E3 2018: Xbox Is Investing In Its Future--And That’s A Big Deal

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Edge BC

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So, any news on what the studio may be?

That guy is on some Gruntilda s***..

Just say it!
 

karmakid

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Blinx 3: The sequel no one asked for
I kinda wanna see blink in the next Gears of War, as a multiplayer skin, as well as other MS characters, with a dark and gritty makeover
 

Mcmasters

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I kinda wanna see blink in the next Gears of War, as a multiplayer skin, as well as other MS characters, with a dark and gritty makeover
Dont start this s***, Karmakid! I beg you.
 

Rollins

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It won't play for me :(
Xbox Boss Phil Spencer Confirms AMD Partnership for “Future Platforms” at CES Presser



The AMD CES 2019 press conference has come and gone, and it contained some pretty big news for PC gamers, including the announcement of AMD’s 3rd Generation Ryzen desktop processors and the beefy new Radeon VII graphics card, but it also included an interesting moment for console gamers. During Dr. Lisa Su’s opening keynote, Xbox boss Phil Spencer hit the stage to praise the CEO and confirm that Microsoft and AMD will be partnering on “future platforms”…
“As a company, we look at the opportunity in gaming and one of the things I want to say is when we think who our partners are, we think about great companies that do great work, but also do it in the right way. You’re somebody that I respected a ton in this industry and I’ve seen the way you’ve led AMD, and I think having a partner like AMD that works so collaboratively with us on our future technology, but also as a cultural level I think fits so well, it’s awesome to have you as a partner.

As we look forward to future platforms that we’re building and work that we’re doing, the partnership and the innovations that we’ve seen in the past have led to what we’ve been able to do today, I think they’re going to be critically important to our future endeavors. I’m really looking forward to showing those to people more in the future.”
It’s long been rumored the next Xbox will be powered by AMD tech, specifically a Zen 2 processor and a custom “next-gen” GPU, but this is the most explicitly it’s ever been confirmed by Microsoft.

Microsoft is rumored to be working on a full line of new Xbox consoles, including a disc-less streaming device that may launch this year, a mainstream successor to the Xbox One S codenamed Lockhart, and a souped-up Xbox One X successor codenamed Anaconda. The fact that Spencer mentions future platforms, plural, seems to indicate all of these will be powered by AMD tech.

I’m sure you all have thoughts about Microsoft partnering with AMD for their next generation of consoles. Try to discuss it calmly, below.




https://wccftech.com/xbox-phil-spenc...ure-platforms/
 

Rollins

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https://www.forbes.com/sites/kevinmurnane/2019/01/13/__trashed-18/#6e6da3fe828c

Xbox Losing The Console War Looks Like The Best Thing That's Happened To Gaming In Years
Kevin Murnane


Xbox leads the way in innovative ideas that benefit players.

Fanboys and pundits breathlessly promote the foolish and counterproductive idea of a console war every time a new console generation arrives on the scene. Competition in the console space is generally a good thing for everyone. It drives competitors to innovate in ways that benefit players and increase sales. Selling consoles is not a zero-sum game. More than one platform can succeed and the more that do, the more opportunities players have to play the games they love. The Switch didn’t go to war, it entered the competition and players reaped the benefits.

Casting competition in terms of a war where one console wins and the other loses has the potential to create a situation where one company dominates and the other moves on to other things. When that happens, innovation tends to stagnate because the “winner” has little reason to make their console more attractive. More attractive than what? With little or no competition, there’s nothing to be more attractive than.
This dire circumstance could have happened with the current console generation. The Xbox One launch was screwed up so badly you were left to wonder how a company of Microsoft’s size and experience in the console space could be so arrogantly unaware of the needs and desires of game players. Sony grabbed the opportunity and the PS4 crushed the Xbox One from the git-go. Five years later, Xbox hasn’t closed the gap.


Innovation and Xbox
Stake holders were yammering for Microsoft to sell off the Xbox and get out of the console business when it became clear the PS4 was doing much better in the marketplace. Fortunately for everyone who loves video games, Satya Nadella didn’t listen. Microsoft shed the Xbox management team responsible for the launch, and Nadella put Phil Spencer in charge of Xbox in March 2014. The result has been a steady stream of innovation from Xbox that’s squarely focused on making things better for players.
The Xbox One X is the clearest example. Microsoft’s flagship console is so superior to the PS4 Pro that it’s reasonable to think the only reason to buy a Pro is to play PlayStation’s outstanding collection of console exclusives. That’s a very good reason, but virtually every cross-platform game looks and plays better on the One X.

