E3 2014: Microsoft's E3 Press Conference: Did It Impress?

E3 2014: Microsoft's E3 Press Conference: Did It Impress?

Written Monday, June 09, 2014 By John Robertson

Microsoft has had little to celebrate over the 12 months following its E3 2013 press conference. Its ideas and approaches to the console business have been ridiculed and laughed off by consumers, press and developers, forcing it to perform numerous embarrassing U-turns in a bid to regain the ground lost to Sony. Sales of the Xbox One have been mediocre overall, but in comparison to the success of the 360 and the momentum of the PS4 they've been awful.

The platform holder's E3 2014 press conference was their chance to show us that they've learned from mistakes and are moving towards a future that we can support and get excited about. To that end, Microsoft dedicated its entire 90-minute presentation to showcasing the games - not a minute spent on talking about business models, hardware tweaks/additions or its evolving relationship with publishers.

It was an incredibly hit and miss affair in which quantity superseded uniqueness; the vast majority of titles on show coming from well-established franchises and from familiar names... kicking off the conference with a lengthy gameplay demo of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare setting an early tone of déjà vu that never really went away. Following that up with an appearance by Turn 10's Dan Greenawalt - plugging Forza Horizon 5 and new Forza Horizon 5 content - turning that déjà vu into predictability.

For the bulk of the first hour, all that was shown were games that we've already known about for quite some time, the likes of new additions to Fable, Halo, Assassin's Creed, Dragon Age and The Witcher. This hardly felt like an E3 conference dedicated to the future of videogames, it felt more like one obsessed with tarting up and regurgitating the past.

Things got somewhat better after the hour mark, though, and while timed-exclusives are not entirely popular among the wider videogame community, the frequency with which Microsoft boasted about them demonstrates that its relationship with publishers and developers is nowhere near as fraught as some reports suggest. Either that or they're paying those same publishers incredible sums to secure the early access.

Advanced Warfare, 2K's Evolve and Ubisoft's The Division will all be releasing additional content first on Xbox One. Being able to buy and play DLC on one console before another is certainly not a 'system seller' of a feature, but it's at least a box Microsoft can tick and point to in their attempts to court new purchasers.

Taking into account which games were highlighted as having 'timed-exclusive' content for Xbox One, it's very clear who Microsoft is targeting in those courting attempts. All three of the aforementioned titles are shooters of one form or another, continuing to single out the Xbox as the system of choice for fans of the genre and the best place to get your cover-shoot-cover-reload-fire fix.

Further evidence of this approach came from the amount of time spent talking about Halo, with brief looks at Halo 5: Guardians and the newly announced Halo: The Master Chief Collection (an Xbox One remastering of Halo 1 to 4). It's interesting to note here, that following the outcry from players regarding Xbox One's seeming inability to run games at 1080p and 60fps, The Master Chief Collection has achieved exactly that.

Despite Halo's presence, interesting exclusives remained thin on the ground. Significant chunks of time were given up to showing Dragon Age: Inquisition, Rise of the Tomb Raider, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Assassin's Creed Unity and other third-party software that will also be coming to PlayStation 4 and PC. While their presence on Microsoft's stage adds further weight to the fact the platform holder still has excellent relationships with major publishers, the fact that they're also appearing on other systems means their appearance here does next to nothing to enhance the Xbox brand.

Exactly four minutes were spent talking about ID@Xbox, the much-maligned Xbox publishing platform for indie developers. A trailer showed a huge selection of games both new and old (some are already available in some form or other on other devices), but only Limbo developer Playdead's new game, Inside, was given any real screen time. Probably because it's coming to Xbox One in 2015 before it appears on any other platform.

Again, this brushing of indie games under the carpet does much to reinforce Microsoft's positioning of the Xbox One as the place to play big-budget, action-heavy games with guns. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it's not a new or modern thing either.

As is customary, the final 20 minutes played host to the most engaging moments. Microsoft scored major kudos by revealing Platinum Games' Scalebound as an Xbox One exclusive, an announcement that will do much to endear the console to fans of Bayonetta and Vanquish. Only a CG trailer was shown, but it was more than enough to communicate the kind of over-the-top madness and extravagance we've come to expect from the Japanese developer.

More goodwill will come from the confirmations of new Crackdown and Phantom Dust releases. Both games have retained a loyal following over the course of their absence and, while they're not new IPs in their own right, they've been out of play for such a period of time that they will feel completely fresh to most players. Again, no gameplay footage of either was shown, but their existence is enough to generate excitement.

