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MICROFAIL XSUCKS THREESUCKSTY

16 June 2010

Good grief, was the Microsoft E3 2010 press conference boring! Perhaps I’m being jaded about this, but it was a snooze throughout.

The first half hour was all samey shooters. Sure, these will all be thoroughly playable games: Gears of War 3, Call of Duty, Halo: Reach, Metal Gear Solid (which was no more than a tech demo at this point). But it’s all so familiar, so uninspiring. The same old rehashed stuff we’ve seen for a decade now. What?! An action shooter on the Xbox 360?! How surprising!

But who could have imagined that half an hour later I’d be pining for the tedious things from the beginning? An assortment of wet rags and stereotypical sassy gals took their sweet time putting down a range of casual, social games using the renamed Natal: Kinect. A barrage of facile games reminiscent of first-year Wii brought with the same vapid enthusiasm that’s been plastered over too many sterile, white-roomed ads for too long. Who will rid us of this?

The whole thing genuinely baffles me. Why didn’t Microsoft bring some people with charisma onto the stage? This strategy has always worked for Nintendo with industry personalities like Reggie and Miyamoto being dependable staples for an exciting show. Peter Moore and J. Allard left Microsoft years ago and have seemingly been replaced by no-face suits. The wild eccentricity of Peter Molyneux was shamefully underused in a small cameo where he should have been allowed to go batshit insane to everyone’s amusement. Then there was the finisher at the end: a hastily put together Star Wars game for Kinect that was ugly, bland and insipid, brought to shame by real products like Old Republic and Force Unleashed 2. Microsoft, understanding they were losing people fast, must have realized and opted to shower the audience with free Xbox 360s in the new design which I have no opinion on.

Maybe this was just a meagre year for them, maybe the focus on Kinect would have inevitably estranged the hardcore crowd that Xbox 360 has traditionally served -and served well. But with the lack of anything, anything, of even modest interest and ambition, Microsoft has disappointed greatly.

Roderick