343 Industries: “We Will Make This Right With Our Fans”
“We have not delivered the experience you deserve,” wrote Bonnie Ross, 343’s head, yesterday. “I personally apologize for this on behalf of us all at 343 Industries. Our team is committed to working around the clock until these issues are resolved.”
Spartan-117’s debut on the Xbox One has been nothing short of disastrous. Halo: The Master Chief Collection’s multiplayer suite, featuring over one hundred maps spanning four main installments, is riddled with matchmaking issues, UI bugs, and has prevented a majority of players from accessing the online components that the series is famous for.
A patch targeting these problems was released late last week but for many, myself included in the ranks, its affects are minuscule with several of the same key issues like long matchmaking times, failed sessions, and uneven rosters still rampant.
“Within 343 Industries and Xbox,” writes Ross, “I can assure you that resolving these issues is our #1 priority.” Both sides of the fence are apparently prepping a slew of content updates meant to improve the title’s dismal state. Ross is careful to note that her team won’t just be analyzing data from the controlled server environment at 343 but will be studying how improvements are working with “fans at home."
"Our primary and continued focus is first on fixing the issues at hand. Once we’ve done that, we will detail how we will make this right with our fans.” Sounds like free DLC to me.
Given the game’s high profile and Xbox’s posturing for it to be the Holiday console seller, The Master Chief Collection’s problems have overshadowed fellow broken-out-of-box releases like Drive Club, which suffered crippling server difficulties, and Assassin’s Creed Unity, a game so riddled with bugs it’s not uncommon to see NPC’s without a fucking face. You know you’ve got a crisis on your hands when people can forget that horror long enough to be angry at your game.
Somebody must have tasked Phil Spencer with two missions yesterday when he took to E3’s stage in Los Angeles: 1) Avoid showing off anything regarding, related to, or even remotely reminiscent of TV apps and 2) Slowly strangle anyone who dares utter the word “Kinect” while staring into their eyes as their soul fades from their body like a light dimming.
I say this because Phil made damn sure the only thing that took center stage besides camera-shy, stammering game developers was the games themselves. What ensued was probably one of the better conferences held by the company in quite some time – Microsoft wasn’t going to let Sony blacken their eye again like at last year’s event.
Below, I’ve collected (almost) every title named at the Xbox presser. Be sure to click on each game’s name to peep an accompanying trailer.
See, don’t I take care of you guys?
Microsoft to Sell Kinect-less Xbox One Units in June (!)
The genesis of Microsoft’s policy on the Xbox One/Kinect 2.0 pairing began with the company announcing the console wouldn’t even function without the peripheral. Fan feedback – vehement feedback – had MS back down from that divisive decision.
But Microsoft would not relent completely, stating that the Kinect was such an integral part of their Xbox strategy, they would never sell Xbox One units without bundling the extraneous motion sensor. Well, folks, never say never, huh?
The new chief of Xbox, Phil Spencer, says that while the Kinect remains locked into their vision for the future of Xbox (“It’s an important differentiator for us”), Microsoft is responding to fans who wish to experience Xbox One only through a wireless controller.
Thusly, beginning June 9th, you’ll be able to find Xbox One units minus the Kinect on store shelves in North America and Europe, priced at $399 (or £349/399 Euros).
For me, this has been the make-or-break factor keeping me from jumping on Xbox’s next-generation. I haven’t the slightest interest in Kinect; it has potential, but we haven’t really gotten past the “swatting at air” phase of the technology. Until then, I’d like my primary form of interaction to be what’s worked since the NES: a controller.
How about you kindly gamers out there? Will you finally jump on the Xbone bandwagon now that Kinect is separate?
Microsoft Studios’ Phil Spencer Named “Head of Xbox”
Sir Phil Spencer, longtime Xbox figurehead and, up until now, head of Microsoft Studios, has been announced as the Head of Xbox today.
Spencer will now take the reigns of not only the Xbox and Xbox Live divisions of Microsoft, but he’ll oversee Xbox Music and Video as well as his old digs, Microsoft Studios. “Combining these teams will strengthen the connection between some of the world’s most innovative creators and those building the Xbox itself,” wrote Xbox’s new honcho in his open letter, “A New Day at Xbox.”
Most of the letter reaffirms Xbox’s stance to usher in growth and innovation into the console, mobile, and PC markets, while harboring a platform for both microscopic indie developers and gigantic, years-cemented publishing partners.
What instills confidence in me that Phil is the right man for the job came about in this simple, shot-to-the-heart statement: “Games and gamers have always been at the core of Xbox and the core of my work—and gaming will be our core as we take Xbox forward.”
Xbox One in particular was initially criticized for trying to become more of an entertainment hub than a gaming driven experience. The console is young and its path is still being paved, but with people like Spencer in charge who remember what put Xbox on the map to begin with – namely the games and not Netflix, if you can fathom such a dark age – I’m more willing than ever to see where the trail goes.
Best of luck to you, Phil.
Microsoft Rewarding Xbox Loyalists in Anticipation of the One (The Console; Not, Like,“The Chosen One”)
Spend an inordinate amount of time bulking up that Gamerscore? Do you make sure your Live subscription is renewed even before your water bill is paid? Sounds like you’re a worthy candidate for Microsoft’s latest bout of charity.
Today, various Xbox users have received an email from the Big M thanking them for their dedication and a heads up that they’d be privy to fully unlocked downloads of Rare’s rebooted fighter Killer Instinct for the Xbox One.
After being tapped by IGN, a Microsoftian rep confirmed that, to celebrate the incoming Xbox One, they would be doling out a variety of “Xbox gifts” to its fans. What exactly ups your chances of earning free shit? The rep says a number of criteria are being taken into account, “including Gamerscore and Xbox Live tenure, as well as other factors in markets where Xbox One is available.”
Sounds to me that if you do score via email, you may want to have one of them new fangled Xbox One’s ready to redeem your gift. Otherwise, The Red Herb greatly appreciates every donated Killer Instinct code.