This year’s E3 marked something of a change of direction — or at least a change of focus — for Microsoft’s forays in gaming. This time around we saw Microsoft getting back to its roots with the various Xbox One announcements, focusing more on gaming than on gimmicks. There were no gadgets and gizmos unveiled – this was about pure, simple gaming.
There was more than a nod to the hardcore gamer this year, with many announcements about long-running franchises that people will have been following for years. The likes of Halo and Fable are stalwarts of the gaming catalog and appeal to a very particular type of gamer. These are involved games. Games that require attention and rely on gameplay and storylines more than anything else.
E3 had no mention of games in the Windows Store or on Windows Phone. There are certainly some big name releases on the cards for Windows, but Microsoft is clearly focusing on Xbox One as the gaming platform of choice.
It is not all that long since Microsoft announced the availability of the Xbox One without a Kinect unit. As well as a financial saving, it transpired that there was also a performance boost associated with dropping the sensor. With all of the titles that were unveiled at E3, it was interesting to note that there was no mention of any title using Kinect (well maybe Just Dance 2015 utilizes a Kinect, but it wasn’t directly implied).
The future of gaming, and the future of Xbox One, seems to involve Microsoft setting its sights on serious gamers.
Kinect is perhaps most associated with non-gaming activities and family/party gaming, but Microsoft appears to be going back to its roots in many ways. The technology is there, but it is now known about and no longer needs to be pushed. The future of gaming, and the future of Xbox One, seems to involve Microsoft setting its sights on serious gamers. After all, there are an awful lot of old-school (and new) gamers yearning for good old fashioned games — nothing more, nothing less.
Of course, Kinect is not going to going away. It is an incredible piece of kit who potential is yet to be fully realized. In terms of games, there are already some titles that make great use of the various sensors. Whether developers continue to make use of it to quite the same degree now that Kinect-less consoles are available remains to be seen — meaning there will be every increasing numbers of gamers who will not have a Kinect unit.
Kinect is likely to continue its popularity, but it is probably going to be outside of traditional gaming — think fitness and dance titles, interactive titles for children and the like.
But one things for sure. If Microsoft is channeling more energy into the gaming side of Xbox One, there’s a great deal to look forward to.