Microsoft didn’t build the most powerful console ever seen, pat itself on the back, and then sit and wait for the world to recognize its achievement. The company reached out to developers and helped them enhance previously released games to take advantage of the processing power in the One X. Microsoft also continued to innovate in console hardware with Design Lab and the Adaptive and Elite wireless controllers.

While Xbox’s hardware innovations lead the industry, a strong argument can be made that the company’s most important innovations lie in broadening opportunities for players to play games. Backward compatibility is the most obvious example. The story when the Xbox One and PS4 launched was that games from previous console generations were unplayable on the new consoles because of fundamental hardware incompatibilities. And then Xbox engineers built a virtual Xbox 360 that runs on the Xbox One and old games could be played on the new console.

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about backward compatibility is that Microsoft didn’t treat it as an opportunity to squeeze more money out of players by making them buy back-compat versions of games they already own. Instead, backward compatibility exemplifies the idea that players should have a library of games they carry with them from one console generation to the next. If you paid for it once, you shouldn’t have to pay for it again. It’s hard to imagine a policy that operates more for the benefit of players.

The buy-it-once ethos Xbox introduced to console gaming continued with Microsoft’s Play Anywhere policy. Xbox exclusives generally appear on the console and Windows PCs at the same time. Buy a game for either platform and you can play it on both. You get two platforms for the price of one.

Xbox surprised the gaming world a year ago with another new idea that’s all about benefiting players. Henceforth, Xbox console exclusives would be available to play for free on Game Pass on the day the game launched. Since then, a selection of cross-platform games such as the recently released Mutant Year Zero: The Road to Eden appeared on Game Pass on launch day. A cheap subscription service that includes access to new games on launch? Who saw that coming?

Xbox also looked to benefit players in the future when it added next-gen technology to the One X and S last year in the form of support for variable refresh rate, automatic low-latency mode and 120 Hz refresh rate. These features won’t come fully into play until HDMI 2.1 becomes widespread, but Xbox is helping players navigate the transitional stage by supporting the technology.
The innovations introduced by Xbox since Spencer took over illustrate how competition can produce benefits for players. It’s sad to say that PlayStation’s performance during the current console generation exemplifies how a dominant position in the console space can lead to innovative atrophy. With few exceptions, PlayStation has done little to introduce new and innovative ideas to console gaming. Instead, the company has been content to stand pat with it’s large lead in sales and its vastly superior collection of console exclusives.

That’s not to say PlayStation hasn’t done anything, it just hasn’t done much, especially in comparison to the relentless series of innovative ideas coming out of Xbox. Playstation VR is the go-to VR platform for those who don’t want to spend big bucks for an HTC Vive or Oculus Rift although it’s still saddled with the Move controllers that were designed to compete with Nintendo’s 2006 Wii. The PS4 Pro is a significant upgrade from the original PS4 but it’s not in the same league as the One X.

There are also some indications that the blinkered arrogance that produced the Xbox One launch disaster has gained a foothold at PlayStation. In June 2017, Sony’s global sales chief Jim Ryan told Time magazine “When we’ve dabbled with backwards compatibility, I can say it is one of those features that is much requested, but not actually used much.” A little less than a year later Xbox reportedplayers had logged almost a billion hours on back compatibility games. A more recent example can be found in PlayStation’s resistance to player demands for Fortnite crossplay.

The situation today seems almost the reverse of what it was at E3 in 2013 when an agile PlayStation crushed a clueless Xbox and electrified the gaming world. Now Sony feels staid and hidebound while Microsoft forges ahead. PlayStation has never lacked for innovative thinking and it’s hard not to wonder whether the company would have done more to change gaming for the better if the PS4 didn’t have such a decided advantage in sales.

Conclusion

The Xbox One quickly fell behind the PS4 in the competition for console sales. Microsoft responded by bringing in Phil Spencer who infused Xbox with a sustained commitment to innovative ideas that benefit players. The consequences illustrate the value of thinking about competition rather than war in the console space. Xbox’s innovations have markedly changed the world of console gaming for the better. From a player’s viewpoint, it’s the best thing that’s happened to gaming in years.
 