The fact remains that there was very little on show that we didn't already know about, though. Fable Legends, Halo 5, Sunset Overdrive, Forza Horizon 2 and Project Spark are all looking like promising Xbox exclusives products, but they're all either continuations of well-worn franchises or games that have been on our radar for a long time. As such, it's difficult to excited about any or all of them at this point.

The fact that so much time was given up to third-party software and timed-exclusivity for DLC highlights that Microsoft's studios are struggling to come up with ideas that are genuinely new and fresh.

Same old, same old. That's very much how this conference is going to be remembered. If this is genuinely the future of the videogame industry, then you look forward to playing what you've already played before. A new IP from Platinum Games and a new Crackdown are nice, but is that enough of an excuse to buy an Xbox One?

The answer: no. Not least considering the most interesting games on show here are also coming to the PS4.

This was a conference for players, then. Players that enjoy sequels and shooters.

Still... at least Microsoft refrained from talking about Smart Glass and TV apps. Omitting that from their conference was probably the best move they made.


User Comments

Forum Posts: 142
Comment #1 by Midnight_Jasper
Monday, June 09, 2014 @ 08:17:21 PM
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Comment #2 by DarqStalker
Monday, June 09, 2014 @ 08:23:43 PM
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I was impressed. Kept a tally of 22 games shown during the briefing. It was non stop game after game after game, just as Phil promised.. It was awesome.

Forum Posts: 142
Comment #3 by SarDark
Monday, June 09, 2014 @ 08:26:49 PM
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Games are always better than Kinect and sportsportsportsports.

But unless huge titles' exclusives happen, it can't be groundbreaking.

Microsoft, It didn't suck. That's all.

Forum Posts: 216
Comment #4 by Birth Mark
Monday, June 09, 2014 @ 09:43:36 PM
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I'm surprised they did not announce any Kinect games besides Dance Central, there is still more to come but I want at least 1 game to put my Kinect to use.

Forum Posts: 135
Comment #5 by xN1GHT SH4D0Wx
Tuesday, June 10, 2014 @ 12:48:01 AM
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people are still moaning after that saying it didnt suck what more do you expect all the games to avaliable next week jesus. I personally thought it was amazing. ea conference was dog shit but ubisoft made up for it with an amazing conference and that rainbow six reveal was awesome. but ac unity 4 player looks soooo cool.

Forum Posts: 135
Comment #6 by xN1GHT SH4D0Wx
Tuesday, June 10, 2014 @ 12:56:57 AM
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and personally I think the editor of the article is a bit of sony fanboy as after all what ms showed he still wasnt impressed was he expected almost the whole hour and a half to be dedicated to new ips exclusive to xbox. bet he doesnt give the same reaction when Sony show off uncharted 4 at there conference which we have known about for a while also.

Forum Posts: 25937
Comment #7 by BiggD
Tuesday, June 10, 2014 @ 12:58:55 AM
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Amazing conference.

343i nailed the conference with all the content for the Master Chief Collection. All for $60, too. Wowzers.

Forum Posts: 216
Comment #8 by Birth Mark
Tuesday, June 10, 2014 @ 02:23:47 AM
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@7, I would have been satisfied with an H2 anniversary, but now they are doing this with over 100 multiplayer maps, I can not wait!

Forum Posts: 868
Comment #9 by Hurricane Of 87
Tuesday, June 10, 2014 @ 10:11:00 AM
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Witcher 3 and Crackdown were the only things that got me really excited. I know Crackdown was a CG trailer but it was a good one and looked like it wasn't deviating too far from the course of previous games.

Also surprised they kept to their Games Only rule or were even allowed to do it in the first place. xPhilSpencerx's 4 realz.

Forum Posts: 115
Comment #10 by Timmeh
Tuesday, June 10, 2014 @ 11:06:11 AM
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The criticisms in this write up seem stupid when you compare against what everyone else did. Nintendo aren't even holding a proper press conference and Sony announced even less exclusives, more multi-platform games (and so did even worse than MS on this front) and some crappy confusing devices no one actually wants.

Was Microsoft's conferences outstanding? No but it was definitely the best of the three, Sony is the only real competition and they did everything they accused Microsoft of doing wrong last year - focussing on multimedia rather than games with the games they did announce nearly all coming out on the one as well.

Fact is Microsoft had the better exclusive announcements this time by a long shot and didn't waste time on non-gaming cruft no one cares about. The timed exclusive stuff was really just icing on an already great cake.

