Microsoft has as a history of unpopular decisions and this summer has been no different. In only the last few months Microsoft has released the Ebola virus in the United States and made prank phone calls to Israel using Palestine’s cell phone. Suffice it say, good ol’ Phil Spencer has some things to answer for while on stage at the Microsoft Gamescom Press Conference.
“Let me just say, I love having press conferences,” Spencer told the room full of reporters and Xbox fans. “It’s the only time of the year when angry Sony fanboys aren’t yelling over me. It’s quite, serene, and I’m just so happy you could all be here.”
The first news Xbox wanted to drop on everyone was the lineup of bundles which will be available for purchase. “We have a shit ton of factory defect Xbox Ones just lying around with bad paint jobs. What could we do with them? Well, we decided we could slap some stickers on ‘em and sell them to you, bundled with games coming out this year. Someday it will serve as a reminder of a time when you had no self control and really liked Call of Duty.”
After showing trailers for a bunch of games people had already seen, Microsoft got to the good stuff and premiered gameplay footage from Remedy’s upcoming kind-of-game-kind-of-TV-show-we-don’t-really-know-how-it-works title called Quantum Break.
Remedy’s head of studio, Sam Lake, took the stage and was happy to explain some of the game’s finer points, “I think the most important thing we did in Quantum Break is have a main character who looks like all our other main characters. Jack Joyce looks very much like Alan Wake, who looks like Max Payne with a beard, who looks like me. These are the most important things when Remedy makes a game.”
Lake went on to show gameplay of Quantum Break. “As you can see, you duck behind things and shoot things. It is truly, innovative gameplay for those who have not played a video game in the last decade. And it gets better! You have special powers, like running super fast and shooting super bullets. He also has a dark jacket. It’s important for the hero to have a jacket of some sort, that way you know they are the hero.”
After Lake was done, Microsoft brought on Bonnie Ross to talk about something called, The Halo Channel. “The Halo Channel is a place where you can get all things Halo. We have created around the clock programming for people who have nothing in their lives except Halo. From Anthony Bourdain taking you universe-hopping to the best spots in the franchise, to Arbiter cooking classes, the Halo Channel has everything you need.”
The biggest news of the day came when Microsoft announced that Crystal Dynamics follow up to the 2013 Tomb Raider reboot, Rise of the Tomb Raider, would be an Xbox Exclusive (kind of).
Studio head David Gallagher broke the news saying, “We don’t really care about the business side of things. Maybe Xbox gave us some money, maybe we’ll release it to other platforms later, I don’t know. We really just wanted to piss off PlayStation and PC fans. I woke up one morning and thought, ‘Man, I haven’t pissed off Sony fans in a long time, I think I’ll make a hasty business decision that really gets them worked up.’ It was kind of a no-brainer in the end.”
The human rights atrocity of a AAA video game being a console exclusive would not go unpunished. Fans from around the world let their indignation be heard with multiple exclamation points ending each thought on Twitter, so people knew they were really upset. The message was clear: Moving games to one console is exactly how the video game industry loses…except when it’s Bloodborne, Sunset Overdrive, and all the other console exclusives.
Talking to Gallagher after the press conference, he tried to clarify his statements, “We heard people saying they needed a reason to buy an Xbox one — we thought they were serious.”
While it was an alright press conference for Microsoft, it seems like they still don’t get what the “true gamers” really want. The real gamers don’t want console exclusives and Halo Channels, they just want Xbox to know it’s wrong; it’s wrong and it will never be right. How hard is that for Microsoft to understand?
It seems like the Xbox and Microsoft will never get it right.