Seeking to put the misery of its E3 2013 marketing defeat behind it, Microsoft showed up for its E3 2014 media briefing with a new strategy. And this year, the message is as simple as it is obvious: It's all about the games, stupid.
Right up front, Microsoft head of Xbox Phil Spencer declared that this year's show would only feature games. No hardware announcements. No accessories. No services. No apps. Just games.
That said, there are two non-games issues worth mentioning.
First, Microsoft's new $400 Kinect-less version of the Xbox One console did debut today as well. They'd be delighted if you bought one. Or perhaps we can interest you in the more powerful and expensive Xbox One with Kinect?)
Second, Microsoft has announced the availability of an Xbox Feedback site, following in the footsteps of the "listen to your users" mantra we see with Windows and Windows Phone too. You can use this site to post ideas, suggestions, and feedback to the Xbox team. So let them know how you really feel.
As for the games, there isn't a lot to say, honestly. There are a lot coming, or what Microsoft calls "the best lineup of games in Xbox history." Something tells me they've used that line before. But some of the more prominent game announcements, none unexpected, include:
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. The next Call of Duty looks incredible. They always do though. All add-on content for the game will debut first, exclusively on Xbox, as with the previous few games.
Forza Horizon 2. Racing game.
Evolve. A shooter that looks like a modern version of DOOM, complete with a chaingun.
Assassin’s Creed Unity. Assassin's Creed. But in France. And with four-player co-op, which could be interesting.
Halo: The Master Chief Collection for Xbox One. All of the original Master Chief-based Halo games (Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, Halo 2 Anniversary, Halo 3 and Halo 4) in one package, remastered for Xbox One (but not redesigned for new engines) and running in full 1080p.
Crackdown for Xbox One. The original Xbox 360 classic is coming to Xbox One.
You can find the full list at the Xbox Wire's Xbox Delivers Winning Lineup of Exclusive Games for this Holiday Season.
I was hoping for some information about enthusiast/amateur software development for Xbox One, and perhaps the debut of a "Visual Studio Express for Xbox" or whatever. Maybe I'm just dreaming, but this seems so obvious.