kinect Adventure, Yourshape, that dance game I totally forgot the name of...
I am not trying to dis Microsoft, because I do like a lot of the games they offer, not a lot of the exclusives per se but they have a lot of games that I first experienced on their platform.  When I was purely a Nintendo fangirl I thought they were part of the money machine (which they are) but I've come to respect them and what they've done to continue having a gaming console be an entertainment system.  But a lot of Kinect is a direct response to one single competitor, and I don't think that's a good way to please the public.  This includes the casual gamers new to the market, or the hardcore gamers who've been button mashing and mastering for years.
The hardcore gamer in me (which to be honest, is a very recent part of my life) thinks Microsoft can suck it.  That part of me feels abandoned.  The casual gamer in me is intrigued, but already has a Wii, so doesn't need to buy Kinect to get that experience.  So, I'm in a position not to care about the one product they pushed the most.  Can I have more Gears of War, preferably on my PC?  No?  Why do I care?
Random realization:  Whatever the hell happened to the Milo project?
The new xbox has an interesting look, but for some reason it reminded me of a black maxi pad.  Just the way it bends in.  Sorry if that ruined it for a few of you.  Also, I congratulate Microsoft on the most obvious bribery ploy ever.  I'm not mad at them for it, but it's super obvious.

In conclusion

I think Microsoft has to stop responding to its competitors directly.  By making Kinect so obviously a Wii competitor, it isn't making it's own market to dominate.  It will always be fighting with a company it's trying to "catch up" with.  What they should do is make Kinect different from Nintendo and Sony.  Maybe immersive FPS?  I don't know, but it's their job to figure that out, and it's my job to reward that company with a purchase when they do.

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