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Xbox 360 at E3: Hopes and Expectations

It only does everything now too.

Microsoft only has one console to push at this year’s E3.  They’ve already promised that they won’t show new hardware, at least publicly – developers already have it, according to rumours. They might make minor allusions to how their Windows Phone platform is doing and how it ties in with Live and they might touch on Live as it features in Windows 8 but the Xbox brand is still the exciting part of Microsoft and it will account for almost all of their 90 minute presentation on Monday evening.

So, they have explicitly stated that they won’t be showing new hardware. We don’t know of many new and exclusive games on the platform either but it’s worth taking a quick run down what just might crop up.


Master Chief is Microsoft's hero, in more ways than one.
With no Xbox 720, Durango, NextBox or whatever you want to call it, expect Kinect integration to be a big focus. Microsoft can probably spend much of their presentation showing off if and how Kinect integration will work with various third party games like Madden and FIFA 13. It’s possible that Microsoft will be leaning on many of their partners to add some form of optional Kinect integration – as with Mass Effect 3 and Skyrim.

High on the list of things that need to be shown, and shown well, is Fable: The Journey. Last year’s teaser trailer was disappointing, even for Peter Molyneux who was the head of Lionhead at the time. This is the enthusiastic game designer’s last Lionhead project now he’s off to pastures new so it would be a nice touch to get him back on stage to throw some of that trademark enthusiasm over this year’s showing. It’s hard to say if the Fable universe will translate well as a first person action game controlled with Kinect but Microsoft’s E3 presentation will have to answer that question or risk any remaining excitement ebbing away entirely.

Halo 4 is due out in time for Christmas and that’s sure to get a bit of a blow out on stage. It’s the biggest exclusive franchise in gaming and it’s the only thing that comes close to denting Call of Duty’s near monopoly of online console gaming. Microsoft will make a big deal out of it, probably including plenty of gameplay footage and multiplayer details. It’s not beyond the realms of possibility that we’ll also see something about how they’re getting Kinect technology into their biggest franchise. In the relentless push for ever more Kinect adoption, pinning a shooting range mode or an interactive Halo museum into the Halo 4 release would surely increase sales for the sensor, even though most traditional fans will balk at the idea. Nothing is assured or even hinted but it wouldn’t be a shock.

Their other tentpole game for the end of this year is Forza Horizon. This is a slightly more casual take on the Forza franchise, featuring less simulation and – if the cover art is anything to judge by – more of a festival feel to Turn 10’s top quality racing series. We’ll surely see a decent trailer, possibly even some of the expert handling and stunt driving that appeared in previous Forza promotions. There’s also a possibility that they’ll show off the community side of the game and – spot the recurring theme – how they’re going to justify putting a purple Kinect tab on the cover when it hits store shelves.

Microsoft’s 2011 Kinect highlights.

Those are the big games we know about but can we hope for some surprises too? Well, Alan Wake 2 must be on the way and Microsoft’s close relationship with Remedy might just secure that as a reveal teaser trailer. Rockstar has said, as usual, they won’t be doing anything big at E3 but Max Payne 3 is forefront of people’s minds and an exclusivity period on future expansions sits firmly within Microsoft’s modus operandi. We’re also aching for news about GTA V, of course, but that’s probably too much of a show stealer for Microsoft to land it on their stage. Bully 2 has been mooted though, that’s not completely far fetched but it is highly unlikely.

Ubisoft might allow the rumoured news of Splinter Cell 6 to slip over onto the Microsoft stage though. Conviction was a Microsoft exclusive so there’s history between these two but we would hope that the series is going back to all platforms and Sony’s recent promotions for the back catalogue would seem to suggest as much. Perhaps Ubisoft will let it appear first with Microsoft before the big unveil at their own conference later in the day?

Bungie are no longer tied to Microsoft but they obviously have a very close relationship so there’s a possibility that they might just premiere their first teaser for Destiny. This first post-Halo project for the studio is eventually intended to go multi platform but recent court documents released around the Activision legal battles have revealed that the first instalment is likely to be an Xbox 360 exclusive and out next year. Possibly too early for a teaser but the cat is already out of the bag so why not?


Rumours abound of a new Splinter Cell, could Microsoft get the announcement on their stage?
It’s also worth remembering that THQ has already said it won’t have a major presence at the show so we can expect anything from that studio to appear on one of the big platform holder’s stages. Microsoft could do worse than early teaser for the Crytek-developed sequel to Homefront and the US focus of E3 would probably be quite receptive to WWE 13 and whatever THQ’s newest UFC game will be. Microsoft could snap up some extra filler for their show here and give THQ a bit of exposure in the process.

Games aside, though, Microsoft will spend some time talking about media partnerships. Their streaming services have really taken off in the past twelve months and are now used more on the console than games are. This might lead into the quietly rumoured disc-less Xbox 360 that has been whispered about occasionally. Initially, that seems like a shocking prospect but given the efforts put into getting more onto their Games on Demand service, and the high number and quality level of XBLA titles that are available, it might not be so far fetched. It could even be linked with a similar scheme to the recently announced $99 subscription-based Xbox 360 they’re selling from limited stores in the US.

