Every trip to E3 deserves its own in-flight WiFi-enabled post, no? Sadly, while it was available on last year’s flight, there is no internet connection on the plane this year. However, that isn’t going to stop me from writing something and posting it from the ground in spirit!
So, I’d like to start off with what I wish I had on the flight with me, and probably my biggest wish for the entire show at E3: a portable XBOX console. The same amount of power as the 360, a sizeable screen (you know, 5 inches or so), dual analog sticks, WiFi (screw the 3G connection – I’m not paying a monthly fee for yet another device to have constant access to the cloud, not to mention the fact that I can use my iPhone as a personal hotspot), and instant access to the entire XBOX live arcade library. I mean, here’s the deal: put on the same face buttons as the XBOX controller, the triggers, and the bumpers, and you’ll have the exact same control scheme you need to run every single XBOX game ever created, whether downloadable or physical copy.
That means Halo on the go, Call of Duty in your pocket, and Gears of War in the car. So, what doesn’t it need? Well, let’s be honest, touchscreens are great, but my vision for this device is to have developers create console games that are instantly available on the portable system as well. It would be exactly the same file, either downloadable or available as a physical copy (only because a game tends to run between 4 and 8GB, which might be a lengthy download, not to mention the need for a ton of storage on the device). Publishers could opt to include a digital version with the physical copy of the game purchased at retail, and since the person would be getting the exact same game, it would be virtually zero added cost to the publisher.
I call it gaming congruency. And – the best part of it all – you can pick up your game where you left off from wherever you are. It’s basically OnLive, but with massive support from the game creators. So you’re playing Halo Reach on your XBOX at home and you have to go to that second cousin’s wedding that you hate, so you grab your XBOX Portable and head out, continuing your covenant slaying action right from your pocket in the pews of the church. You just need a WiFi connection for the XBOX to tell the portable what stage you’re at, and you have it all in your pocket: your achievements, your progress, even your voice memos and save films.
Microsoft, if you only show one thing at E3 this year, please, please, please let it be a portable XBOX. We want it, we’re yearning for it. Make it happen.