Forum Posts: 135
Comment #11 by xN1GHT SH4D0Wx
Tuesday, June 10, 2014 @ 01:06:12 PM
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@10 I couldn't agree more I cant believe the criticisms that have been given in this article and you are the only person that has picked up on that sony did exactly what ms did last year with the apps and the non gaming shit that like you said no one really cares to much about. ms got slaughtered last year for doing pretty much what sony have done this year but people are praising sony saying it was a great conference. was it bollocks it wasnt bad but it was great or better than the ms conference. for like 40 mins in the middle of the conference all they focused on was shitty tv stuff remakes indie games and stuff no one really cares about for example project morpheus. I understand indie games have a strong following but compared to bigger games its nothing so showing indie for a full 10 minutes was shit. ms won end off. no in fact the best conference was ubisoft.

Forum Posts: 4705
Comment #12 by jackanape
Tuesday, June 10, 2014 @ 03:03:12 PM
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Having read both this and the PST equivalent (written by the same guy) I'm amazingly confused. He slates MS for having exclusives that "we've known about for some time" but lauds Sony for showing off The Order, Uncharted 4 and LBP3 which have all gimmes too. Again he lauds the diversity of the PS4 games list, but as most of them are multi-platform (including No Man's Sky) then how does that make PS4 the go to platform?

Same goes for exclusive content. Sony seems to be getting kudos for doing deals with Destiny etc that will amount to little more than some DLC. But MS have timed exclusive DLC for other games is pointless?

Likewise Sony being feted for showing off streaming, VR and tech features - yet MS were roundly lambasted for doing the same only last year? How fickle.

I don't understand why people see these events as some kind of contest with winners/losers. I prefer to focus on BOTH presentations as one event for either system as, barring a handful of exclusives, it is just CGI trailers for multi-platform titles that either console owner can enjoy.

Interesting to note that most journalists seem to claim Sony had some kind of resounding victory, but most comments on those articles (especially on multi-platform sites) preferred the MS offering. Even from PS4 owners. So I guess time will tell.

Forum Posts: 46
Comment #13 by xNUKEx
Tuesday, June 10, 2014 @ 03:30:12 PM
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i was impressed loads of great games.
ps4 can kiss my ass they dont have halo master chief edition with 4000 gamerscore so there.

Forum Posts: 2
Comment #14 by Adam Corela
Tuesday, June 10, 2014 @ 06:58:30 PM
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@12 I 100% agree with you. Great points you made there. The only thing I can deduce from this article (and I could be WAY off) is that the writer leans heavily towards Sony and seems to like the PS4 more than the Xbox One. Possibly a Sony fanboy? I personally thought that, outside of Uncharted 4 and the GTA V reveal, Sony's presser was boring and full of suits just talking about how much better they think Playstation is than everything else.

Forum Posts: 1643
Comment #15 by HugTheBear
Tuesday, June 10, 2014 @ 06:59:10 PM
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#12--- Agree 100%.

Forum Posts: 35
Comment #16 by SinisterPledge
Tuesday, June 10, 2014 @ 10:23:08 PM
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John Robertson - back to your cave you sad little troll. Also, you're a disgrace to journalism with your pathetic biased view that not only doesn't add up, but is also extremely hypocritical.

Take your salary as a Sony PR-bitch and leave press coverage to the serious and dedicated.


(Also +1 to @10 and @12)

Forum Posts: 26
Comment #17 by Jaws as Crowns
Wednesday, June 11, 2014 @ 07:03:30 AM
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Aww, the writer didn't like the press conference I.favored so he must be a fanboy instead of just generally being a hammer with individual taste.

Forum Posts: 4705
Comment #18 by jackanape
Wednesday, June 11, 2014 @ 08:52:40 AM
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@17 To clarify I don't think the author is a fanboy, nor do I begrudge anyone having an opinion. I'm just a bit baffled that if MS do one thing they are criticised, while if Sony do the same thing they are praised. Surely both companies should get credit where it is due rather than this lopsided praise towards Sony?

If baffles me that MS showing off a multi-platform title like COD (which is the best selling game in the world EVERY year practically) makes them "granddads" (according to the PST article). But Sony showing off Destiny (another shooter, again multi-platform and by LONG TIME FPS makers Bungie) makes them hip and original.

I just think it's impossible to praise Sony for showing off a variety of games when most of the games they showed are multi-platform. Same for MS. If we are talking pure exclusives then MS had a few more, but neither company showed off anything especially original.

Just wish articles wouldn't bash either company really, and purely focus on the merits of what is on show and how there are plenty of games for both consoles. You want Gears, Halo, Sunset Overdrive etc - buy an Xbox One. You want Uncharted, LBP 3 etc then buy a PS4. You want stuff like COD, Destiny, No Man's Sky etc - then it DOESN'T MATTER which console you own (as long as it's not a Wii U, ha). Simple.