Expect partnership announcements, possibly with other sports leagues like the NBA and NHL (we can hope…) and with entertainment distributors. They dumped Inside Xbox on both sides of the Atlantic so hopefully they’re going to show us what they’re replacing it with and hopefully it will be more substantial than running IGN’s videos or GameTrailers’ 360 channel.

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29 Comments
  1. psychobudgie
    Member
    Since: Nov 2009

    I will be very disappointed if they fail to spend 1 hour showing off their next batch of Kinect titles. I’m particularly looking forward to Prometheus Kinect and Kinectisex.

    Comment posted on 29/05/2012 at 18:08.
    • colossalblue
      Team TSA: Editor
      Since: Forever

      you’re joking but Kinectisex would sell like hotcakes.

      Comment posted on 29/05/2012 at 18:17.
      • bmg_123
        Member
        Since: Feb 2012

        Or ‘hotbuns’, if you know what I mean…

        Comment posted on 29/05/2012 at 19:50.
    • ThoughtPolice
      Member
      Since: May 2012

      “It only does everything now too.”

      Except of course Blu-Ray, and at a price.. Hundreds of $$$ in online gaming charges and double-dip subscription services.

      “They might make minor allusions to how their Windows Phone platform is doing”

      Unlikely, as it’s flopping badly. The only people I know with a Windows Phone were given it by Nokia, as they can’t sell them for love or money.

      Comment posted on 30/05/2012 at 17:40.
  2. MrSpeedyGonzales
    Member
    Since: Jun 2010

    I think it’s almost 100% guaranteed that they’ll start the press conference off with Black Ops 2 footage.

    Comment posted on 29/05/2012 at 18:31.
    • stage1
      Member
      Since: Feb 2012

      Yeah, it’s got to be.

      Think I’ll skip the Microsoft conference this year and just watch Nintendo’s and Sony’s pressers.
      Microsoft has really dropped the ball in recent years and I’ve become increasingly disinterested.

      Comment posted on 29/05/2012 at 19:36.
  3. Jakster123x
    Member
    Since: Aug 2011

    When’s Microsoft’s E3 conference UK time?

    Comment posted on 29/05/2012 at 18:46.
    • rossthebassist
      Member
      Since: Nov 2009

      monday afternoon, coverage on gametrailers.com starts around 4, 4:30ish and rolls all the way into the morning.

      Comment posted on 29/05/2012 at 19:20.
      • uncleniccius
        Member
        Since: Jan 2012

        Not Microsoft’s E3 conference; it only goes on for 90 minutes. That’s GTTV’s daily coverage.

        Comment posted on 29/05/2012 at 19:24.
      • Jakster123x
        Member
        Since: Aug 2011

        Ok, so taking those two answers into account it starts around 4pm and finishes at around half 5?

        Comment posted on 29/05/2012 at 19:35.
      • uncleniccius
        Member
        Since: Jan 2012

        I believe it starts at 5 or 5.30. Streamable on 360 and GTTV; if given the option, the GTTV coverage is much better.

        Comment posted on 29/05/2012 at 19:51.
    • stage1
      Member
      Since: Feb 2012
      • Jakster123x
        Member
        Since: Aug 2011

        Excellent. That is EXACTLY what i needed, thank you. :)

        It’s very nice of The Queen to give us those days off next week as well. She’s a big E3 fan.

        Comment posted on 29/05/2012 at 20:42.
      • stage1
        Member
        Since: Feb 2012

        Haha, I heard she’s a beast using move.

        Comment posted on 29/05/2012 at 21:21.
  4. bunimomike
    Member
    Since: Jul 2009

    I’m fascinated to see what direction they take as I feel like they’re constantly neglecting the first four years worth of consumers to their 360 console. Sure, some people will have embraced Kinect but don’t piss on the ones who got you there.

    Comment posted on 29/05/2012 at 19:19.
    • rossthebassist
      Member
      Since: Nov 2009

      This is the thing that confused me. I understand if they want to continue xbox 360 as a budget game device, focused on kids games. this is what playstation did when they launched there next platform, they shifted the platform to a cheap kidz machine.
      BUT 2 years running its all been kinect. And nothing for the hardcore that essentially you cant get elsewhere.

      Comment posted on 29/05/2012 at 19:23.
    • KeRaSh
      Member
      Since: Nov 2009

      Especially at E3. I don’t think casual gamers will be following the press conferences so focusing on them would be a tuna-slap to the face of the core gamers. Nobody would mind if they just released press releases for all their Kinect stuff after the event is over.

      Comment posted on 30/05/2012 at 06:19.
  5. hazelam
    Member
    Since: Feb 2009

    i’m expecting two things from ms e3 conference.
    1: a focus on kinect and the media fincutions of the 360.
    and.
    2: being disappointed.

