Xbox One’s E3 re­vamp

Mi­crosoft opens E3 2014 on a pos­i­tive note, promis­ing that it re­ally is all about games

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How Mi­crosoft fared against Sony and Nin­tendo in LA

The sea­sonal slugfest where old plot­lines end and new ones be­gin is sel­dom short of come­up­pance, whether it was Nin­tendo’s Wii U de­but floun­der­ing in a fight against Watch Dogs and Halo 4 back in 2012, or Mi­crosoft’s cat­a­strophic Xbox One poli­cies los­ing out to Sony’s sim­ple PS4 mes­sage in 2013. But last year’s blood­bath be­tween Sony and Mi­crosoft did not deliver so dra­matic a se­quel. The big three played to a draw of sorts, with Mi­crosoft dis­tin­guish­ing it­self, at last putting an end to its year of hell with a show that was def­er­en­tial and hum­ble, if short on sur­prises.

With a widely ex­pected re­turn to core gam­ing val­ues, new Xbox boss Phil Spencer ad­dressed Xbox play­ers cur­rent and lapsed, stand­ing among the crowds on the theatre floor and thank­ing them for the feed­back that has so clearly shaped the di­rec­tion of the con­sole. The no­tion of Xbox One as an all-in-one me­dia box was gone, the “power of the cloud” be­came the much gamier “ded­i­cated servers”, and Kinect was as much an af­ter­thought on stage as it has been in de­vel­op­ers’ hands over the past 12 months.

Spencer promised to­geth­er­ness “at an in­cred­i­ble time in our in­dus­try”, and for a mo­ment it seemed Mi­crosoft was on the verge of a change of stance that could, in bet­ter times, have sig­nalled a con­fer­ence full of seis­mic shocks. But in­stead came a re­minder of how the past 12 months have de­pleted Xbox’s vi­sion and shred­ded its cre­ator’s nerve.

This was not a Mi­crosoft proud to talk “all about the games”, but one afraid to show any­thing else. So toxic are Mi­crosoft favourites like Kinect and multimedia con­ver­gence that they just weren’t men­tioned at all. It gave the show a breath­less pace that robbed the key games of their chance to shine. Head­lin­ers like this year’s Call Of Duty, Forza and Fa­ble were fol­lowed by the bor­der­line retro – and clearly leagues ahead of the usual HD re­mas­ter – Halo: The Mas­ter Chief Collection. 343 In­dus­tries played Halo 2 on stage and laughed about the good times.

Self-ef­fac­ing and vis­i­bly anx­ious, Har­monix boss Alex Rigop­u­los was

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