Rollins

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Here's How Xbox And Microsoft Win The Next Console Generation



Yesterday, my colleague Kevin Murnane wrote a great piece about how Microsoft’s floundering this console generation was ultimately a good thing for refocusing the Xbox brand, and will continue to drive innovation across the entire industry as a result.

Unlike the previous generation, in which the PS3 and Xbox 360 ended things at roughly a draw, no matter your fanboy camp it is an inescapable fact that in terms of pure sales, Microsoft was indeed trounced by Sony in the Xbox One/PS4 era. Sony is about to hit 100 million PS4s sold. Microsoft stopped announcing official Xbox One figures a few years back, but estimates put it at probably not even half of what PS4 has done over the same time period.

So, how does this all change next time around?


Have the Power Edge at Launch

While we are ending the current console generation with the Xbox One X as having the clear power advantage over PS4 Pro, things did not start that way. The original Xbox One wasn’t far behind the PS4, but even the slight power disparity at launch created the narrative that the Xbox One was the less powerful console, something that lasted for years until the Xbox One X came along. Clearly, Microsoft now sees the advantage of claiming the title of the most powerful console on the market, and if PS5 and Xbox Two debut around the same time, it will be helpful to flip that narrative on Sony this time around if they can claim an edge, however slight.



Focus on Gaming, Not Gimmicks

This is something that Microsoft already seems to have gotten the message about, as I think we forget that a big chunk of why the Xbox One struggled, which set it up for long term failure, was the insistence that the console be married to Kinect which increased its price $100 over its rival for practically no benefit, as I struggle even today to name a single game that was truly “better with Kinect” other than say, Just Dance. There is nothing like that on the horizon, and Microsoft has even gone so far as to avoid leaning heavily into VR as of yet. I don’t imagine we’re going to see an Xbox Two launch “better with HoloLens” or something, but if Microsoft can just focus on being the best pure gaming machine it will be, it will be better for it.

Continue Growing Xbox Game Pass and Force Sony To Follow

One of the best features of gaming on Xbox these days is the Xbox Game Pass, which gives players a huge variety of games to play at any given time for a small monthly fee, and that includes even new release Xbox exclusives. Sony has PS Now, but it’s just not the same thing at all, and if the Xbox Game Pass becomes enough of a feature, it’s possible Microsoft could force Sony to follow, just like they forced them to eventually start charging for PSN. And if they don’t? Well, this would remain a significant advantage for Microsoft’s console over its rivals, and should be a key selling point.



Have These Investments in Acquired Studios Pan Out with Great Exclusives

Kinect drama aside, Xbox One has simply not released an equivalent state of must-have exclusives the way Sony has this console generation. Xbox One has no God of War, no Spider-Man, no Bloodborne, no Uncharted, no Last of Us. It has Forza, and that’s really its only true jewel. Microsoft has acquired a huge number of high profile developers from Ninja Theory to Obsidian in an effort to change this narrative, and while some of those projects are still years out, if those bets pay off and Microsoft can start producing hits of its own that will change this narrative of Xbox not having nearly any worthwhile exclusives.

Have This Investment In Game Streaming Pan Out

Project xCloud is Microsoft’s big experiment in making game streaming work at last, and it seems possible they might even release separate streaming hardware to make that concept work on a console that isn’t Xbox. If Microsoft can pull this off and be the first company to truly get game streaming right, they might not win the console war, but end the console war, if suddenly you can stream even the most demanding games to your smart TV or PC or iPad or what have you instead of needing a expensive console to do the job for you. It’s a big reach to say that we’re about to see consoles go the way of the DVD player like we did when Netflix arrived, but this is literally what Microsoft is sinking a lot of time and money into, so I would not rule out a seismic shift in the industry when this arrives.



Launch With a Killer Fable 4

New console launches usually end up being relatively rough, unless you’re Nintendo and can pull some miracle like launching Switch with Breath of the Wild, a potential Game of the Decade. We know that Forza Horizon studio Playground Games is working on a Fable game, probably Fable 4, for Microsoft, the revitalization of a once-powerful IP for Xbox. It would be fantastic if this was not only A) good but B) a killer launch title for the next Xbox.

