Microsoft Details Xbox 360’s Future
Although much of Microsoft‘s official appearance at E3 centered around their newest console, the Xbox One, including many console exclusives, a few publisher first-looks, and even more displays of what exactly the One could do, they did not completely shun their current console. Although they did not give a comprehensive list of games that would be coming out for the system in the upcoming year, they said it would be literally hundreds. Of course, many of those are likely to be Xbox Live Arcade titles, However, we did get a glimpse at three confirmed games for the 360.
First off is the PC-only free-to-play armored warfare simulator World of Tanks. There was quite a lot of game play footage in the trailer that they provided, as well as a wide variation of vehicles. As it is originally a PC game, it is fairly likely that most of what they needed to do was to change the coding to interact properly with the Xbox OS, and to work with the Xbox controller instead of a mouse and keyboard. According to one of the producers of the game, the reason to bring it to the 360 was because of the current Xbox Live community. It is far more likely that, being a PC game, porting from Windows compatibility to compatibility with another Microsoft product was far simpler than making it work for multiple consoles.
The second game that was announced for the 360 was Max: Curse of the Brotherhood, a platform adventure game. The game seems to focus on a boy accidentally banishing his brother to the nether realm with a curse he finds online, and then setting off to rescue said brother. It is decidedly aimed at children, with animation reminiscent of children’s television shows like Jimmy Neutron. Considering that many people that are late adopters are probably parents, this could be a good call as an announcement. It does look like an interesting pseudo side-scrolling game.
Of course, Microsoft did not forget that they also had a big-name game. The final announcement for one of the hundreds of forthcoming games was Dark Souls II, with some game play footage in a trailer. The tag for the game is apparently, “Go beyond death.” The combat shown is medieval in style. The crowd reacted positively to the fact that a big-name game was not going to be reserved for the hardware on the Xbox One.
A final bit about the 360 was that current Xbox Live Gold members will be getting two free game downloads per month for a while, giving people plenty of data with which to fill those 250 GB hard drives.
Of course, the first part of the session that dealt with the 360 involved yet another redesign of the 360. This time, the look of the One heavily influences the console.
The even more compact, rectangular look of the final iteration of the Xbox 360, which apparently is exclusively bundled with the Kinect sensor, has the same features as the current 360 S models, so we’ll most likely be seeing a few special editions of this version. From an aesthetic perspective, it is definitely a little more in line with Microsoft’s new design profiles. From a functional perspective, you can finally put it on its side and then place something on top of it without being in perpetual fear of gravitational effects. The only major issue with the redesign is that it is coming incredibly late in the console’s production life, so it may be more of a change for change’s sake than for any practical reason.
The biggest take-away from the conference in relation to the 360, however, was in what wasn’t said about it, and what was said about the One instead. Practically all of the Xbox One exclusives use functions on the One that the 360 simply doesn’t have the ability to support. Because of their reliance on things like cloud computing and SmartGlass, they basically only work with the One. It means that 360 users will miss out on Microsoft staples like Forza and Halo, and also won’t be getting new exclusives like Ryse.
Overall, it’s a win/lose proposition. Microsoft still has support for the 360, but the shiny new console is taking a lot of the publishers and games because it is the newest technology. On the other hand, this is probably going to lead to a lot of price drops for 360 games. Microsoft must be hoping that people that don’t have the 360 already happen to have a spare $270 and are bored with their current console.