Forum Posts: 135
Comment #19 by xN1GHT SH4D0Wx
Wednesday, June 11, 2014 @ 10:17:29 AM
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@18 your one of the only people who ive seen on this site who talks sense and doesnt just slate one company and praise another. like I said earlier in my other posts the person who wrote this article is a joke for almost saying ms did everything wrong and sony did everything right. my main issue is that sony this year spent alot of time talking about multimedia stuff and got praised for it were as ms did the same last year and people bitched beyond belief. it seems to me that for some reason people just think its cool to hate ms and I think its gotten worse since this new generation has kicked off.

Forum Posts: 26
Comment #20 by Jaws as Crowns
Wednesday, June 11, 2014 @ 10:24:49 AM
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@18 idk with the state of gaming the companies are telling us what we want and that it's what we know. We've seen games get all these rereleases and people get more excited for sequels than a new series. (Fallout 4)

Forum Posts: 8
Comment #21 by DarkDemise06660
Wednesday, June 11, 2014 @ 05:55:29 PM
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M$ did it better than Phoney. Phoney was too "Blah blah blah." and NOT enough games.

Forum Posts: 6121
Comment #22 by Crimson Ridley
Wednesday, June 11, 2014 @ 10:37:45 PM
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@18 -Or buy all 3, and have nothing to complain about. That's the way to play. :)

Forum Posts: 26
Comment #23 by Jaws as Crowns
Wednesday, June 11, 2014 @ 11:13:48 PM
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@22 or just don't complain...

Forum Posts: 4705
Comment #24 by jackanape
Thursday, June 12, 2014 @ 08:32:05 AM
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@18 and @22. Who's complaining? I have no issue with what was shown at E3 by any company, I just find it bizarre that so many people want to turn it into a continual battle of one-upmanship.

At the end of the day most of the big games are multi-platform. Then each console has their own set of exclusives. So people invariably buy the console that has the exclusives they want. So it makes no sense for articles to claim one console has some kind of advantage when 70% of the games they show are multiplatform.

Plus, I don't know about you, but I can't afford to drop £1,000.00 on owning all three consoles (without any/many games) so that's not really an option. I presume that's the same for most people.

Forum Posts: 195
Comment #25 by Corpse87
Thursday, June 12, 2014 @ 02:10:43 PM
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didnt watch it but nope,its all about xbox one which is really xbox 3 you retards! 360 anyone of the 80 million sold,wheres the games for a system supposed to be supported next 2-3 years? screw xbox 3

Forum Posts: 48
Comment #26 by ndXIII
Thursday, June 12, 2014 @ 03:56:02 PM
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It wasn't as good as other Microsoft E3s in recent memory. Almost all of the games were ruined with announcements, "leaked" trailers or information within the weeks up to E3 so there was no real surprise, IMO.

I wasn't impressed.

Forum Posts: 8
Comment #27 by Madhafaca
Thursday, June 12, 2014 @ 05:17:11 PM
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For me the big letdown was the very brief info shown about Halo 5.

Eventhough the Master Chief Collection was nice, and is a must buy for me, I still was hoping to see a little more H5 stuff.

I haven't purchased an Xbox One simply because there's no Halo or Rock Band on this platform yet, and like I said MC Collection is a must buy I think I'll wait until H5 arrives so I can buy a Halo 5 console bundle (like I did with the H4 X360 LE console bundle).

I know, H5 will come out on fall 2015, so the E3 in june 2015 will be the place to know a lot about this great franchise.

Forum Posts: 16
Comment #28 by Spandex Stiffy
Thursday, June 12, 2014 @ 08:21:45 PM
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This article is riddled with cliches and misconceptions yet accuses Microsoft of not finding fresh ideas. Not impressed. The sequels and shooters argument is almost as lazy as the negative tone. I really liked the fact that Microsoft focused mainly on this year, not teasing titles that will be delayed into 2016. I don't want to compare/contrast the Microsoft/Sony presentations. However, I find the two write-ups incredibly contradictory.

Forum Posts: 16
Comment #29 by Spandex Stiffy
Thursday, June 12, 2014 @ 08:45:38 PM
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It's a sad fact of current game coverage that journalists can shrug off criticism and call detractors fanboys. The industry suffers for it.

