Gamescom for Microsoft has come and gone, and even though they didn’t do a full on press conference, they did manage to have a solid Gamescom that was quiet and therefore successful. Microsoft has been building up a steady bit of forward momentum after reversing some policies that weren’t going over well with some of the online gaming community, and more than anything Microsoft just needed to not disrupt that positive flow of momentum . With Gamescom now in the books, Microsoft has got to be all smiles.
For a while it seemed as if every time someone mentioned anything about the Xbox One you would see a lot of hate that followed, now we’re starting to get more and more excitement and nobody can deny that the Xbox One has a very intriguing launch lineup. With a lot of positive momentum it was important for Microsoft to put out a clear message, make some quality announcements and not make waves. Microsoft was able to do all of these things, and some of the announcements might seem small to some, but they have huge implications.
Notable Xbox One announcements:
EU territories get a free game bundled with their Xbox One consoles:
The rumor for this broke a couple of days before Gamescom, and it became official during Microsoft’s event. European territories will get the Xbox One with FIFA 14 and exclusive Xbox One content all for no extra charge. This is something that could have huge implications because FIFA is traditionally a big seller on PlayStation consoles, if Microsoft can lure some of those people into buying an Xbox 360 because of a free game and exclusive content, that’d be a huge bonus for Microsoft.
Xbox One Call Of Duty Ghosts bundle:
This one has potential as well, although it’s not a free game, getting a bundle with the biggest selling game each and every year could be huge. Call Of Duty is big in Europe, almost as big as it is here in the United States, so the move variety the better. There was no pricing available, so I’m going to assume the cost will be added to the console, but you never know, Microsoft has deep pockets.
Fable Legends announced:
We got to see a CG trailer for the latest game in the Fable franchise, Fable Legends is the first in the series to employ 4 person co-op and lets you play as the main villain if you so choose. This is the first next generation game to utilize Epic Games Unreal Engine 4.0. The game sounds like it could be something similar to Gauntlet, which was one of my favorite games back in the day. The possibilities for this game on Xbox One are limitless, and it just adds to the really solid exclusives list the Xbox One is garnering.
Fighter Within announced from Ubisoft:
When the original Kinect came out Ubisoft published a game called “Fighters Uncaged”, the game was mostly panned by critics and gamer’s alike. I actually played the game and the limitations of the original Kinect made the game pretty unplayable. Kinect 2.0 seems like it’ll have a much easier time with a game like this, so I’m cautiously optimistic, but I might buy it for the simple fact that there aren’t too many launch window Kinect only games, and I’d like to try some out. This is one we’ll definitely have to keep an eye on.
Xbox One self publishing and indie games:
One of the things we’ve been hearing a lot of lately (mostly thanks to Sony throwing it at us at every turn) is indie games and self publishing. Some people enjoy these types of games, personally I think they are okay but I certainly don’t buy new $400-$500 on a new console to play these types of games, but they can be a decent distraction for ten or fifteen minutes here and there. The good news is that if you really enjoy these types of games they’ll be coming in spades to the Xbox One as well now. Microsoft has done a good job mending fences and should have a good mix of indie games to go along with those huge AAA blockbusters they’re known for. Best of all, and this is the part I like most, indie games will have Achievements and challenges. I’m someone who games and loves Achievements, so this is something I was really excited about.
In a press release Microsoft listed the new Xbox Live features for indie games:
*Trending will show what your friends and the community are playing
*Recommendations will highlight new games you may like, based on what you like to play
*Spotlight will showcase Editor Picks for great games across the entire store
*With Game DVR and Upload, gamers can instantly capture their favourite moments and edit and share them with their friends around the world
I think one of the biggest and best announcements was that Call Of Duty Ghosts would be on fully dedicated servers on Xbox Live. This cannot be underestimated as far as announcements go. I have been a huge Call Of Duty supporter, but I have to admit I was going to pass on Ghosts if they didn’t add dedicated servers, but thanks to Microsoft’s 300,000 servers, pretty much every game on Xbox One should run smooth and matches should be fair, it’ll be what sets Xbox Live apart from the competition.
Most importantly for Microsoft was the fact that they didn’t make any bad news, and Sony didn’t exactly light the world on fire with their conference. Sony did announce a release date for the PS4, but I think Microsoft finally wised up and held off announcing their release date first. This allows Microsoft to undercut Sony’s date and possibly get Xbox One in peoples hands a couple of weeks before the PS4 even launches, if Microsoft can get a simultaneous launch in North America and Europe, say around November 5th, that could implement some more momentum into the Xbox One which is already riding pretty high lately. So while we didn’t get anything earth shattering from Microsoft, we did get quality announcements, free game pack in’s and dedicated servers for Call Of Duty.