Revitalize Halo and Gears of War

It’s possible Microsoft is already doing this with Halo: Infinite, as we don’t know much about that game yet, but even if these series are the two staples of the Xbox brand, they are a long, long way from their glory days, and recent installments have just not recaptured the same magic as the originals. I don’t know whether it’s time to retire these series (we’re up to what, eight full Halo games, five Gears of Wars?), but it does feel like time to evolve them in meaningful ways, and I don’t think just more iterations of campaign/multiplayer/the end is going to do it. I’d like for these series to evolve in more meaningful ways than what we’ve seen, or else their launches will continue to be underwhelming.




https://www.forbes.com/sites/insertc.../#2f35e5c3a55d
 

The Sunset Limited

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"Have the power edge at launch"

Yeah, because power has been such a great predictor of who will win each console generation...especially since the law of diminishing returns has never been greater.

The truth is simply this. Come in cheaper than the PS5 and make sure Halo Infinite is a revolutionary multiplayer title at launch. If Microsoft can't do either of those two things (not necessarily both), they have no shot.

Power and Fable 4 won't do ****, relatively speaking.
 

Mcmasters

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"Have the power edge at launch"

Yeah, because power has been such a great predictor of who will win each console generation...especially since the law of diminishing returns has never been greater.

The truth is simply this. Come in cheaper than the PS5 and make sure Halo Infinite is a revolutionary multiplayer title at launch. If Microsoft can't do either of those two things (not necessarily both), they have no shot.

Power and Fable 4 won't do ****, relatively speaking.
Brooooooo, seriously?

Power doesnt matter until it's Sony's console. Pffft, whatever.

Power was HUGE at the beginning of this gen....HUGE!!
Looks like MS is going for power and price - hence the two SKU's. Halo Infinite wont be revolutionary - you risk too much by changing to much from the core experience. Evolutionary - for sure.
 

The Sunset Limited

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Brooooooo, seriously?

Power doesnt matter until it's Sony's console. Pffft, whatever.

Power was HUGE at the beginning of this gen....HUGE!!
Looks like MS is going for power and price - hence the two SKU's. Halo Infinite wont be revolutionary - you risk too much by changing to much from the core experience. Evolutionary - for sure.
Look at console war history. Price is what matters. Not power.

And Infinite will be the biggest change the franchise has ever seen. Let's just hope it's a good one.
 

Edge BC

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I know some people like the thought of IO but there are many studios that I would prefer MS acquire over them.
 

karmakid

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*cough*makebungieasecondpartystudio*cough
 

The Sunset Limited

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A Bungie aquisition would be amazing for MS. It probably won't happen but I wouldn't be shocked.
 

Edge BC

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Yeah. Bungie was real happy to get away from Activision. I don't see them wanting to get bought by MS.. not for a while, anyways.
 

Mcmasters

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I dunno. Bungie under Phil's new management, given creative freedom to make whatever they want and Microsoft pays the bills along with health insurance and quarterly pot lucks complete with pulled pork sandwiches, free Sprite and peach cobler 'a la mode -- anything is possible. I'd wear that ring fo damn sho.

 
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karmakid

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I dunno. Bungie under Phil's new management, given creative freedom to make whatever they want and Microsoft pays the bills along with health insurance and quarterly pot lucks complete with pulled pork sandwiches, free Sprite and peach cobler 'a la mode -- anything is possible. I'd wear that ring fo damn sho.


I remember listening to one of their last podcast, whilst with MS, they said something about how they’ll miss their health benefits/plan...
 

Mcmasters

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I remember listening to one of their last podcast, whilst with MS, they said something about how they’ll miss their health benefits/plan...
Truthfully Bungie probably isn't looking to be under someone else for a while but, you gotta know Phil and Co have to be hovering around somewhere with a great deal for a buyout - at least thinking on it. Bungie is a big studio these days though - something like 600 people?
 

OneBadMutha

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Both IO and Ready at Dawn are expanding. IO expanding in Mojang’s region in Sweden which is a developer hot spot. Ready at Dawn in the US. Neither are coming off commercial successes so that money is likely not coming from typical investors. Likely a platform holder. Doesn’t mean it’s Microsoft but I’m going to put money on both being announced at E3. Just smells like Microsoft.

I’m a fan of IO. Not the Hitman license. Their game design is excellent and I’d love to see them take a crack at a 3rd person Perfect Dark or create a new stealth franchise. They need a better writer but otherwise a very good studio.

Bungie isn’t happening. Too expensive now. Microsoft could buy or start 5 good studios for the cost of Bungie due to the Destiny IP. Bungie will stay independent for awhile. Best microsoft could hope for is to publish an exclusive with them like Sony is doing with Insomniac. Destiny will remain multiplat.
 
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