As the seventh generation of console gaming comes to a close it's nice to look back at all of the changes that have been made in the past eight years. The jump from simple plug-n-play into multimedia cell phone integrated hybrid motion sensor entertainment systems has not been steady in the slightest.
We've been forced to sit through years of Wii shovelware, unplayable multi-platform game launches, and close to half a dozen dashboard updates to reach this point, let alone the number of developers and the industry seen come and go in trying to realize this dream.
Admittedly when sitting through the Xbox One announcement I was excited to see what the future had to offer, and like many others it was hard not to feel a little let down. That being said, it's absolutely amazing that Microsoft is getting all of this buzzword nonsense over with before E3.
To call the Microsoft pre-E3 conference disappointing is being gentle, probably because there is nothing more bland than sitting through what feels like an eternity of scripted hype only to be teased the occasional CGI cinematic as an intermission between their excited droning. Not to say that gamers aren't interested in the technical details, but most justify the purchase of their consoles entirely off what games will be featured. Historically the unofficial "˜best of conference' award goes to whomever reveals the most exciting games, and with Microsoft having given much of their Xbox One information already in advance E3 will hopefully bring the console exclusives and new projects associated with the multimedia beast.
With every console working hard to become the sole provider of entertainment in a household it's more vital than ever that Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo push their games and development teams to the forefront. Many of us laugh at what Xbox One is trying to accomplish, but
the idea isn't too far from what Nintendo pitched to us for the Wii U; and is right in line with functionality that IPTV providers are already trying to engage customers in.
So what has Microsoft gained by showing gamers that they can now use their extremely expensive online-only remote control media center's features? Lots of valuable time.
Perhaps this is an unfair way to look at it but the more these companies focus their coverage away from the tech end the more we can focus on actual gaming, and what pre-E3 showings offer is an opportunity to keep audiences from being potentially bored during an event that may very well spell out exactly where consumers are going to be spending their money over the year. In Microsoft's case they've got a whole lot of convincing to do, but with all their time free to actually focus on what will make Xbox One such a great gaming console, despite its perceived disadvantages, they may just have a shot at reversing the damage done during their show.
This is even more important for companies like Nintendo whom often dedicate an almost comical amount of time toward anything but new games. Each year seems to feature an bizarre amount of focus on a new handheld system, or new graphical capabilities of their core platform while only barely scraping over AAA titles. When actual gaming becomes a secondary feature for a video game console the choice on what to buy no longer becomes very difficult to make. Having already launched their next gen platform Nintendo is in the right position to start showing off its incredibly innovative and experienced developers for a change, a move that may seal the deal for Xbox One if recent Amazon sales are any sign of things to come.
So sure, the conference was less than thrilling. We can look at it as a disastrous sign of things to come for Microsoft, or as a hour of our lives spared early. I have to hope for the state of the industry that the Xbox One is more than just an incredibly fancy alt-tab feature for video gamers that have OCD and also like movies. If not, well at least deciding which console to buy just got a lot easier.