It all started with rumors of swag.
I’ve always wanted to attend E3, but have never been able to… until this year. I bought a badge as soon as they went on sale so this is my very first visit to E3. I’m what the kids call a ‘n00b’ for an event like this. You see, this year the Entertainment Software Association opened up 15,000 tickets for members of the public to purchase and visit the expo floor of E3. This hallowed ground, which is home to the biggest and newest games, is normally reserved for members of the press. I am not a person who qualifies for a press badge to E3, but I love E3. I almost always watch the press events that all the big players hold to show off their new games and hardware. I would watch along with a Twitter stream of hot takes and opinions.
Now a badge is just the beginning. It allows me to access the expo floor and that is fine, but the big shows are the press events. I was lucky enough to help The Dadcade with the beginning of this wonderful site, but at the time I was unable to commit to writing many articles. So, when they pinged me to let me know they received an invite to the Xbox Press Event, I was very excited for them. But it turns out they weren’t able to attend and that they wanted me to attend and report back from the event! I’m not ashamed to admit that I did a really goofy dance at that very moment.
Fast forward to Sunday, June 11th, the day of the Xbox E3 Briefing. I had arrived in LA the day before and I was fortunate to have a good friend help show me the ropes of these events. She had heard from her editor that it would be a really good idea to get to the event early because there were rumors swirling around that Microsoft would be giving away some swag. So I headed over to the first bus available to shuttle me over to the Galen Center, where the event would be held. Once I arrived, the Xbox people scanned our invitations, a really nice dog smelled my bag, and I was handed a very nifty Xbox Briefing badge on a lanyard along with a piece of paper instructing me to find a seat in Section 105.
I arrived in line a full 2 hours before the doors would even be opening for the event, so I was very close to the front of the line. While waiting, I struck up a few conversations with my line-mates and discussed what we expected to see revealed during the presentation. I watched as people kept arriving, I even tried to play a little Street Pass Plaza, but I guess there weren’t many people waiting for an Xbox event with a 3DS.
Finally, the time to enter the arena had arrived. It was a bit of a mad dash but I quickly located Section 105 and found a seat as close to the stage as I could. I sat down and took in my surroundings. This place was amazing! I’ve seen the staging from my computer screen in the past but to see it in person is just spectacular.
The lights dimmed and the music started blasting. We were all treated to a very spiffy video package to start off the show. Afterwards, Phil Spencer, the head of Xbox, was introduced and took the stage. He didn’t make the crowd wait long at all as he introduced the brand-new entry, the Xbox One X. This machine sounds like a beast yet is slightly smaller than their current offering, the Xbox One S. It’s so powerful, they explained they needed to use a new method to cool the machine while in use. After explaining the new console and its features, they started showing off all the software that would take advantage of this powerful hardware.
The games were shown off pretty quickly and usually were preceded with a really loud version of the word ‘exclusive’ though they left it to the slide to explain that most of these exclusives were actually timed exclusives that would eventually make their way to other consoles. Xbox started off with one of their bigger (and actual) exclusives, Forza Motorsport 7. For some reason, they showed off a fancy new Porsche (the 2018 Porsche 911 GT2 RS to be exact) before showing us any actual game footage. From here on there were many games shown off so I’ll just talk about 3 of my favorites.
The first game I’m looking forward to is Cuphead, a game that was first shown off at the Xbox press event at E3 in 2014. It got quite the response from Xbox fans. One would assume this would mean they would rush to get the game done and out, but Microsoft actually let the small development team at StudioMDHR take their time and get it right. Now at E3 3 years later they were able to announce a release date for this funny little game, September 29th. I’ll be picking this one up because I love the art and animation style that reflects old cartoons from the 1930s.
Next up is not a game I’m excited because I want to play it, but because my kids do. My kids love Minecraft! And Microsoft is making some welcome changes to the franchise. The biggest news was that Minecraft will now work across ALL platforms, except Playstation. This is great because my kids don’t enjoy sharing screens. Now one can play on their iMac or iPad while the other is on the Xbox. This also means they can play with more of their friends. In addition to this, Microsoft will be enhancing the graphics for Minecraft as well. I was skeptical when they first started talking about this but as the video footage of the updates was shown, I was actually pretty impressed.
Finally, the game announcement that I was most excited for was Crackdown 3. I was a big fan of the first game. It was just a ton of stupid fun and enjoyment. Sadly, I didn’t get very far into the sequel as it just didn’t have the same feel as the first. I am hopeful they will fix this with the new entry. Crackdown 3 was also announced back at the 2014 Xbox press event and has been incubating for a long time. I anticipate that this extra time will make the game more enjoyable yet retain the fun gameplay of the first game. To announce the release date of the game, they showed off a trailer which starred a very excited and bouncy Terry Crews. The moment Mr Crews started yelling about taking down buildings with my abilities, I was in. Queue the super high energy music track and off we go. Inside the theater we were treated some spectacular pyrotechnics which just added to the whole over the top theme that Crackdown has. I’ll be picking this one up when it releases on November 7th.
The show ended with Phil coming back out, quickly telling us the price of the Xbox One X would be $499, and then thanking the fans for their support before leaving the stage. After that we shuffled out of the arena and to the buses waiting to ferry us back to the LA Convention Center. On the ride back I was able to reflect on what I had just watched. The show is so much more kinetic in person. There is a feeling that watching through a screen just can’t replicate. It’s similar to watching a concert in person instead of on television. It made me more excited and involved with the announcements. I left that arena wondering how fast I could pre-order an Xbox One X. However, this feeling fades as reality sets in and I reevaluate the news. I personally don’t see a reason why somebody would pick up an Xbox One X over the now cheaper $199 Xbox One S. You still get 4K resolution and HDR support and save $300.
So, that’s what it was like as a first time attendee of the 2017 Xbox E3 Briefing. I had a wonderful time and I want to thank The Dadcade for the opportunity. What do you think of the Xbox announcements?