Join us in reliving the hype of last year's Microsoft E3 press conference with the know-it-all hindsight of what did and didn't come true. Sorry, Microsoft, but you were not perfect in predicting the future...
What good is E3 hype if none of it comes true?
To get you ready for this E3, we've subjected ourselves to re-living the major press conferences of last year's big show. We've pulled all of the predictions, promises and other verbal constructions Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony used to get you excited about their console. And we've seen what became of all those thrilling statements.
Microsoft, your E3 2008 promises are being checked today — exhaustively.
Background: The Microsoft press briefing occurred on July 14 in the West Hall of the Los Angeles Convention Center. This showcase lasted more than 90 minutes.
Big Money From Hardcore Games
Don Mattrick, Microsoft's senior vice president of interactive entertainment business (i.e. he's the Xbox boss), starts hyping Fallout 3, Resident Evil 5, Fable II and Gears of War 2: "Combined these games represent over a half a billion dollars in projected sales. And they will drive console demand in the coming year."
Verdict: Let's see. Gears sells two million in its first week, so that's about 120 million right there. Fallout 3 sells 4.7 million copies in less than a month, so that's about 282 million. We're over 400 million and we're not even at Fable or RE5, so we'll stop counting now. Good first prediction, Don Mattrick!
A Lengthy Fallout
Bethesda lead game designer Todd Howard demos Fallout 3 and says: "This is a huge game with over 100 hours of gameplay."
Verdict: Sure, that sounds about right, though the main content in the game could be finished in about 40 hours.
Fallout DLC TBD
Howard: "We're going to be doing substantial downloadable content for Fallout 3 and it will be exclusive for the Xbox 360 and Games for Windows."
Verdict: True! All three DLC packs are now out for both platforms, and are not out on PS3.
Resident Evil 5 Release Date Confirmed?
Jun Takeuchi, producer of Resident Evil 5, says Resident Evil 5 "will be available in a simultaneous worldwide release in North America and Europe on Friday the 13, March 2009." (Screen showed March 12 2009 for Japan).
Verdict: Incorrect, sir! RE5 came out a week earlier than promised in Japan, on March 5.
Fable II Would Be Awesome
Peter Molyneux, creative director of Lionhead Studios, hyping Fable II: "You've never experienced anything like the dog in a game, but what I want to show you is the ability to play co-op over Xbox Live" [Verdict: OK, kind of hard to disagree]….The story will be great. [Verdict: That's subjective, Peter] … Your son grows. Your children will grow up with you [Verdict: Possibly misleading; those kids don't grow up]… Fable 2 will be out in October of this year [Verdict: Correct!]
Gears of War 2: For The World
Cliff Bleszinski, design director at Epic Games: "Gears of War 2 will be available worldwide November 7, exclusively on Xbox 360."
Verdict: True if you count the U.S. and Europe as the world; untrue if you consider Japan part of this planet.
Sony To Be Crushed
Mattrick: I'm so confident in our momentum and our bright future that I'm willing to declare here today that Xbox 360 will sell more consoles worldwide this generation than PlayStation 3.
Verdict: Too soon to say, but so far so good for Microsoft.
A New - sort of - Xbox 360 Coming Fall 2008
John Schappert, vice president of Xbox Live, software and services: "I'm excited to announce today that for the first time in history a consumer electronics device will be completely reinvented through software… When people around the world turn on the Xbox 360s this fall they will be greeted by an entire new interface, an entire new dashboard, creating a brand new Xbox through the magic of software."
Verdict: The New Xbox Experience did indeed go live in the fall, transforming the Xbox 360 from the inside out.
Avatars Will Be Great, Omnipresent
Brendan, last-name-less Rare software design engineer, describing the NXE's Avatars: "You'll see them in the dashboard when you turn on the system. [Verdict: True] You'll see them in your friends list. [Verdict: Yep] You're going to see them in games all over the place and you'll see avatars on websites. [Verdict: We're counting Uno Rush and a Kingdom Kieflings once apiece, ok? Seems that we've got Avatars in a little more than 10 games so far.]
Avatars Will Have Lots of Clothes
Chris, last-name-less Rare producer: "Really, the number of clothes is ultimately going to be limitless. You can expect to see new clothes released in the same way you'd go into a shop and see summer fashion and the winter fashion, you're going to see the same thing here."
Verdict: True. New clothes keep getting issued for Avatars.
Prime Time Is Coming Soon
Schappert: "I'm going to take us to a new channel, Xbox Live Prime Time which we are unveiling today and rolling out this fall [Verdict: No, make that some forthcoming month in 2009]… This fall you'll be able to play along with all of Xbox Live either as the One, the One Hundred or one of the thousands that watch and play this huge prime time game. And the best part, you'll all be able to win real prizes… Instead of just checking to see what's on TV this fall you'll turn on your Xbox 360 to see what's on Live. [Verdict: Whoa, whoa, slow down there John. Xbox Live Prime Time still isn't live, nor is its launch game show, 1 Vs 100, which is, at least, now in beta.]
XBLA Games Coming
Schappert Announced Geometry Wars 2 for "next month"; Galaga Legions announced as 360 exclusive for "next month," Portal Still Alive coming in the fall "with brand new levels and achievements," coming to Xbox Live Arcade.
Verdict: All accurate predictions.
And South Park Too
Announcer in short promo for South Park Xbox Live Arcade game: "Coming exclusively in 2009…"
Verdict: No sign of it yet, but there is plenty more of 2009 to come to keep from the unnamed Announcer to be known as a Liar.
Community Games coming
Schappert: We will launch Xbox Live Community games this fall as part of the New Xbox Experience.
Netflix 360 Will Be Big
Schappert: "Xbox 360 will be the only game system that lets members who are also Netflix subscribers instantly watch more than 10,000 movies and TV episodes more than doubling our current content offering."
Verdict: Seemingly accurate, though we haven't counted to ensure that more than 10,000 movies and shows were added.
Netflix Watching Will Be Communal
Schappert: "I'm thrilled to announce that you can share your movies and tv shows with your Live party. We all can watch TV and movies together."
Verdict: Uh-uh. This was cut.