There were a couple of key themes during Microsoft's big E3 2015 media briefing today: a refocused emphasis on games under the leadership of Phil Spencer; an obsession with this holiday season's exclusives; and, perhaps most importantly, a desire to offer something fresh but familiar for the Xbox faithful.
The company has shed a huge portion of its fanbase to the PlayStation 4, and everyone at Redmond knows it. That's why moves such as backward compatibility for the Xbox One are key; Sony won't ever be able to emulate the PlayStation 3's complex architecture on its own console – and with the potentially lucrative PlayStation Now in its stable, we doubt that it cares to. But with millions of Xbox 360 owners around the world unsure of which system to select, backward compatibility will offer a welcome nudge.
Sony has been attracting loyal Xbox customers for years now, but it will now have to work for their dollars again
Spencer and his team talked about a lot of games, but the ones that will be discussed intricately on message boards later today will be the big three: Halo 5, Forza Motorsport 6, and Gears 4. A cynical editor could argue that the Xbox maker is once again playing it safe, but this seems to tally with its strategy: it's rolling out recognisable brands that Xbox fans are accustomed to and expect.
Not that the conference lacked original ideas: a new game from Keiji Inafune and Armature was undoubtedly a surprise, even if its CG reveal probably indicates that it's not far into development. Meanwhile, the likes of Rare were present and unshackled from Kinect – a sign that Microsoft's done with the gimmicky days of yore. Well, Hololens aside.
It was a quality showing: well paced, as is always the case with Microsoft – and a return to the standard expected from the organisation prior to the Xbox One's stumbling start. But in some ways it felt like an apology for the past few years; a reminder that that the Redmond firm does still care about games for the gamers, and that its latest box is a legitimate alternative to the PS4.
At the heart of it, though, this was a show to get Xbox fans excited about Xbox again – and that's exactly what it needed to be. Sony has been attracting loyal Microsoft customers to its console for a couple of years now, but it now finds itself in a position where it will have to work for their dollars again. Without any true megaton software reveals, the Japanese giant still has an opportunity to steal its competitor's thunder this evening. It'll need to bring the big guns, though – and not wave after wave of Project Morpheus demos.
What did you think of the Microsoft press conference? Do you think that Sony can top it? Let us know in the comments section below.
Do you think Sony can top Microsoft's presser? (137 votes)
Yes, of course
We shall see, Galvatron
Nah, not a chance
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