Microsoft Press Conference: Xbox One Will Cost $499

A cloud of confusion and frustration loomed over Microsoft this morning as the company kicked off E3 officially with their annual press conference.

Thanks to last week’s obtuse clarification of Xbox One features, Microsoft has only exacerbated the controversies surrounding the new console, most notably the requirement of a daily Internet connection, and the inability to lend or gift your games. If Microsoft intends to make up for bungled PR, they’re going to have to provide a reason for gamers to accept these restrictions, but unfortunately, the company did nothing to address or even acknowledge those issues head on. Instead, they apparently aim to ride out the backlash and hope that a slate of potentially excellent games will convince gamers to give up some of their consumer rights.

Based on what was shown, the company has more work to do on that front: the console comes with a steep price tag, especially in this economy, for what appears to be little reward. Games look somewhat impressive but nothing shown off today, with the possible exception of the just-announced Quantum Break, looked like a true killer app.

But before we get into that, let’s break down the biggest announcements first:

    Xbox One will be priced at $499.00.
    Xbox One will launch this November.
    Xbox Points are being replaced with real world currency on Xbox One.
    No load times for Dead Rising 3.
    A built-in DVR for gaming is confirmed, and Microsoft has entered into a partnership with Twitch for broadcasting let’s play videos.
    The new Halo for Xbox One will have dedicated servers.
    World of Tanks is coming to Xbox 360.

First and foremost, Xbox One will cost $499.00 at launch. That is a steep price even with the console’s numerous features, mainly because the console comes with some unpopular poison pills, but also because we still don’t know how much games are going to cost. The assumption is that the average price of a game will increase from the current MSRP of $59.99, but with the games no longer truly re-sellable and players prevented from freely lending them or giving them away, any increase is going to feel punitive. It’s certain Microsoft has not seen the end of player backlash. The ball is now in Sony’s court.

The conference opened with an extended look at Metal Gear Solid: Phantom Pain, followed by a brief look at some Xbox 360 news. The newest version of the 360 console (a sleeker, smaller version) was unveiled, as well as the news that Microsoft is rolling out its own version of Playstation Plus with a free games program for Xbox Live Gold members. The first two games announced to be available for free were Assassins Creed 2 and Halo 3. New games are coming to Xbox 360 as well, including World of Tanks, and a new game from Press Play Studios called Max: The Curse of Brotherhood. This portion of the presentation ended with an extended trailer for Dark Souls 2.

After the reveal of new Xbox 360 titles, we finally reached the Xbox One portion of the presentation, including a deeper look at some of the hardware and software like Xbox One’s smartglass and gaming DVR features, and changes to Xbox Live. Most notably, Xbox One comes with a feature called Upload Studio, which allows players to record and even edit their game footage, including the addition of commentary. Microsoft has also entered into a partnership with Twitch for the broadcasting of gameplay footage. In other words, go to hell, Youtube. Microsoft is also getting rid of Microsoft Points: Xbox One’s version of Xbox Live will simply use real currency. For more, see Devin Connors’ breakdown of hardware details, and Phil Hornshaw’s look at changes to Xbox Live.

Mainly, Microsoft made good on their promise to show off Xbox One’s games, starting with the reveal of a new title set during the Roman Empire called Ryse: Son of Rome. Resembling a mashup of God of War and Gears of War, the game is centered around a general named Marius Titus and appears to be set during the late Principate. Based on one level shown called “Dover”, it’s possible the game will feature some version of Rome’s conquest of Britain. Ryse had exceptionally pretty graphics with smooth transition between cutscenes and gameplay. Combat was also well done, right down to the fishscale formation pioneered by Roman Legions, along with some sword fighting which looked far more medieval in character. It will launch with Xbox One this November.

Among the more interesting reveals was, shockingly, Dead Rising 3. Taking a page from Grand Theft Auto V, it’s set in a fictional versio of Los Angeles called Los Perdidos, featuring a new protagonist and a supposedly greater degree of realism. (Presumably, the new protagonist, Nick Ramos, won’t spend his time constantly telling people he’s a photojournalist.) In addition, CD Project Red confirmed Witcher 3 is coming to Xbox One as well. That game will be completely free-roaming and set in an open world environment, “all built from hand-crafted, non-linear quests.”

Xbox One will also feature what appears to be, for lack of a better way to put it, a game development game called Project Spark. It’s essentially Minecraft on steroids allowing players to use tools in Project Park to create their own games. That said, it was never adequately explained what Project Spark is, exactly, continuing Microsoft’s maddening inability to actually describe the new console.

