I went into this year’s e3 event looking for a few different things, but possibly at the top of that list is that I wanted to be sold on buying an Xbox One — whether the S console or the Scorpio.
Microsoft is doing a lot of great things over on Xbox. I wrote a couple weeks ago on the new Game Pass, and how that service makes the prospect of switching from Sony to Microsoft more palatable. Xbox does have a good gaming library available, and the Game Pass makes it wide open. Combined with EA Access, which I still believe was a huge blunder for Sony to turn down, the Xbox could be the most budget-friendly way to game as long as you don’t feel compelled to play the very newest releases.
The backwards compatibility offerings also continue to be a huge feather in the cap for Xbox. Microsoft is being creative and aggressive in its efforts to capture back some of its 360 audience, and much of what it is doing is working.
In the days since that column, I’ve been keeping an eye on the price for the Xbox One S, which is now available for $250 with a game and the 500GB hard drive size. I even bid on a couple of used systems in the lead-up to the conference, but didn’t want to go over $200. A stellar conference with multiple upcoming exclusive games would have absolutely gotten me there; combined with a more affordable price on the Xbox One X might have also made me jump over.
Now, by all accounts here at PSVG, Microsoft put on a great show. Our hardcore Xboxers are super excited for the One X (or OX, per Q), and I’m excited for them! Check out Q’s favorite parts of the conference here, and of course listen to our Xbox e3 reactions podcast.
But for someone on the other side of the fence, Xbox did little to show me why I would swap my PS4 Pro in for either version of the Xbox One, given that pure, raw power is not supremely important to me. I’m going to do a quick dive into two things that don’t work for me, before closing out with a brief look at a couple games that looked absolutely awesome, and that I’m sad to miss out on:
The Opening 15 minutes, name and price
The beginning of the show was an absolute slog for someone in my position. The sizzle reel was fine, and then we had something like 10 minutes of talking about a black box before they revealed the newest Porsche. The rest of the conference was better as they mostly let game trailers and gameplay show off the system — though I could do without the shoutcaster.
After revealing the name and date, Microsoft held back on revealing the price, for some reason that I can’t imagine. The price point of $499 is actually a fine price. It seems like you’re getting good value for your dollar on a powerful system. But it’s higher than I want to pay for a new system.
In the end, pizzazz only counts for so much. Heck, the PS4 Pro event last fall completely lacked pizzazz and I eventually bought in when I found a good deal. A console purchase simply comes down to…
The most confusing part of the conference, for me, was the constant barrage of “exclusive” and “console launch exclusive.” I understand what it means, but in the moment I think it caused more confusion than anything else.
It’s a big deal that PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is coming to Xbox, and I went for a couple minutes thinking of it as a full exclusive. But it’s only Xbox First? (Right?) There are other games I’m not entirely clear on, either, and I would have liked more specificity. Instead, I’m coming out the other end of the event wondering what is a full exclusive, and most of the games I’m interested are also coming to PS4. Deep Rock Galactic, The Last Night and Ashen in-particular look awesome, but all will eventually come to a system I already own.
I’m sure the gameplay experience will be great on the OX, but I’m also sure the experience will be pretty darned good on my PS4 Pro.
What I’ll Miss
If I don’t hop on the Xbox bandwagon right now, there are definitely some titles that I’m missing out on. Cuphead continues to astound me with its visual aesthetic, and I hope the game is awesome. I love games like Tacoma, and I’m disappointed that it’s a console exclusive — it’s absolutely a great get for Microsoft.
The big exclusives they showed yesterday each interested me more than I thought they would, but they ultimately aren’t quite enough to win my dollar. Crackdown 3 looks action-packed and I love Terry Crews; Forza looks predictably amazing; and Sea of Thieves looks like an awesome pirate fantasy, and could truly be a killer app.
Xbox put on a great show, and there are a lot of reasons for current owners to be excited about the ecosystem’s immediate future. I’m not sure exactly what I was looking for to convince me to join the empire, but I didn’t find it in this show. I remain open in the future, and hope to be drawn in again.