With E3 2013 less than a month away and after re-watching last year’s press conferences (mostly to get them off my DVR), let’s recap the claims that were made by each of the Big Three companies (plus EA and Ubisoft) and see how they did almost one year later! Five conferences will be reviewed for not their content quality, but the truthfulness of the claims that were made, between now and Episode 135 of SMYN. Up first is MICROSOFT at E3 2012, after the break!
CLAIM: Halo 4 will be released November 6, 2012.
RESULT: True. It met its launch date and the game was actually quite good!
CLAIM: Splinter Cell: Blacklist will be released Spring 2013.
RESULT: WRONG! It is currently slated for August 20, 2013.
CLAIM: FIFA 13 will be “Better with Kinect” in Fall 2012.
RESULT: True. The game did feature Kinect support, although it wasn’t used much, and it launched in North America on September 25, 2012.
CLAIM: Madden 13 will be “Better with Kinect” on August 28, 2012.
RESULT: True. The game met this launch date with Kinect support, although its functionality was questionable, as players could input the shortcuts on the controller much quicker.
CLAIM: Fable: The Journey will be released in Holiday 2012.
RESULT: True. The game launched in October 9, 2012, albeit with relatively weak reviews.
CLAIM: Gears of War: Judgment will be released in 2013.
RESULT: True. The game launched on March 19, 2013.
CLAIM: Forza Horizon will be released October 23, 2012.
RESULT: True. The game met this release date.
CLAIM: Players with Kinect will be able to voice search based on genres. In addition, foreign language support for 12 countries will be implemented.
RESULT: True. Voice recognition effectiveness has proven to be one of Kinect’s biggest strengths and this addition of features was implemented well.
CLAIM: Out of the thirty-five new Xbox Live content providers, four of those include Nickelodeon, Paramount, Machinima, and Univision.
RESULT: True. These were all added.
CLAIM: Sports on Xbox Live will be expanded to include NBA Gametime & LeaguePass, NHL Gamecenter, and WatchESPN.
RESULT: Shaky. These come with a lot of stipulations that were not addressed, such as required memberships or service-ready ISPs. The impression provided during the show was that everyone would have access to these apps.
CLAIM: Xbox Music will feature 30 million tracks across multiple platforms when it launches – no specific date confirmed.
RESULT: Shaky. The service eventually launched on October 16, 2012, but with the limited-time free streaming feature and a $10/month subscription fee, the service has not hit mass appeal at all.
CLAIM: Nike+ Kinect Training will be released in Holiday 2012.
RESULT: True. The game launched on October 30, 2012.
CLAIM: Xbox SmartGlass will allow users to control their Xbox 360s with smartphones and tablets, while also adding a second-screen experience.
RESULT: Shaky. While it does functionally work, it has not hit the success Microsoft had hoped for. Also, it was conveniently left out of the presentation that the second-screen experience does not work with every entertainment possibility, as such content has to be considered and created first.
CLAIM: Internet Explorer will come to Xbox 360 in 2012, with optional SmartGlass control and support.
RESULT: True. Even if Xbox owners would have liked that browser to be Chrome or Firefox, the browser launched on October 16, 2012. And yes, it is locked behind a Xbox Live Gold membership.
CLAIM: SmartGlass will launch worldwide this fall. It will also support tablets running Windows 8.
RESULT: True. Although, it was done with little fanfare and honestly. I only just installed the app on my iPhone while re-watching the conference. It is just that irrelevant right now.
CLAIM: Tomb Raider will have its first DLC timed to be initially Xbox 360-exclusive. No word on the release date.
RESULT: True. The game launched on March 5, 2013. The first “Caves & Cliffs” DLC map pack had about a month-long exclusivity on Xbox 360.
CLAIM: Ascend: New Gods will be released in 2013.
RESULT: To be determined. Actually, the game is now called Ascend: Hand of Kul. That aside, nothing has been said about this God of War-like game from Signal Studios since the conference.
CLAIM: LocoCycle will be released in 2013.
RESULT: To be determined. Nothing has been said about this Twisted Pixel game since the conference.
CLAIM: Matter will be released in 2013.
RESULT: WRONG! This Gore Verbinski Kinect game that seemed to borrow its style from Portal was cancelled in March 2013.
CLAIM: Resident Evil 6 will have its first DLC timed to be initially Xbox 360-exclusive. No word on the release date.
RESULT: True. The game launched on October 2, 2012. The Survivor, Predator, and Onslaught game modes were Xbox 360-exclusive for about two months.
CLAIM: Wreckateer will be released in Summer 2012.
RESULT: True. The game launched on July 25, 2012.
CLAIM: South Park: The Stick of Truth will be released on March 5, 2013.
RESULT: WRONG! After THQ sold off the rights of the game to Ubisoft, the game missed its launch date, but it is still planned on being released in 2013.
CLAIM: Dance Central 3 is coming in 2012 to Xbox 360.
RESULT: True. The game launched on October 16, 2012. It is unclear if those who played it were able to get Usher’s moves, though.
CLAIM: Call of Duty: Black Ops II is coming in 2012 to Xbox 360.
RESULT: True. The game launched on November 13, 2012. Its first DLC pack, “Revolution,” was Xbox 360-exclusive for about a month.
To be determined: 2
Microsoft’s conference will be remembered for the more bizarre moments, most notably for an unnecessary dancing and singing performance by Usher. While many of the release dates of the games shown were met, a lot of the bigger announcements fell flat. The South Park cameo, while amusing, still stings when you consider what has happened to the game. The indie game section of the show was a complete flop in hindsight. Most importantly, SmartGlass was the biggest announcement of Microsoft’s conference, yet what has come out of it? SmartGlass just never gained the public and developer support at launch that Microsoft expected, so several of those claims and concept pitches made during the show feel like pipe dreams in retrospect. Perhaps the service will develop in time, with the help of the next Xbox? 2012 wasn’t failure of a show for Microsoft in terms of truth in hindsight, but when you struggle to deliver on the bigger points, the final grade is going to suffer.
CLAIM GRADE: C+
What would you give Microsoft?