Oh Microsoft, how little you get the game of marketing. Despite being forewarned about the consequences of pushing the Xbox One as media center instead of a gaming console Microsoft continued this blitz right up until launch day. They were shocked and appalled that gamers were not happy with their decision to limit game trading, require internet, and require the Kinect and many more services that just did not make sense at the time.
If you have been on the internet at all the last few days you have probably seen all of the articles about how great DirectX 12 is and why it will be a game changer. To be fair the next version of DirectX is looking like it is a massive refinement of the API and one that should bring about some nice benefits to the gamer… the PC gamer. For years many game developers have not made full use of the features and options in the DirectX (DX) API simply because of the extra CPU, GPU and other types of power needed to push these enhancements around the board.
It seems that Microsoft is not getting the love from former Halo developer Bungie. Bungie is working on a new game that is aimed at next generation consoles, but instead of partnering up with their old buddies Microsoft they decided to focus on Sony instead. Bungie even went so far as to start a beta program for PS3 owners early (today 7-17-2014).
This morning some news flitted across my desk that made me thing of an old TV commercial. In this ad an older man in a suit ask the question: “How do we measure success?” His response is: “One client at a time.” All of this is done in black and white for an even better impression. Now that I have gone off on a tangent I should probably explain what I am talking about. The news in question was a bit of information stating that Xbox One sales had nearly doubled. The reason, Microsoft removed the Kinect from the bundle and cut the price.
One of the big stories from this year’s E3 was the announcement of the open Beta of Destiny for the PS3 and 4. Destiny (if you did not already know) is a new first person shooter from the company that brought us the first three installments of the Xbox only Halo franchise. This is part of what made the news of the Sony oriented beta so interesting.
Titanfall developer, Respawn is apparently looking into the world of mobile gaming and… *Gasp* Free to Play. This new information was dropped on us during an interview with Respawn COO Dusty Welch shortly after they announced Stig Asmussen was coming onboard. According to Welch Asmussen will not only be working on the future of Titanfall, but also working on where the company will be heading.
Ubisoft dumbing down Watchdogs for PC, Crytek losing money, game devs claiming next gen consoles will match the graphical look of the PC on Ultra: all of these are interesting signs to a troubling possibility. Is the gaming industry moving away from the PC and focusing on the close environment of the console? From some of the information and the items we listed above it would seem so. Is this a trend of the future? Or is this simply what the industry does whenever they see new consoles hit the market?
When the Xbox One was released Microsoft pushed it as the center of an new ecosystem that started in the living room. The message was clear, start with the One and build out from there using Microsoft products from the Surface Tablet, to Windows 8.x to Windows Phones. The whole world would fall to the domination of Microsoft… Well the problem with that is no one truly rules the living room. It is the one place where the one-size-fits-all concept does not work. Apple, Google, and others have tried and failed to dominate this space without success.
If you have never heard of the developer Bungie then you probably are not a Halo fan. Bungie is the company that was responsible for Halo 1-3. Now they are working on another project that is to be a little less exclusive, Destiny. As Bungie is only known for their work on Halo the industry and consumers are sure to be keeping an eye on Destiny to see if Halo was a fluke or if Bungie can really write a game.
One of the big games under scrutiny and therefore on display at E3 is Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed. The franchise (that is an odd word to use about gaming) is very popular. IN many ways the popularity did not come from the theme of the game, but from the open environment and the freedom that you have to explore it. At E3 Ubisoft had a pretty cool demo that showed off an expansion of this philosophy even if there was not really that much added to the actual game play.