So, the day that Xbox fans have been waiting for has finally arrived: Microsoft spills the lineup for the Xbox One and talks launch and price. As we have been telling you, Microsoft has a lot riding on this press conference; and after watching it my reaction was mixed. We think that many fans who take the time to watch the press conference will feel the same way.
Let’s get the first bit out of the way. The Xbox One is going to retail for $499. Yes, that’s right $499, which is a bit higher than we had been hearing. The number is actually a little surprising, to tell the truth, and it leaves Sony quite an opening price-wise with the PlayStation 4 at their press conference today. We do suspect that the PlayStation 4 will be less than the Xbox One and after the $499 announcement that is all but assured. It will launch in 21 territories in November 2013, but the exact launch date will be announced late; but it is believed that at least in North America it will be released the last week in November. Those that pre-order will get a special edition Xbox Day One Launch console.
The presser was all about the games for the Xbox One, and they will have what looks to be a significant slate of titles at launch. Forza 5 Motorsport, Ryse: Son of Rome, FIFA 14, NBA 2K14, NBA Live 14, DeadRising 3, Kinect Sports Rivals, Battlefield 4, Madden NFL 25, and Need for Speed Rivals so far all look to be launch titles. We suspect that this list might change and even get a few titles added to it before launch day arrives.
Microsoft confirmed a number of exclusives beyond Forza 5 and Quantum Break that we already knew about. Those titles included TitanFall, DeadRising 3, Killer Instinct 3, Ryse: Son of Rome, Minecraft for Xbox One, D4, Crimson Dragon, and Project Spark. In addition, Microsoft confirmed a new Halo game from 343 will be coming next year and a new title from new Microsoft studio, Black Tusk. Despite our wishing, it did not make it so, as Microsoft did not announce either a new Project Gotham or Gears of War title for Xbox One; and we are sure that many will consider this a disappointment.
Microsoft confirmed that with the arrival of Xbox One it will be ditching Microsoft Points and going with local currency instead for payment. Xbox Live Gold pricing will stay the same. Other users in your household can use many of your Xbox Live Gold features even if you are not logged in or are logged in someplace else. A number of enhancements to Xbox Live are coming, too. These range from better online player match ups with improvements to the truskill technology and enhancements to the achievements system. You will be able to use your current gamer tag and Xbox Live Gold account and it will transfer over directly to the new system, but will allow you to access Xbox Live Gold on both systems.
So, there are the highlights. Lots of games and a bit short on news. We thought that the Project Spark game creation technology was very impressive and is sure to be a highlight of the system. The fact that no Gears of War title was announced was offset by Titanfall, in our opinion, so we would give that a push. The price we have to admit was a bit shocking, but we knew it was going to be expensive. The fact that they didn’t use the press conference to clear up some of the questions about the system and attempt to try to defuse the story was actually a bit surprising. It was not all that it could have been, but actually it was better than we expected it to be.