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Thoughts On Microsoft and Titanfall

September 2, 2013

There are two thoughts that I want to put down in text.

First, gamers win because Microsoft really blew it.  In fact, Microsoft blew it two generations in a row.  Had it not been for their 360 hardware issues, it is entirely possible that at $600 for a launch PS3 coming fully one year after the 360, Sony would be out of the market now, or at least marginalized to irrelevancy.  Instead, it wasn’t a matter of if but when, the 360s would break, and therefore, Sony didn’t just jam their foot in the door, they walked right in with friends on their arms, wearing party hats and blowing hard on the kazoos in their mouths.

Then, more recently around this year’s E3, Microsoft had a second chance to leave their competitor in the dust, or at least sitting at the kiddies’ table. Instead, they held the worst press conference in tech history.  It was so bad, in fact, that Sony fanbois, with grape colored mustaches, actually think the One is finished before it even launches.  It isn’t, but can you imagine if Microsoft had announced the product they now intend on delivering (no region coding, 360-policy DRM, packed-in-headset, offline play etc.) with two SKUs, one which not only included a Kinect which can be unplugged, but one with no Kinect for $400?! 

Instead of laughter in the Sony corporate hallways, there would be frightened whispers from faces white as hospital sheets.  …And we would be stuck witnessing Microsoft’s fully armed and operational… Room 101.

Thankfully, Microsoft screwed up.  Sony is now set up to go head-to-head with Microsoft and the PC market, and Microsoft has backed down on all but the pack-in Kinect and $500 price tag.  Microsoft will never recover what they lost in May and June, but they have a war chest and ego to go another 12 rounds trying to win over customers they might have secured 8 years ago. 

It is like a gas war, and gamers win.  The freedom of gaming has been secured for another five years!

My second point is regarding Titanfall.  It continues to earn high praises from seemingly everyone who has tried it, and the focus of praise is on the fresh and entertaining gameplay and the fluidity and response of the controls.  EA has been trying for years now with multiple titles, to break into the Call of Duty market.  To their great disappointment, Medal of Honor is simply rubbish, and Battlefield is too cerebral, team-oriented, and loosely controlled to ever properly challenge the CoD games. 

However, EA now has Titanfall.  It offers twitch gameplay and smooth controls, but in a completely new universe with fresh jet-pack parkour movement and optional but integrated mech control.

Titanfall has not yet been announced for the Playstation, but EA would be batshit crazy to allow Microsoft to secure a console exclusive.  If EA wants to compete with Activision and take on their Call of Duty franchise, Titanfall is their weapon but it must be released on all systems.

Titanfall has captured my imagination. Respawn Entertainment has my attention.  I am already thinking sequels, and hoping that they can introduce “Levolution” (a la Frostbite 3) somehow, without losing the tight controls.  Battlefield, Titanfall, and The Division – it is a great time to be a gamer.

Hit the jump for links to more impressions articles.

More PAX Titanfall Videos here.

  1. September 2, 2013 2:34 pm

    Agreed on all fronts. TitanFall appears to be the next “huge” IP.

    In similar news, BF4 was playable at PAX, and they were demoing the Xbox One version… it looked amazing..

    BUT.. apparently they were literally Xbox One controllers plugged directly into Windows 8 PCs that were hidden…

    The demo wasn’t running “maxed out” settings, but rather what DICE (assuming) is targeting for the Xbox One release.

    If the game looks as good as these demos, no complaints.

  2. Blankman permalink*
    September 2, 2013 4:39 pm

    Good stuff, Suns! I agree that EA would be stupid to award MS full exclusivity on Titanfall & its future sequels. No matter what MS is piling on the table, EA/Respawn would be batshit crazy to take it. This IP could be the “next big thing” in games & it has the imagination to hit pop culture in the same respects that Gears & CoD have. I don’t have the twitch skills like our usual suspects here, but man do I want to see my pals dominate in that game!

    Activision is surely crapping in their pants since they seem to lack forward thinking & planning when the next-gen consoles were around the corner. Two teams working on the CoD franchise & one of them couldn’t produce a new engine from the ground up? Remember that the current engine is a heavily modified Quake 2 engine. Good riddance to rubbish.

  3. September 2, 2013 5:51 pm

    Zos, thanks for the heads up on the scandalous DICE behavior. All shall be revealed when the game hits the shelves. I hope we are relieved rather than disappointed. Regardless, that is some devious shit.

    Blank, great point about Activision’s lack of an engine, and obviously, a team that can develop one. Also, you remind me that I forgot to mention Activision’s next big IP, Destiny. …Bwahahahaha! It may even move millions of units, but the sales numbers will appear nerfed when posted next to CoD and Titanfall.

    Finally, with BF4 (regardless of maxed visuals or not it will have 64 player epic battles on both consoles) and Titanfall as their competition, future CoD iterations (Ghosts not included for it will sell well) may be very disappointing indeed.

  4. September 4, 2013 6:14 pm

    PA’s Tycho discusses Titanfall.

    Titanfall is how you sell a few hundred thousand systems, if you were wondering. You sell those systems because this is the “next thing” in the way that Halo was “the next thing.” When you play Titanfall and then play a game that doesn’t build you a custom robot in orbit and then shoot it down to you, you are going to purse your lips. When you can’t jump and boost and wallrun and mantle up and make it all the way over the map – when you play a map with no roofs, and no interiors, just dirty alleys and mute, textured boxes – you’re gonna frown. You’ll swear, you will entreat God to damn them, but you’re going to want to play what your friends are playing. You’ll resent them for it. But this is how you drag people bodily to a platform: with a game like Titanfall.

  5. FrenkoFrenik permalink
    September 6, 2013 10:27 pm

    I don’t think they are going to make it. Kinect is not as vital as Blu-ray was for the PS3. The price distance and subsequent price drops in hardware in the future is going to make it a losing battle going forward. PS4 can always get cheaper, and further drive the nail in the coffin.

    I think is the other way around. I think it was the absolute failure of the Playstation Eye,and subsequent accesories that put this scenario forward. Without it, PS4 would have had the same crappy sku of pushing a camera for a $100, and MS wouldn’t have backed down from BS policies because it wouldn’t have to.

    Now as for Titanfall, I don’t think it matters if the first one is an exclusive. Time and time again franchises like these have proven they can become better as multi platform later on, on the better sequels.

    Or better yet, just a year later with all the DLC included. MS is just beta testing and market proving a new IP for them. They can easily turn that into more sales for when it comes out for the ps4.

    • September 8, 2013 8:50 pm

      Good point about exclusivity being limited to the first game in an IP. In a solid IP, the second (and further sequels) always outsell the previous games anyway.

      Still, I think that Titanfall is going to be big enough as to sell systems (at least to those who have played it at a friends house and want to keep playing it on their own). Some people will buy the One or switch to PC just to play it – regardless if a PS4 release were promised to come a year later.

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