Oh yeah, we have games, too.
After spending much of its resources launching the Xbox One videogame console last year, Microsoft turned the spotlight away from hardware and all on games that will become available on the next-generation system later this year and in 2015.
Microsoft needed the 90-minute presentation, held on the eve of the Electronic Entertainment Expo — the videogame industry’s largest confab — to play well with the crowed of media, analysts, gamemakers and retailers packed inside the Galen Center in Los Angeles early Monday.
The company is turning to its games to move millions of Xbox Ones out retailers’ doors this holiday. It dropped the price of the Xbox One to $399 last month (without the Kinect motion control sensor) in order to better compete with rival Sony, whose PlayStation 4 is selling better at the same price. While Xbox says it has sold more than 5 million units of the Xbox One, Sony has sold more than 7 million PS4s.
During its event, Microsoft touted the latest installments of high-profile franchises like “Halo,” “Call of Duty,” “Assassin’s Creed,” “Forza Motorsport,” “Fable,” “Dragon Age,” “Dance Central” and “Tomb Raider,” but also a growing slate of independently produced titles like Moon Studios’ painterly “Ori and the Blind Forest,” and those produced through ID@Xbox arm, including “Inside.”
There also were a slew of new titles that it hopes will start new franchises.
Those include Insomniac Games’ “Sunset Overdrive,” Turtle Rock Studios’ “Evolve,” Ubisoft’s “The Division,” and Platinum Games’ “Scalebound.”
“Sunset Overdrive” played particularly well with attendees. The game mashes up the colorful graphics and loud visuals of cartoons and comicbooks with a humor-filled monster shooter.
“Rise of the Tomb Raider” continues the story of the series that was rebooted in 2013 featuring a younger Lara Croft.
For “Halo,” Microsoft is re-releasing all of the sci-fi series’ games for the Xbox One as a lead up to next year’s “Halo 5: Guardians.” The games will be packaged as “Halo; The Master Chief Collection” on Nov. 11, and include the live action digital series “Halo: Nightfall,” produced by Ridley Scott, that will introduce a key new character that will appear in “Halo 5” (see above).
If there was a trend that emerged with the game reveals, it’s that it’s a good time to be bad.
Several games, including Lionhead Studios’ “Fable Legends,” and “Evolve,” from 2K and Turtle Rock Studios, will enable players to control the villains for the first time in multiplayer modes.
Ubisoft’s “Assassin’s Creed: Unity” will also offer a multiplayer and co-op mode for the first time which should help keep the series fresh with gamers as the company plans to launch a film franchise starring Michael Fassbender with New Regency and Fox. New game is set during the French Revolution.
Microsoft also plans to reboot “Crackdown” and “Phantom Dust.”
The company also is still supporting the Xbox 360, and plans to release “Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel,” from 2K and Gearbox Software, as well as titles such as “Forza Horizon 2,” “Project Spark,” “Ori and the Blind Forest” and “Magic 2015 – Duels of the Planeswalkers” on the system.