Other confirmed Xbox One games include: Killer Instinct; and new game from Insomniac called Sunset Overdrive; Forza 5; An interesting-looking title called Quantum Break; a new Halo, which will feature cloud computing, a “blistering” (don’t laugh) 60 FPS, and dedicated servers; a point and click adventure called D4; and Titanfall.

Technical problems abounded during the presentation, with frequent sound and video outages causing unintentional comedy for the audience. The worst such occurrence happened when EA and Dice presented footage from battlefield 4. An embarrassing interruption of the stream delayed their gameplay video for several minutes, and the audience responded with loud booing. This prompted one EA representative to petulantly snap “quiet!” while attempting to work through the humiliation of a botched presentation. While it might not be a fair comparison, one can’t help but wonder how Microsoft plans to handle the crush of millions of gamers forced to ping their servers daily just to play single player games if it can’t even handle a highly managed presentation like this.

Microsoft also stepped in it when, during the Killer Instinct demo, a rape joke dropped like a lead, poo-covered balloon. Not only was it in horrible taste, it also has become the most talked-about part of the conference. Once again, Microsoft completely fails to grasp the simple art of message management.

Game Front will be on the scene all week bringing you the best and worst from the E3 floor. Bookmark our landing page and keep checking all week.

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11 Comments on Microsoft Press Conference: Xbox One Will Cost $499

Kazoo

On June 10, 2013 at 11:06 am

Ross.. I’m getting the feeling you’re not exactly overwhelmed by the presentation? ;)

Huntsman06

On June 10, 2013 at 11:31 am

Somehow I don’t see how the change from Microsoft Points to local $ is worthy of E3 announcement. Yea the system is a little goofy at the moment (800 =$10?) but that is really the last thing anybody cared to hear.

lol

On June 10, 2013 at 12:12 pm

Cheaper than the Xbox 360 at launch and you are getting way more bang for your buck. People crying about the Xbox 1 are people who probably bought the Xbox 360 at the modern price, anywhere between 200 – 250 bucks including a hard-drive, plus 20 dollar used games.

Xbox 360 was 499 – 599 at launch, not including the hard-drive or kinect. Not to mention you can’t even compare the launch titles, Project Gotham Racing 3 vs Forza 5 or Perfect Dark vs Battlefield 4/COD Ghost

Not to mention all the apps, free games and everything else included now. IE, Netflix all that TV jazz stuff.

The always on DRM thing is the only way to fix J-Tagged Xbox 360 consoles, so you can blame all the 14 year old cod players and scriptkiddies on Youtube and the 7sins/techgamer forums for ruining it for you guys the same way torrenting games started the DRM bull with Steam/Uplay/Origin.

Ted

On June 10, 2013 at 12:28 pm

they need to say how much games will cost for this generation.

Mr Glassback

On June 10, 2013 at 12:45 pm

$499 or £429 in the UK. A 34% mark up.
F**k you too MS.

hsvenom

On June 10, 2013 at 2:46 pm

Xbox one will be a flop. Anyone who buys it is either a fanboy or a sheep.

S.J.M

On June 10, 2013 at 3:03 pm

As Mr Glassback has already noted, the $499 for the US is £429 for the UK.

What a rip off, the Dollar to Pounds conversion should make it £320, almost £100 less then the RRP. If the US was paying the UK RRP, it would be $670 for the XB One. Even accounting for UK tax, its still around £380 a console. Lets not forget that your going to have to pay for the XB Live account too.

At least it’s made it easy on making my mind up on if I want to purchase a console.

Ron Whitaker

On June 11, 2013 at 6:24 am

@lol – Were you around at the launch of the 360? it was $299 for the Xbox 360 Core, or $399 for the Xbox 360. The $399 model included high-def cabling, a 20GB HDD, a headset, and a media remote.

If you’re going to make lame examples, at least get the examples right.

Sigh

On June 11, 2013 at 8:27 am

@Ron: Don’t humor the troll. He always does this, sucks the d*** of the big companies and says that anyone who finds genuine flaws is ‘crying’ or ‘entitled’ as well as representing a minority. Plus, as you rightly pointed out, his examples and comparisons are beyond vapid.

Air Jimma

On June 11, 2013 at 2:17 pm

The PS4 is a more powerful machine and costs $100 less?

I have been an Xbox player for 8 years and I think might just skip the Xbox one. The worst part is I have a feeling the mandatory Kinect is the reason for the lack of graphical power in the new Xbox and the increased price point. I can deal with the DRM and no used games. I can’t deal with the stupid stupid stupid Kinect being required and half the raw graphical power of the PS4.

whiskey chits

On June 11, 2013 at 3:03 pm

isn’t this exactly what happened during the launch of the previous consoles? everyone was on Sonys nuts before inevitably jumping on the 360 bandwagon?