Despite a higher price point and numerous anti-consumer measures being implemented on the Xbox One, no one can deny that Microsoft made good on the promise of making E3 2013 all about the games. Their press conference reveals pointed to a variety of new titles that will hit the Xbox One. We finally saw the new Killer Instinct title, Project Spark, Titanfall, Forza Motorsport 5, Dead Rising 3, and a bunch other games that are slated to arrive on the new console. On their own, these titles had a varying level of impressiveness. I don’t think any of them sparked enough interest to warrant heading out on day one for the must have item of 2013. My hands-on with a tech demo for the new Xbox One controller was the most impressive thing I played at their booth.
E3 is a cluster of people, and E3 2013 was the biggest ever. If it wasn’t, It felt like it. There were massive amounts of people in the high-traffic areas of the big publishers and platform holders. Because of this, many attendees will just grab a controller irrespective of what’s being played on the screen. I did this in the Xbox booth, and accidentally got my hands on something that made me a believer in the next generation of game experiences on the Xbox One. It didn’t come from graphics, or raw power in the machine, it certainly didn’t come from the Kinect, it came from the Xbox One controller and the responsive feedback that the triggers now give you.
For players that are looking for immersion, developers have long used rumble to translate on-screen actions to something that you can feel. With the Xbox One, there will be a wide variety of new ways that developers can immmerse you in the feeling of playing a game. The demo I got my hands on was one that demonstrated these many new ways that this can be used. There a variety of different situations that used different types of rumble, both within the core controller itself, and through the triggers to give responsive feedback in numerous scenarios.
The demo showed off a world of possibilities. Many used two or more types of rumble in simple mechanics that we take for granted. Shooting, Driving, Flying, they all seemed to have a much different feel with the controller in hand. This is especially true when comparing it to the type of rumble that was used in this generation. You feel smaller details from the controller, giving you a much richer feel. The demo wasn’t of any game in action, so you could only extrapolate these demos into existing games. But there’s definitely a world of potential here. Honestly, it’s a very small detail to look at when making a purchasing decision, but one that might lead to more immersing games down the line, especially for those core gamers that have no intentions of retiring their controllers anytime soon.
Does it make up for some of the missteps that Microsoft has been making in their marketing message? No, not really. Does it make up for the anti-consumer practices that will be used to transition gamers into an all digital age? No, not really, this change is going to be hard either way. But this controller was obviously made with one person in mind, and its the person that wants richer game experiences in their traditional forms. We’ll just to wait and see if it’s used by game developers to provide them when the Xbox One arrives this holiday season.