Microsoft @ E3 #XboxE3 recap

This morning at the Galen Center we saw Microsoft make some big announcements for the Xbox platform during E3 week. It wasn’t just games, it was a look at the community and the future of their gaming ecosystem. With Windows 10 just around the corner we got a glimpse of Xbox One streaming through Windows 10, not just on a monitor but through the upcoming Microsoft Hololens, looking at how we experience games and even interact with them. While admittedly a ways off, it’s still cool tech and showcasing that companies are looking into the future of how the user experience develops.

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Aside from that, fans and console owners are getting a taste of backwards compatibility with the Xbox One, seeing their 360 library migrate to the One with features like screencaps and streaming available. While it’s a developing compatibility library it certainly says quite a bit for Microsoft to include it for free when it means converting PPC instructions over to x86 in these special download editions. Thankfully MS and AMD were on the same page visually so they’re not stuck with exclusive GPU instructions that they can’t emulate or substitute. Preview Members are able to get a taste of the experience right now but it’s still quite a limited library.

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Moving into tech, the Elite controller is touching down for professional players, packing a ton of modes, tension settings and custom parts it’s probably one of the most complex first party offerings seen to date. It’s packing a heavy price tag at $150 but it looks quite sturdy and for those who want the perfect setup there’s really few others who could reall deliver at this level. Personally I have to wonder how it will work for those who run in multiple genres, will there be a greater need for a racing controller, a fighting controller and a fps controller or is there a happy middle ground with the design? Time will tell, or E3 will tomorrow.

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Moving into gaming on the Xbox, there are a ton of treats ahead, Forza 6 with the new Ford GT and basically just amazing cars. Halo 5: Guardians taking team based combat in storyline mode to new heights while also working to redefine their MP offerings. Gears of War 4 with the latest fight against the locust, taking the fight to new monsters and mayhem in the dance we know so well from the franchise while also bringing up a new storyline experience.

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ID@Xbox also took center stage showing us clips of upcoming releases to the platform, showing that creators can make titles that unite console and pc players together by offering Xbox One and Windows 10 cross compatibility efforts. It’s a boost to creators to help ensure they get exposure in all areas and really have a shot at continuing to make new products like Cuphead, Ion, Ashen and Tacoma. Going even further to deliver on this MS is taking a gamble on the Early Access world and introducing a try before you buy Early Access model to soften the experience for console owners, allowing free experiences of titles before making that leap into buying something currently in development and possibly unstable or a bit unmatched to their tastes.

Other titles like Gigantic and recore help re-establish the creative roots of gaming with new presentations and stories that take players on adventures beyond the grey and grit, it’s a relief to the platform and a welcome change to really get back to new experiences.

MS has a lot going on in their court for the fans, paying a bit more attention for integration, cross platform support and planning for the future of gaming also. If they can deliver on some of these it’ll spell out good things for Xbox One owners and even Windows 10 adopters.

 

Bethesda @ E3 #BE3 recap

Last night Bethesda kicked off their first E3 showcase, previewing some of their biggest titles yet. With a night to sleep on it, does it really stack up? Well yeah quite a bit of it does for me at least.

Doom 4, a game that was lost in the ages emerged last night. Bringin the space marine back to the forefront with a heavy dose of super charged attacks with or without weapons. The demo focused on our hero being the badass, taking it to all the demons and sending them packing right back to hell. It was a ton of shock and even Pete Hines told everyone “Hold onto your butts” it was a wild ride but it’s something the game needed, a mix of horror, shock, fear and that fast paced action that Doom used to have vs just a pure shockfest with a flashlight and insane darkness all over.

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ID Tech 666 looks great, the question for some is, are we seeing OpenGL or DX? The lighting and particle systems do push the envelope for results so I guess it doesn’t matter, I know some in the crowd were worried about being oversold on the visuals but if it stays to the Doom 3 standard, it will but you might not be able to run it at that detail for a while or without heavy investment.

Dishonored 2 stepped into the light quickly after, we see Corvo and Emily take center stage as dual protagonists in the world after the collapse. Surrounded with new enemies and challenges they’re both playable with their own movesets and hopefully their own branches of story. It was a short tease but the game looks solid from the features already shown, there’s quite a it of story waiting to come forward but we’ll have to hold on a bit before getting to know more.

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Fallout Shelter teased us all with playing god over our own vault, the game is currently stuck on iOS but with hope and lots of complaints maybe we’ll see it on Android too, for now it’s a game of playing vault master and managing to make your community last through all the devestation by hunting, reproducing and maintaining control of it all. given the game is focused on enjoyment and perks after it should entertain the hearts of fans while waiting for Fallout 4 to arrive.

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Fallout 4 was the big feature of the show, going on to showcase the details of the story, being alive before the bomb, controlling parents before it all goes down and designing so much of your story before you’re even born. With a Skyrim like move in design, Fallout 4 looks to go beyond just the RPG realm and enter an limitless craft and horde area. Being able to design cities, weapons and make the world your own are all critical changes to how one experiences the game.

For die hard fans, the Pip-boy edition of Fallout 4 is probably one of the most legendary things to get, a real life massive wrist attachment that integrates your phone and custom app to create a connected Fallout experience.

Overall the showcase was very positive, it delivered a ton of details about titles either missing in action or surrounded in rumors. Now we just have to wait to experience these games in the coming year.

 

Gears of War 4 announced at Xbox Conference

 

Gears of War 4 was announced for Xbox One during the Xbox conference today. It’s being developed by The Coalition, which was recently renamed from Black Tusk Studios. The conference featured a gameplay segment featuring two new protagonists and new enemies.

Gears 4 is expected to come out holiday 2016.

Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Announced

 

Microsoft announced their new Xbox Elite Wireless Controller today. The new controller is designed to be customizable with different thumbsticks, D-pads and the addition of 4 new paddles on the back of the controller. The controller also allows for custom button mapping and adjustable triggers allowing you to switch between regular trigger operation and hair trigger operation.

The Xbox Elite Controller is expected to be available, October 2015 for $149.99 in the US.

You can check out more here at the Xbox website.

Xbox 360 Backwards Compatibility Announced for Xbox One

Xbox 360 backwards compatibility on Xbox One was announced today at Microsoft’s E3 Conference today.

Users who still have their original 360 disks will be able to load their disk into their Xbox One and the console will download and install a new digital version that will run on Xbox One.

For members of the preview program the feature is active starting today, with a public rollout of the feature set for this holiday featuring one hundred games.

Starting today the games that are available are:

A Kingdom for Keflings
A World of Keflings
Alien Hominid HD
Banjo-Kazooie
Banjo-Tooie
BattleBlock Theater
Defense Grid
Geometry Wars Evolved
Hexic HD
Jetpac Refuelled
Kameo
Mass Effect
N+
Perfect Dark
Perfect Dark Zero
Small Arms
Super Meat Boy
Toy Soldiers
Toy Soldiers: Cold War
Viva Piñata
Viva Piñata: TIP
Zuma