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E3 Impressions – Day 2

by Michael Goodman | Jun 17, 2015

On Day 2 of E3 our thoughts turn to exclusivity and Virtual Reality.

  • Sony snatches Call of Duty DLC timed exclusivity from Microsoft. With true platform-exclusive games difficult to come by Sony and Microsoft instead try to differentiate their platforms with exclusivity for a period of time (i.e., timed exclusivity) on downloadable content (DLC), including maps, special weapons, and early beta access. For a number of years now Microsoft has had the timed exclusivity on DLC for Call of Duty (Xbox gamers got access to the content 30 days before PlayStation gamers), however, Sony has secured the rights to this content for an undisclosed sum.

    The question now is whether Sony pilfered the rights from Microsoft or did Microsoft feel the cost of acquiring timed exclusivity for Call of Duty (COD) DLC was just not worth it given that COD’s popularity may be on the decline. COD sales seem to be slowing, with Advanced Warfare reportedly underselling its predecessor Ghosts by around 27% in the US.

  • Microsoft offers a strong line-up of exclusive title for holiday 2015. Sony may have acquired timed exclusivity for Call of Duty DLC but Microsoft has more exclusives coming in 2015 than Sony. According to Microsoft’s Aaron Greenberg, both Microsoft and Sony showed off 25 games at E3, of which 11 were exclusives. Of these exclusives, however, Microsoft has 7 coming in holiday 2015 while Sony has none. Some of Microsoft’s exclusives include Rise of the Tomb Raider, Halo 5: Guardians, and Forza Motorsport 6. These are just some of the 2015 exclusives. Microsoft is holding off on unveiling a number of its 2016 titles until Gamescom in Germany in August.
  • Virtual-reality goggles are making their way onto the market and creating buzz for the second straight year. Morpheus (Sony), HoloLens (Microsoft), and Oculus Rift (Facebook) are the three most advanced VR goggles in terms of virtual reality gaming with each brining different capabilities specialties to the table.
    • Morpheus highlighted multiplayer ability, enabling multiple people wearing Morpheus virtual reality gear to play together. This ability was showcased in Guerilla Studios’ title RIGS, a multiplayer first-person shooter that allows up to 3-vs-3 gameplay. Sony feels that Morpheus will help kick-start virtual reality eSports. About 20 titles are Morpheus compatible including Battlezone, Headmaster, Wayward Sky, and World War Toons.
    • Unlike Morpheus, which uses Sony’s Move controller, Microsoft’s HoloLens reacts to voice commands and small hand gestures, such as pinching and zooming, much like using a touch screen device. In addition, HoloLens will also deliver augmented reality, which Microsoft demonstrated when the Minecraft world was transferred from the screen to a coffee table. While the Minecraft demonstration was truly impressive, bringing the HoloLens to the Halo 5 experience showed that the HoloLens still needs a lot of work.
    • Oculus Rift is the most advanced and developed of the virtual reality gear at E3, including a specialized controller designed especially to work with the headgear. The Touch controller is designed to function much like a virtual hand. The Oculus Rift googles are very lightweight, fit the head securely, and have adequate room for people who wear glasses. Games designed to work with Oculus Rift include Adr1ft, Edge of Nowhere and VR Sports Challenge. Oculus also announced a partnership with Microsoft, on both the OS and hardware side. The consume version of Oculus Rift will work natively with Windows 10, which is important given the difficulty in setting up the current DK2. In addition, Oculus Rift will ship with a wireless Xbox One controller.
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