    Comment posted on 29/05/2012 at 19:26.
    • stage1
      Member
      Since: Feb 2012

      This is pretty much their whole conference:

      ~Black Ops 2 (maybe some sort of new activation deal)
      ~Kinect, Kinect, Kinect Kinect and some more Kinect with adults/kids demoing
      ~Halo 4 gameplay
      ~New forza
      ~More apps that should be free which are for Gold members
      ~Bit of multi-plat bragging

      Comment posted on 29/05/2012 at 19:45.
      • cc_star
        Team TSA: Writer
        Since: Forever

        Should hope there’s not a renewed CoD deal
        Microsoft already have exclusive on Bungies’ Activision game, getting another deal on CoD wouldn’t be great news for PS fans of the series

        Comment posted on 29/05/2012 at 20:15.
      • stage1
        Member
        Since: Feb 2012

        Yeah, I agree with you there.
        If Sony could secure an Activation/COD deal then it could really bolster their brand.

        Comment posted on 29/05/2012 at 21:23.
      • wonkey-willy
        Member
        Since: Jan 2010

        getting a vibe here stage?
        you really dont like the xbox do you?
        and theres the man whinging about fanboyism and yet you rant about how the xbox will fair at this years e3

        Comment posted on 29/05/2012 at 23:34.
      • JesseDeya
        Member
        Since: Jan 2010

        @Wonkey: Unfortunately stage1 is right and his summary pretty much covers last year’s MS E3 as well. It’s not looking much better this year, but perhaps they’ll surprise us. I would love to see something truly jaw dropping come out of E3 for my Xbox, but sadly it just looks like more of the same.

        Sony killed MS last year, and they’re looking set to do the same this year. It’s not fanboyism, it’s observation.

        I ‘hope’ to be proven wrong, I ‘expect’ not to be.

        Comment posted on 30/05/2012 at 08:47.
  6. TSBonyman
    Member
    Since: Dec 2009

    Not that i’m likely to switch brands but i see Microsofts E3 press conference as being just as important to watch as Sony’s. Will they end up going in different directions with their next hardware or will they be in tandem, will there be much difference in power/capability between the two.. that sort of stuff..gonna be interesting – if they reveal any of that of course.
    Mind you, Windows 8 could be a new Xbox platform for them like Kinect was (i’m presuming that any windows 8 compatible mobile device will be able to interact with 360(or Xbox8) in much the same way as Vita with the PS3 or the Wii U tablet can do), so they might be pushing that. And i presume it would also be a rival for Sony’s PSS.
    Who knows .. but it’s going to be very interesting to see..

    Comment posted on 29/05/2012 at 20:08.
  7. gazzagb
    Master of speling mitakse
    Since: Feb 2009

    I reckon MS will still have a few surprises up their sleeve, Sony has had all the pre-E3 attention so far, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ve got nothing. We all know they’re going to have a load of Kinect-based games, but then they’ve also got Halo, Forza, COD and possible some new feautures for LIVE, I wouldn’t be surprised if they talked a little about Windows 8 integration.

    Comment posted on 29/05/2012 at 20:31.
    • JesseDeya
      Member
      Since: Jan 2010

      “We all know they’re going to have a load of Kinect-based games, but then they’ve also got Halo, Forza, COD and possible some new feautures for LIVE”

      But that’s exactly the problem gazza. ALL they seem to have is Halo, Forza, Fable and COD (timed exclusive). Oh, and massive amounts time spent pimping underwhelming Kinect features shoe-horned unnecessarily into multiplat titles. It’s also ALL they had last year.

      Comment posted on 30/05/2012 at 08:53.
  8. Nickboss1
    Member
    Since: Mar 2010

    interesting.

    Comment posted on 29/05/2012 at 20:44.
  9. cc_star
    Team TSA: Writer
    Since: Forever

    As much as bubble of people around here would like it not to, Kinect will feature strongly.

    1) It’s expanding the 360 userbase very well indeed, providing a whole new lease of life in the year or 2 after sales should have started slowing.

    2) It’s a whole new demographic for MS, one that Nintendo with its child friendly franchises & Sony with Singstar & dancemat games previously owned. Kinect’s spectacular growth will come under threat by the WiiU re-reveal so MS will go huge on it, with more motion exclusive big name games & franchises… & now the install-base is expanding so rapidly publishers can risk bigger & bigger budgets on games helping it to snowball to even more sales. (See what happens if you back something to succeed Sony? It succeeds.)

    3) Halo, Forza, Ryse, maybe a Bungie tease & maybe CoD will ensure everyone else is catered for too.

    Comment posted on 29/05/2012 at 23:41.
  10. The Lone Steven
    Never heard of him.
    Since: May 2010

    Not expecting much from MS as they seem to be focusing on Kinect. I expect there to be footage from exclusive games, an announcement of exclusive deals and prehaps an announcement of a much needed exclusive IP. Instead of it being mostly Kinect stuff. Again.

    Comment posted on 30/05/2012 at 16:04.

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