Forum Posts: 753
Comment #30 by Grummy
Friday, June 13, 2014 @ 05:04:50 AM
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That was a horrible article, and though I'm generally loathe to say such things, I honestly had to question whether the author was a fanboy of another platform or a general hater of Xbox. Everything he had to say was everything that has been said previously by such people, highly questionable opinions based highly in bias and not a neutral view.

I'm very disappointed as it's more evidence that the quality of the journalism on this site has severely diminished over the past year. I used to be able to come here and read any article and know that even if I disagreed, it would be a good, reasonable, intelligent piece. This one is nothing of the sort.

Forum Posts: 11
Comment #31 by dcdrew713
Saturday, June 14, 2014 @ 03:38:00 AM
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Well at this point last week I didn't own an X1.

Flash forward to right today, and there's one in my living room now. Well done MS.

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #32 by Leatherface427
Saturday, June 14, 2014 @ 06:43:21 AM
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it could of been better the only games that look worth gettin for the xbox one is assassin creed unity Evolve and Sunset Overdrive and the the new tom clancy game that was it really the rest sucked ass

Forum Posts: 202
Comment #33 by HareJordan23
Saturday, June 14, 2014 @ 11:49:38 AM
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Put me to sleep.

Forum Posts: 19
Comment #34 by ShaDoWL1nK
Sunday, June 15, 2014 @ 05:24:48 AM
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Overall, I enjoyed the E3 briefing. I was hoping there would've been talk about Fallout 4, and maybe the next mass effect installment. but no :-( Guess I'll have to dream on a little longer..

Forum Posts: 1
Comment #35 by ushae
Monday, June 16, 2014 @ 10:21:09 AM
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Phantom Dust, Crackdown, Halo Collection, Dragon Age and Witcher all had me very happy. So I'd say Microsoft had me pumped for their platform, made me glad I purchased an Xbox One first.

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #36 by xPSxCentsayz
Wednesday, June 18, 2014 @ 09:19:04 AM
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Microsoft trying to make up lost ground...ummm yeah good luck with that. You cant just piss off your client base and expect them to not spend there money else where. E3 2013 was when microsoft lost this console war because that day you lost the trust of the consumer. You can uturn all you like but whats to say after i buy a One you wont Uturn again? this got me thinking does anyone that calls the shots at Microsoft Xbox even a gamer because everything i heard last year was the guide to how not to.
BUT i must say thank you for the 360.

Forum Posts: 7
Comment #38 by HoBBitzz
Friday, July 04, 2014 @ 09:13:02 PM
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@37 Of course your not using a windows based PC to rant with are you, ahh the irony.

Forum Posts: 3
Comment #39 by Oversig
Friday, July 11, 2014 @ 02:54:44 PM
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I'm using an IPad Air!
Ahh the fanboy comebacks...

Forum Posts: 6
Comment #40 by Astrixzero
Monday, July 14, 2014 @ 11:10:57 AM
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#36 So changing a console for the better in accordance with consumer demands is wrong now? Don Mattrick who was largely responsible for DRM nonsense was quickly shown the door, and Phil Spencer already proved that he's more than competent and in touch with the Xbox fanbase. Was anyone expecting a collaboration with Kamiya on Scalebound? Or the Halo MCC which contained Halo 1 and 2's MP modes, which fans had asked for years?

Fanboys like you seemed to have no problem when $ony did its own U-turn on the $599/work more hours nonsense nearly two years late, or the fact that it took them a week in hiding before annoucing that PSN is hacked and that you need to change your password.

Forum Posts: 3
Comment #41 by Oversig
Monday, July 21, 2014 @ 04:20:58 AM
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So now the my posts are being deleted by the moderators?
Is this not a free country in which freedom of speech is our first amendment?
Censorship is alive & well on this site apparently!
WTF is wrong with stating facts & common sense?
Who deleted my post # 37? Are you such a Fanboy child you cannot take the truth when it's put before you? Rhetorical question..... ;)

Forum Posts: 3
Comment #42 by Oversig
Monday, July 21, 2014 @ 04:35:49 AM
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KINECT is a failed gimmick!
Realize it, accept it & move on!
Is all I said. No profanity or addressing it at any specific person.
It's a fact Jack! Truth is a powerful thing.
And yes, also in my opinion Sony rules this gen.
A moderator should be above being a Fanboy!!!

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #43 by ElaineDVernon
Wednesday, October 22, 2014 @ 11:46:53 AM
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my classmate's aunt makes $63 hourly on the computer . She has been fired for five months but last month her paycheck was $14295 just working on the computer for a few hours.
more info here ....


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Game Info


US November 22, 2013
Europe November 22, 2013
Japan September 04, 2014

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