What to Look For From Microsoft
E3 has always held a special place in the hearts of video game enthusiasts. Game announcements, hardware unveils and much more are always in the back of your mind when watching each of the three press conferences, wondering what the companies have up their sleeves.
Over the next couple of days, Console Monster is going to examine the three things to look for from Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo’s press conferences.
First up is Microsoft:
With Microsoft slashing prices in Europe (March) and Australia (July), rumors are swirling about a possible price drop in North America. It would seem ideal for another $50-100 price cut off of each Xbox 360 SKU and what better place to announce it than at E3? At the same time, both press and analysts alike were clamoring for a North American price cut announcement at last year’s E3 show, but the announcement didn’t materialize until August of last year.
While there is no precedence for them cutting price at E3, it is definitely something to keep an eye on and see if they make “jumping in” a little easier on the wallet.
The firmware update to Sony’s system that added in-game XMB (Cross-Media bar) and Trophy support (much like achievements) for their games continues to shrink the lead that Microsoft once had in the online space. Unless Microsoft adds something new that makes Live worth the money, the calls for a free Live service will only grow louder.
Making matters worse, we haven’t seen a lot of changes with the Live service in a while, and it’ll be interesting to see if Microsoft rolls anything new out on that front. As previously mentioned, calls for making the Live service completely free like PSN are growing–but while that would be extremely welcome, you have to think they’ll be rolling out something new in terms of interface and functionality instead. (They wouldn’t leave all that money on the table, would they?)
Attempting to make the difference between Live and PSN as vast as it was when Sony first launched PSN would seem more likely than refusing the truckloads of money they make off of Live.
1. Casual Focus
The Xbox brand has made its mark as a “hardcore” system. (Look at the name–it has an “X” in it, brah, so it’s totally Xtreme!) However, the huge leak of information last month regarding Microsoft’s E3 plans shows that the company might be shifting its focus to more “casual” games that Nintendo has championed this generation.
There are plenty of places to check out what the leaks entailed, but would we be surprised to see Mii-like avatars, a motion controller and a game called “Lips” be announced at the Microsoft press conference? Not in the slightest. However, it will definitely be interesting to see how Microsoft fans respond to a possible casual turn. The Xbox 360 has arguably been the “go-to” system thus far for those that want their “hardcore” itch scratched.
If Microsoft goes into any detail into their 2009 plans, hopefully they don’t forget about us gamers that still like to shoot stuff a whole bunch!
But, wait, there’s more:
Everyone has their specific game sequels they want unveiled, services they want supplied, accessories they are dying for…so how about it? What do you want to see from Microsoft? Let us know in the comments!
Originally Written By: Art