E3 2008: Microsoft's Big Guns

Susan Arendt

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Jan 9, 2007
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E3 2008: Microsoft's Big Guns

After boasting that Xbox 360 will, without doubt, sell more than the PlayStation 3 in this console life cycle, Microsoft showed off its most important upcoming games, including Fallout 3, Fable 2, and - surprisingly- Final Fantasy XIII.

Microsoft kicked off its press conference at this year's E3 with a healthy dose of irony. After telling us how the 360 is a perfect console for families, and that "games are for everyone," Microsoft showcased some of its most important - and mature - upcoming games.

We got a too-quick glimpse of Fallout 3, with Bethesda's Todd Howard demonstrated the VAT (Vault Assisted Targeting), the PipBoy (so swank), and a few weapons including a guaranteed crowd pleaser, the nuclear bomb launching Fat Boy.

Quick glimpses seemed to be the theme of the day, as we got a short look at Resident Evil 5's online co-op play. Players will need to work together and use a bit of strategy in order to progress through the latest installment in the zombie-killing franchise. (Do want!)

If you blinked, you'd have missed Peter Molyneux's time on stage talking about Fable 2's co-op play. He emphasized how easy it was to hook up with your pals to play through the game's multiplayer - just walk into one of the purple orbs you see scattered around Albion. Each orb represents one of your friends currently playing the game solo. He also wanted to let us all know that Fable 2 is finished and will be out in October.

CliffyB took a quick spin through the co-op campaign of Gears of War 2, which looks a lot like Gears of War, only brighter and easier to see. He also used a Locust as a human (erm...well, not human, but you know what I mean) shield to get through a particularly hairy firefight, which was rather awesome.

As fabulous as these games are, they weren't exactly what you'd call surprises. The announcement from Square Enix's Yoichi Wada that Final Fantasy XIII would be coming to the 360, on the other hand, sent many a jaw towards the floor. Don't get too excited just yet, though - Wada said later in the day that Square Enix was going to completely finish the PlayStation 3 version before starting on the 360 version. Curiously, he also said there would be no delay in the 360 version's release.

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N-Sef

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Jun 21, 2008
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I was gobsmacked about the Final Fantasy XIII announcement, it really surprised me and after years of telling us that the PS3 will keep the exclusivity of this next iteration. I really don't see this as a negative at all, it just means more people get to experiance the game. I bet the PS3 faithfull will be pissed at this, but they still have the game so I see no reason why they should be angry. Also, Final Fantasy Verses XIII is still exclusive. For now...
 

SaintWaldo

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Jun 10, 2008
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This actually doesn't really make much sense to me, and given history, it doesn't even concern me that much. FF VII was released on PC along with the PS1. The PS1 version has always been the definitive experience. The PC version didn't sell nearly as much, for all the reasons that happens on PCs. This was before broadband.

I see this as possibly playing out much the same way. I don't think it will move that well on the 360, for many reasons not least of which is due to multi-discs and the availability of it via piracy in the PC/360 channels. I wager the PS3 will still always be the definitive version and will end up making the bulk of the money. It will still only be PS3 in Japan, which will move systems there while it sells its first million. If it moves systems in EU/US, I'm guessing it will move far more PS3s than 360s. It will move exactly zero PCs, I'm quite sure.

So, in the end, I'm curious if S/E is really doing this for the money, for the exposure, or to try to wrest FF from Sony entrenchment. They have switched platforms or dual released before, it hasn't always worked, especially with simultaneous platform releases. They've mainly succeeded by branding different games or porting 8-bit classics.

Don't read me wrong, they will make some money off the other platforms. I just don't think it's going to be as big a coup as some might like to make it. EU/JP PS3 sales will most likely dwarf whatever US 360 can deliver, not even counting what moves on the PS3 here. I'm happy 360 players will get to play this without buying a new console, just like PS3 owners get to play BioShock. But much like The Orange Box didn't move that well on PS3, I don't think BioShock will set any records on the PS3. It will maybe justify the production, seeing as it's a smaller effort to port than to create. I don't see it repeating any system moving power, sad as that might seem. I see the same thing for the 360 version of FF XIII; sales that justify the effort, but no system moving effects that make this any kind of decisive move in the willful notion of platform wars.

See? That's how you type yourself off a ledge...
 

Lvl 64 Klutz

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Indigo_Dingo said:
Edit : However, on reading the final paragraph, it did say one thing to me - the 360 version will be a rush job.
Or the release date for both could be pushed back a long time. I think Square Enix has learned their lesson about rush jobs. I see your point, but the transition might just be simpler than one would think. Or, since it's not coming to Japan, most of the project could be given to SEofA. And no offense to your opinion, just my wishful thinking.
 

Skrapt

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Xbox 360 selling more then PS3 over it's lifetime? I don't think this will hold true, while undoubtedly the Xbox 360 has been selling better then the PS3 (well up until about last year when PS3 sales exceeded Xbox 360 sales in Europe) I think that it's simply going to come down to a matter of longevity on who sells the most of their respective console. And when you get down to it, I think ultimately the PS3 will have a much longer product life cycle then the Xbox 360 could hope to achieve. As with Blu-ray, support for full high definition games and an altogether more impressive spec sheet, the PS3 could probably stand to outlast the Xbox 360 and quite a chunk of it's successor before having to bow out for the PS4.
 

Virgil

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Susan Arendt said:
Microsoft showed off its most important upcoming games, including Fallout 3, Fable 2, and - surprisingly - Final Fantasy XIII.
This, in the end, is still what makes the Xbox 360 the better gaming system for me. It just has more, better games that are unique, and all the cross-platform games too. The fact that the early hardware had a high defect rate or that half the people on Xbox Live should be euthanized still doesn't change this.

Susan Arendt said:
Don't get too excited just yet, though - Wada said later in the day that Square Enix was going to completely finish the PlayStation 3 version before starting on the 360 version. Curiously, he also said there would be no delay in the 360 version's release.
Given that their latest engine was designed to be cross-platform, they've been laying the groundwork for this for a long time. I'd suspect that most of the work they need to do to make the 360 work once the content is done is just tweaks, tuning, and bug testing. It's probably also relatively cheap, making a cross-platform publish a no-brainer.

Or maybe they're planning on delaying the PS3 version and releasing both at once, to test the market reaction. It would certainly provide them with good comparative financials for each platform, and it's not like they're hurting for cash and can't afford a delay.
 

stompy

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Arbre said:
Didn't they say they'd also make the 360 version of FXIII faster? :)
Well, the 360 is easier to develop for, so maybe. Though, I just hope they release a good game. Good for both consoles.
 

sammyfreak

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Yay! I won't need to leech at my friends houses to play what is looking like the most sane FF yet.
 

Dommyboy

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You can't really say the Xbox360 has unique games, every 'good' game they produce will no doubt come out for PC as Microsoft do indeed enjoy the monies.