Announcements are flying all over the place at Gamescom! Microsoft has finalized the launch lineup, 23 games that you'll be able to pick up day one whenever the Xbox One is released. Here they are:
* Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag (Ubisoft, Ubisoft)
* Battlefield 4 (DICE, Electronic Arts)
* Call of Duty: Ghosts (Infinity Ward, Activision)
* Crimson Dragon (Grounding/Land Ho!, Microsoft Studios)
* Dead Rising 3 (Capcom Vancouver, Microsoft)
* FIFA 14 (EA Sports, Electronic Arts)
* Fighter Within (AMA Ltd., Ubisoft)
* Forza Motorsport 5 (Turn 10 Studios, Microsoft Studios)
* Just Dance 2014 (Ubisoft Paris, Ubisoft)
* Killer Instinct (Double Helix, Microsoft Studios)
* LEGO Marvel Super Heroes (TT Games, Warner Bros. Interactive)
* Lococycle (Twisted Pixel, Microsoft Studios)
* Madden NFL 25 (EA Sports, Electronic Arts)
* NBA 2K14 (Visual Concepts, 2K Sports)
* NBA LIVE 14 (EA Sports, Electronic Arts)
* Need for Speed: Rivals (Ghost Games, Electronic Arts)
* Peggle 2 (Popcap, Electronic Arts)
* Powerstar Golf (Zoe Mode, Microsoft Studios)
* Ryse: Son of Rome (Crytek, Microsoft Studios)
* Skylanders: Swap Force (Vicarious Visions, Activision)
* Watch Dogs (Ubisoft Montreal, Ubisoft)
* Zoo Tycoon (Frontier Developments Ltd., Microsoft Studios)
* Zumba Fitness: World Party (Zoë Mode, Majesco)
Dead Rising 3 and the spiritual successor to Panzer Dragoon at launch, plus Peggle 2? Pretty great lineup. Both this and the PS4 seem to have some of the strongest lineups of any recent console launches in memory, although half of these titles will also be available on Xbox 360 and PS3, and usually earlier too.
Some retailers are being smart about the fact that most of you will pick up some of these titles when their Xbox 360/PS4 versions are released and will allow you to upgrade to their Xbox One/PS4 iterations for a mere $10. For example, Activision announced that anyone who buys Call of Duty Ghosts for current systems can upgrade for ten beans, taking all of their in-game progress and Season Pass content along with them. It's a damn clever idea. Sony took this idea and is allowing digital upgrades as well, so we'll see if Microsoft announces something similar.
Not to be outdone by the PS4's robust indie lineup Microsoft has announced that it's fully committed to indie games, rolling out [email protected], a program that will encourage smaller developers to use the system. They're looking to have every Xbox one function as a dev kit in the future, which is a thrilling prospect.
Yet it still feels like an uphill battle for Microsoft. While the hardware looks amazing and the potential of cloud computing could truly be a game changer, the higher price and the squandering of goodwill has left many gamers, even long-time Xbox fans, looking to the other side. Most of the complaints people had about the system (always-on internet connection, always requiring the Kinect to be connected, no used games) are now moot, although the extra $100 for the system (and lack of a Kinect-free bundle) still hurt.
While we still don't have a set launch date for the Xbox One, it's still set for sometime in November. Now that the PS4 has muscled in on the month too perhaps it's time for a more concrete date. One thing's for sure- November's going to be a battleground. It's an exciting time to be a gamer.