Microsoft E3 2019: A Tale of Quantity Over Quality

I like to believe I have an open mind. Each and every year, I go and watch Microsoft’s E3 presentation in the hopes that they show me that one thing that will make me want to get an Xbox. I want to see that one exclusive game or console feature that’ll make me vigorously point at the screen and say, “I gotta have that!” And each and every year, I go watch it and I can’t help but feel somewhat underwhelmed. It’s not like all of Microsoft’s E3 shows have been terrible; I really liked their E3 program last year. But I have yet to see that one product that totally sells me on an Xbox.

Well, this being E3 once again, Microsoft has another chance of selling me an Xbox and their chances are better than ever, especially with Sony not even bothering to come to this year’s show! So, how did they do? Well, unfortunately, this year’s E3 keynote is more of a matter of quantity over quantity.

Even though 3rd World Geeks isn’t a “professional” site, as in we don’t make money for writing here (though it would be great if it could start making some extra bucks), I do try to copy what the pros do. I usually have a notepad and pen handy so I’m able to jot down all the important details so I won’t forget anything. I filled up a good 3 pages of notes for the Microsoft E3 press conference as there were a lot of games shown. Phil Spencer, the current Executive Vice President of Microsoft Gaming, proclaimed at the start of the show they were going to feature 60 games!

60! That’s a huge mess of games. I have to say that I was excited because, well, that’s a lot of bang for your buck right there! But as the show dragged on, I started to notice a disconcerting trend. Yes, Microsoft was showing us game after game after game. But there was a disturbing lack of something important: actual gameplay.

To be fair, I guess they did show something like milliseconds of gameplay within some of the trailers. If I were to really go back and think about the trailers, I can vaguely remember some snippets of gameplay with Obsidian’s The Outer Worlds, Ninja Theory’s Bleeding Edge, Moon Studio’s Ori and the Will of the Wisps and Mojang’s Minecraft: Dungeons trailers. There were also a bunch of gameplay in the indy looking game trailers, like the one for the new Battletoads and Psychonauts 2. But there wasn’t a single live demo of gameplay throughout the entire Microsoft show! And I’m not counting Star Wars: Fallen Order because they already showed real gameplay during the EA presentation the other day!

But let’s go talk about the stuff that I did like about Microsoft’s E3. There were several games that did intrigue me. Flight Simulator looked really good. As in the graphics looked photo realistic and the animations looked really slick and smooth! Can’t say much about the gameplay and how it’ll feel playing on a simplistic Xbox controller but man! Call me a graphics whore but it looked gorgeous!

I was also surprised to see another Dragon Ball game after Dragon Ball FighterZ but I’m so glad that we are! Dragon Ball Project Z was shown during the Microsoft E3 keynote and it looked just like the anime! But I can’t help but feel like Microsoft was a little shortchanged here because they still called it Dragon Ball: Project Z and then the video director cut out to a long shot of the crowd before they could plaster the game’s official name: Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot, onto the screen.

I freaked out at the new Borderlands 3 trailer as well. Oh, the trailer didn’t really show anything spectacular. They did show us the new characters and also announced that Borderlands 2, that very old game that was released more than half a decade ago, is getting new DLC! I’m excited because it’s going to feature Lilith, my favorite character from the series. I guess I’ll have to pick up the Remastered versions now?

Of course, the big scene stealer was Cyberpunk 2077. Not because they showed any new gameplay. Like I said, they didn’t really do that during this year’s show. But the thing that made everyone stand up, including myself, was Keanu Reeves! They actually got Keanu Reeves in the game! Not only that, they got him to show up on the stage!

Even with Keanu Reeves gracing us with his presence during the Microsoft E3 keynote, everything felt like style over substance. It’s almost like Microsoft knew they didn’t have anything concrete to show us this year and, in the hopes of blinding us into thinking they had an awesome show, proceeded to give us game trailer after game trailer. But they didn’t give us time to breathe! We never got to savor seeing any particular game as well as they blew through their entire 60 game lineup like they were late for a flight or something.

Maybe they did this in order to attempt to cover up the fact that they didn’t have any live demos available for E3? That doesn’t seem to be the case. I’ve seen a couple of live gameplay demos of Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot floating around YouTube already. Also, and probably one of the most infuriating things I’ve seen in an E3 yet, is that it looked like they were going to show some gameplay for Gears 5 but they didn’t! The really stupid thing about this is that they even got several WWE Superstars, Xavier Woods/Austin Creed, Tyler Breeze and AJ Styles, to demo the upcoming Escape mode for Gears 5 but they didn’t show them playing it! Why introduce them during the show if you’re not going to feature them play during the program?

Microsoft also made a huge blunder with Project Scarlett by just revealing… nothing. They mentioned that it’s going to be “next-generation,” “transformative,” “immersive” and “a bigger leap” than previous console generations. Project Scarlett is also going to have a “custom designed processor” and use “high bandwidth GGDR6” as well as “virtual RAM.” The new console is going to have “no loading screens,” “faster load times” and “more seamless worlds” because of all of this. Basically, Project Scarlett is going to be the “future of gaming.”

But what is it exactly? What is Project Scarlett in, oh, I don’t know, layman’s terms? They certainly know how to throw a ton of buzzwords at us but, without anything really concrete, those are just promises! I think it would’ve been much better if Microsoft held off giving all of this rhetoric regarding what they want Project Scarlett to be before they had something to actually show the gaming world.

Oh, and regarding the loading thing, there are so many games that don’t really show any loading screens anymore. This isn’t the era of the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360! We don’t get that long-ass elevator ride while the world loads in the background as that one woman mentioned in games like the new God of War, Spider-Man and Resident Evil 2 Remake. I don’t see this as a big deal anymore since developers have definitely become more crafty to hide loading screens nowadays.

I generally feel like Microsoft missed a golden opportunity this year. With Sony out of the picture, it was their best shot to make people forget that there is this thing called the PlayStation 4. They didn’t do anything that amazed me or make me excited for anything they have along the pipeline. It’s great you showed us 60 games, Microsoft. But maybe you’d like to concentrate on actually showing some gameplay with the games next year, okay?

What did you think of Microsoft’s E3 show this year? Let me know in the comments section below!

One thought on “Microsoft E3 2019: A Tale of Quantity Over Quality

  1. Pingback: I’ll Review Anything: The Rest of the E3 2019 Keynotes | 3rd World Geeks

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