Gaming

Xbox has saved console gaming and I’m as surprised as you are – Reader’s Feature


The best Xbox showcase ever (Microsoft)

A reader is surprised to find how much he enjoyed the Xbox Games Showcase and explains why it’s renewed his optimism about gaming.

As far as I’m concerned, Xbox is a really hard brand to like. From that horrible shade of green they use for everything to the animatronic business execs, pretending to be humans, that are in charge of it all, I’ve just never got on with it. There’s something aggressive and artless about the way Xbox is marketed that has always done it a disservice. Its obsession with shooters and its refusal to properly engage with Japanese developers, or in any way change its approach for Europe, has always been off-putting to me.

I say this despite having owned an Xbox 360, which everyone I knew did at the time, and being so impressed by the Xbox Games Showcase on Sunday that it almost instantly calmed all my fears about the current problems in the industry.

That’s not hyperbole. I’m sure if you’re reading this you probably saw it yourself, and thought it was good, but it was an extremely impressive showcase, with high quality game after high quality game, some of which were even a surprise – if you happen to have not read any of the rumours.

I don’t want to get into the games individually because whether or not you’re personally interested in them is not really the point. I couldn’t give a fig about Gears Of War or Fable, unless they’re radically different from the old ones, but the point is they’re big budget, proper games. They’ve got a story, they can be played single-player with no restrictions, and they have a finite end. In short, they’re not live service games.

Apart from Call Of Duty there didn’t seem to be any at all, instead you got over 30 real games, mostly from Microsoft but also some great looking third party titles as well (I really like the look of that Expedition 33).

I’m one of those people that greatly misses E3 and this felt like a PlayStation showcase from about eight years or so ago. That was clearly exactly what Microsoft was trying to copy but fair play to them, they did it properly. Which means they understand why they worked.

Five minutes of an exciting looking game with real gameplay, or at least a good representation of it. Then another and another and another. If you don’t like one maybe you’ll like the next and even if you don’t like most of them at least you get proof that your console of choice is putting in the work and creating a steady churn of exclusive new titles, where you’re bound to like something eventually.

Compare this to Sony’s event, where they spent half the time on a game clearly everyone watching is going to hate (Concord may be a hit but not with long-term fans), and Summer Game Fest where it was just such a slog to sit through endless, interchangeable pre-rendered trailers and weird little indie games where all you could do is sit and wish they’d get on with it.

I’ve got nothing against indie games, I love them, but they’re not what generates hype in these sort of showcases, and understanding that is important.

I have no love for Xbox and I hate that Microsoft’s secret weapon, after decades of failure, is just to buy everyone they can. But we’re in a bad situation here. Sony is asleep at the wheel and the whole industry feels like its drifting off course. But the Xbox Games Showcase reversed all those problems.

Maybe Microsoft will mess things up later, they usually do, but for me this was the most optimistic I’ve been about gaming for a long time. So much so that I might even buy an Xbox Series X, which I’m pretty is sure is exactly what Microsoft was aiming for.

By reader Purple Ranger

Gears Of War: E-Day – one of many new games to be unveiled (Xbox Game Studios)

The reader’s features do not necessarily represent the views of GameCentral or Metro.

You can submit your own 500 to 600-word reader feature at any time, which if used will be published in the next appropriate weekend slot. Just contact us at gamecentral@metro.co.uk or use our Submit Stuff page and you won’t need to send an email.


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