7 things Microsoft must do to win E3
30th May 2011 | 18:00
The week of E3 is almost upon us and, as usual, we'll all be keeping an especially close eye on the three major platform holders.
We'll also be keeping our pens hovering over our score-cards to determine who we felt came head and shoulder buttons above the rest in terms of wowing us at the L.A convention. It's the biggest stage in the gaming world and a chance to really make a statement about a console's future.
What will it take for us to be sufficiently mesmerised by Microsoft? We've scribbled down our main wants below. Make sure to send us your own.
PROVE KINECT IS FOR THE HARDCORE
We've all heard the promises, now it's time for Microsoft to prove that there really is something for everyone when it comes to the fancy motion sensor.
We've no problem with Kinect offering something for the whole family, but showcasing something that proves it to be just as capable as a AAA peripheral as well would really turn heads.
We don't want a forced FPS conversion though, an on-rails shooter won't do the trick, Microsoft needs to reveal something innovative and creative, something made specifically to show off what this tech can really do and, at the same time, something that appeals to the core market.
As much mockery as it got, from a technical perspective, Milo and Kate could have been the IP to do it, it'd be good to see a similar concept incorporated into something new if Molyneux's baby really is gone for good.
Compared to Sony and Nintendo, Microsoft has always paled in comparison when it comes to exclusives. Don't get us wrong, Gears of War and Forza are great franchises at the top of their game but, beyond that, Alan Wake doesn't really stand up to the likes of inFamous, Uncharted and Metal Gear Solid.
Now that Mass Effect has gone multiplatform, it's more important than ever that Microsoft rolls out some exclusive deals beyond DLC. Kinect exclusives won't do it either, hardcore gamers need a pad in their hands and a AAA experience if they're really going to start throwing money at a machine.
One Xbox exclusive deserves its own mention. Halo is far and away the biggest asset in the Microsoft armoury and a big reveal would be the impact the publisher needs leave a lasting impression. We're not talking about the rumoured Halo: Combat Evolved remake either, there's potential for a whole new direction of the series post-Bungie so let's grab the opportunity.
A brand new direction is crucial, by the way. Now that the biggest name on the Xbox in the hands of 343, there needs to be a bold move forwards - trying to replicate what Bungie just won't work.
It's a make or break thing, tinkering with such a much-loved title could blow up in the faces of all involved. If 343 get it right though, the new Halo could be the biggest name at E3.
If Sony does enlist the presence of Rockstar to push its conference into the stratosphere with Agent, an excellent Microsoft counter-strike would be the appearance of Grand Theft Auto V on the 360 stage.
Granted, it won't be a console exclusive like Agent, but it packs a tonne of weight compared to the as yet unknown IP and would make the 360 presentation a memorable one.
Microsoft can still get some exclusivity out of GTA though, with IV the company spent an estimated $50 million dollars on exclusive DLC. If GTA V arrives via Microsoft's E3 conference with an exclusive post-release offering, you can bet the majority of on-lookers will forget all about Sony and that Agent thing.
SOMETHING FOR PC
Let's not forget the other half of Microsoft's gaming empire, the PC-brigade, which over the past year has been seeing some vocal renewal of support from Gates and Co.
A good crop of games to please the PC crowd is always welcome. We got Age of Empires Online and Microsoft Flight Sim at Gamescom last year and we expect more next month.
Also, with Microsoft complementing and supporting some of the bedroom projects from computer whizzes who hooked their PC up to a Kinect, wouldn't it be nice to see some official developments from Microsoft utilising Windows and Kinect that go beyond releasing the SDK?
The likelihood of Microsoft revealing a new console at E3 is slim, but rumours earlier this month pointing towards such a mammoth surprise planted the Xbox 720 seed.
With Nintendo looking to announce its own its own next-gen console in L.A and Sony still with a lot to say on its impressive looking NGP, Microsoft could seem a little bit lacking in the hardware department with nothing much to show.
If the platform holder were to suddenly reveal its next console it would blow the convention hall sky-high with gaming's best-kept secret and nullify the competition rather than potentially shuffling around in its shadow. It's a long shot, but it would have a massive impact.
We can understand the thinking behind a lot of spectacle, but the Kinect reveal at last year's E3 was more odd than awe-inspiring. As well as Kinect has done since, the ponchos and the partying looked more like a distraction than anything to us.
The core of the gaming world won't be fooled by fireworks if the product that comes out of the tunnel when the smoke has cleared isn't equally explosive. For hardcore gamers, Kinect was not.
Microsoft can impress us more with quality software and innovative ideas, there's no need for big entrances.