Monday, June 6, 2011

E3 2011: microsoft xbox 360 keynote

Thank god this years XBox 360 conference is not bathed in the horrid green glow they used last year. The XBox conference took place at the Galen Center in LA. Per usual, they kick off the week of events at E3 this week "The future starts here" as their saying goes.

Unfortunately XBox fails to hit with their core audience. This was sort of expected. They pick up right where they left off last year with a focus on continuing to support Kinnect; furthering Kinnect's connection into all of the content available on the XBox. The new features they are showcasing are voice activation/control and a new design for Dashboard, the navigation system. The Dashboard will become the access point to rich media, not just games.

"...change the living room entertainment experience forever" —Don Mattrick @ Microsoft

Will a new Dashboard and voice activation integrated into their games be enough to please the core audience or are they further driving them away with a focus on family friendly and children's programing? Are we witnessing the birth of the voice activated TV?

Hit the jump for a rundown of the cast and games from the show.

Photo from

  • Conference kicks off with dimmed lights and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 extended review. Opening jitters consist of a "Please reconnect controller window appearing!" Lol. The gameplay trailer features some divers planting bombs on a sub then reveals that the battle is taking place in the near future, Manhattan, complete with freedom tower. My neighborhood has really looked better. Robert Bowling @ Infinity Ward & Glen Schofiled @ Sledge Hammer were on hand to give us a release date of November 8th.
  • Don Mattrick, President of Microsoft, comes out to greet the audience saying that last year was the biggest year in XBox history.

  • Extended trailer for Tomb Raider. "Intense and visceral survival" The trailer starts with Lara hanging upside down in a cave. She escaped of course. Great lighting effects from her torch. The whole cave scene reminds me of The Hills Have Eyes. The game looks great, almost a shamed to be spoiling it but I couldn't look away. After her cave escape Lara emerges to the surface and we see her on an island of some sort with ships from all different times. Is this the Bermuda Triangle?
  • Peter Moore @ EA Sports announces four new EA Sports games with Kinnect support, including a new Tiger Woods, Madden and Fifa. All take advantage of voice commands and arm movement. They also announced other non-sports games, like the Sims, as well.
  • Dr. Ray Muzyka @ Bioware steps up with a little hands on Mass Effect 3. Touting the "epic scifi universe" now with with voice recognition via Kinnect. They seem to be speaking their dialogue answer choices as well as able to give orders to team members during action scenes. "move up".
  • Yves Guillemot @ UBIsoft presents Tom Clancy: Ghost Recon Future Soldier. Use Kinnect to customize any weapon. Sports 28 million custom combinations. Customizing with Kinnect looks neat, shooting kinda looks like he's doing spirit fingers. Also Ubisoft claims all future Tom Clancy titles will support Kinnect.
  • Mark Whitten @ XBOX Live "speaks" more to the innovative new way to experience entertainment: voice control. Shows off the new Dashboard which is very similiar to Windows 8 OS (not surprisingly). YouTube is a new partner as well as an intergrated Bing search engine. "You say XBox finds it". Live television comes to XBox this fall. This reminds me of my voice control R2D2; is this going to be as responsive as they say it is? Cause R2 sure wasn't.
  • Phil Spencer @ Microsoft presents the exclusive XBox titles with some surprises. "At its core is games". Exclusives included Gears of War 3. Rock music War Pigs and games trailers rules. Cliffy B & Ice T (cast member) co-op a level together. Features some neat looking mech armor and a "shoot the glowing spot boss battle". Ice also announces Bodycount will reunite for a song to support horde mode.
  • Ryse is a Crytek period piece taking place in Rome. Very mysterious and a welcome break from the cartoony Kinnect graphics we mostly see. Kinnect sword fighting.
  • Halo Combat Evolved Anniversary celebrates 10 years of Halo. It is the first game remastered and hits shelves Nov. 15th.
  • Dan Greenawalt @ Turn 10 Studios presents Forza Motorsport 4 as the ultimate game for the car community. Real cars and monthly DLC expansions. Super impressed with the Kinnect head tracking. Releases in Oct 2011.
  • Fable The Journey is presented by Peter Molyneux @ Lionhead. "a hundred times more involved". Fable graphics are a lot cuter than say Dragon Age. The demo shows a horse buggy being chased, looks like they are being chased by The Nothing (Random Never Ending Story reference to see if your paying attention).
  • Control the horse buggy with a literal reins movement.
  • Phil Spencer returns to the stage with a jaw dropper: Minecraft! Another XBox exclusive.

  • Disneyland Adventures is the start of a new collaboration between Disney and XBox. It features the entire park! They demo kids playing Peter Pan's Flight and Alice in Wonderland croquet game. Super cute and available this holiday season.
  • Star Wars Kinnect spans all the movies. Now this is pod-racing (damn I miss that game) and features Lightsaber fights and racing. Voice activated "lightsaber on" action. Either this gameplay is being faked or the controls have a serious delay. Looks like you dash by leaning forward.
  • Tim Schafer @double fine has a sure fire money maker: Sesame Street Once Upon A Monster. Boasts valuable life lessons for family and Cookie Monster and Elmo? This is going to sell a ton of copies. They show it off with a father and son playing together.
  • Two years ago they announced Kinnect. Now you can play with Kinnect gadgets from the community and programmers with Fun Labs. Demos included: avatar creating via the camera that even pick up your clothes; finger capture drawing in 3D and object recognition where you can scan in your favorite objects. Scan your car and drive it. Fun Labs goes live today.
  • Nicole Makila @ Big Park Studios announced Kinnect Sports 2. The new sports pack has skiing, baseball, tennis, darts, football and golf. It takes advantage of the new voice commands and in game gestures available.
  • Kasson Crooker @ Harmonix was recognized for Dance Central 2. DC2 has more music than any other dance game. In this new version, Kinnect can track two dancers at once. The body tracking looks spot on, it also looks hard.
  • Don Mattrick @ Microsoft returned to close out the ceremony saying the XBox and Kinnect will "...change living room entertainment forever". He concluded with what everyone has been waiting for, due to an early morning leak on the XBox website. The final trailer, the start of a new trilogy for XBox, the Halo 4 teaser due out Fall 2012.


  1. I was sincerely impressed with the voice activation/control - I would want to see if it really works smoothly all the time.

    Great recap! You think you'll buy an Xbox one day? For some reason, I think it might happen...

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