E3 2010: Our reactions to the Microsoft Press Conference

You've read the bullet points. You've heard the announcements. You've seen the screens. What you need now is some perspective. What does Microsoft's press conference today mean for the future of the Xbox 360… and for the future of gaming? Is Kinect the end of us all? How excited should you be about Halo: Reach, Gears of War 3 and Fable III?

Here's what we think. Let us know your opinions in the comments below.

Jon Hicks, Official Xbox Magazine UK

As expected, Microsoft went big on the newly-christened Kinect - and as expected, there were fitness games. But the hardcore weren't left out: the brutal slicing of Metal Gear Rising is about as un-family-friendly as it gets, the CoD deal means Xbox is going to stay first for shooter fans, and new exclusive Codename Kingdoms means we've got something to follow the killer lineup of Crackdown 2, Halo Reach, Fable 3 and Gears of War 3.

And the Kinect upgrades are seriously cool - voice commands for menu navigation and movie playback is sheer sci-fi. The Xbox hardcore might begrudge the time spent on family games like Kinectimals and Kinect Adventures, but they'll play well with the wider market - as will a more capable and quieter console. I'm sure many would have preferred more guns and gore, but they can't argue with a massive leap forward for the hardware, a great lineup of exclusives. I don't think Microsoft could have done much more to keep all sides happy.

Corey Cohen, Official Xbox Magazine US

From their opening salvo, Microsoft made it clear they were ready to play in 2010... and beyond. The demo of Call of Duty: Black Ops showed off some sweet-looking gameplay, and the following announcement — that all Call of Duty map packs and add-ons from Black Ops through the end of 2012 would debut first on 360 — was great news for Xbox fans.

We’re not totally sure what to think of the Metal Gear Rising demo (which seemed to be a mixture of cutscene and gameplay), but the onscreen swordplay was damn cool-looking. “Cut what you will” and “The blade is in your hands” were the slogans, and we watched as the protagonist sliced a guy in half, hacked off another dude’s leg, and then chopped apart a couple of... watermelons, just for fun. It was wacky, funny, and a great closer.

As expected, Gears of War 3, Fable III, and Halo: Reach made brief appearances, but Kinect stole the show for us. Using it to control your 360 with just your voice was impressive enough: we can’t wait to say “Xbox” or “Zune” to switch channels, as the Microsoft rep did, or to navigate a movie or bookmark our favorite scenes; chat with friends on Video Kinect; and shout “Replay” to rewatch an awesome play in a tense football game. (Yup: that new deal with ESPN, which brings “over 3,500 live and on-demand” events to your 360, should be a sports fans’ dream.)

The Kinect launch games were a pretty interesting assortment, too. Of the six launch games, we were most impressed by three. Kinectimals, which lets you reach out and pet one of dozens of animals (the demo used a tiger cub), and also give it various commands, looks addictive and cute. Your Shape: Fitness Evolved seems like a great way to actually get in shape, with Kinect-tracked knee raises and squat thrusts in personal-training classes, plus the option to take classes like martial arts or tai chi, with Kinect making sure you follow the movements shown onscreen. And the clincher? Harmonix’s Dance Central, a game that might actually teach some of us to dance. Emulate various moves shown onscreen — the Swing, Elbow Throw, Hitch Hike — and then put them together in a routine, to the beats of “Hella Good,” Bell Biv DeVoe’s “Poison,” and other tracks? Seems pretty cool...and Harmonix has more then proven themselves in the rhythm-game category.

Robin Alway, GamesMaster

After yesterday night's Natal experience, it was a relief to sit down in a dark room without any French circus practioners and be shown some new videogames. And not wear a poncho. Overall Microsoft did more than enough to reassure the hardcore gamers that for all of Kinect's yoga and tiger petting, they've got most of the world's biggest games. Halo Reach, CoD Black Ops and Gears 3 looked as solid as you'd expect and demand. There wasn't much breadth though with the announcements divided between the ultra violent like of MGS Rising's new dismemberment direction and Kinect's ultra casual offerings.

There still doesn't seem to be anything for real gamers on the new device and the Star Wars game and Forza didn't really convince. But the fact you can say "hello" to your Xbox and not have to find a remote or controller to navigate means most of us will want one anyway. And just to seal the deal, Microsoft giving out the redesigned 360 free to the US press predictably bent the needle on the E3 whoopometer even if all those new vents are going to make it a bitch to dust.

Next page: Impressions from GamesRadar editor Charlie Barratt


  • Willis916 - June 17, 2010 12:23 a.m.

    hmm good thing i didnt buy a new elite yesterday (i was going to) now i can just buy the whisper since my xbox dies a week ago :D
  • Elementium - June 15, 2010 5:10 p.m.

    Motion controls just aren't fun. After I get home from work and wind down for the day the last thing I want to do is have to flail my arms around and punch air just to play a game. The Wii is great but look at the limited amount of GOOD titles for it. Microsoft.. hey, your the best. There's no need to branch out into useless fad control setups.
  • cj12297 - June 15, 2010 5:08 p.m.

    hate the name change. kinect reminds of kinex which i played with as a kid. i don't like kinex
  • CAPST3R - June 15, 2010 2:46 p.m.

    Why can't they just make COD 360 exclusive? It would keep the junk off the PS3 shelves.
  • philipshaw - June 15, 2010 11:19 a.m.

    I don't get how you can be postive, this was so boring
  • jmcgrotty - June 15, 2010 9:13 a.m.

    Why the hell is no one complaining that there was no discussion of price? Pessimistically I take that to mean that it's probably a lot higher than people are going to be wanting it, otherwise they would have crowed about the price point.
  • Dondada - June 15, 2010 7:40 a.m.

    "I'm not much of a Metal Gear Solid fan" is where I stopped reading.
  • batman5273 - June 15, 2010 5:35 a.m.

    Compared to last year, this year's media briefing was a bit of a disappointment. Last year had the Beatles, Project Natal, and surprise games there were no surprises. we technically there was but not surprises that gave me a "oh wow" moment. the majority of the games were already announced so we just got gameplay. ESPN for Xbox is cool, but how many nerds really care about sports? I get what Microsoft is doing. Kinect is not just an Eye Toy. Kinect has alot of potential not just for games, but also for quality of life. Think about this, what if you had a disability, or handicapp, or missing limbs? Kinect will let you control the dashboard and even play games. I know disabled veterans that have no hands. they have no fingers to push buttons. So Kinect will be very special to them. And the fact that you just can't waggle a remote like a Wii, I see Kinect actually getting people off the couch. Now I love being on the couch and pressing buttons, but when my 4 and 6 year old saw Skittles in the Kinectimals game, their eyes lit up! My daughter Harley made me rewind the DVR so she could see Skittles again and again. And when the dancing game aired, they were in front of the tv mimicing the moves. And that proves Microsofts point, there is still some untapped market. Think about this, you are a parent and have the choice between a Wii and and Xbox w/ Kinect. The choice to get the Xbox makes more sense. Get the fat kids doing something. Now the Playstation Move is cool, but it still has controllers. My 57 year old mother has a Wii, and she is still confused by the controllers. And once I showed her she can play Wii Sports Bowling from the couch, she has never got up from it since. Microsoft will never abandon the Hard Core Gamer. I think it just opened the door to the casual gamer alittle more.
  • TheVeteran13 - June 15, 2010 5:07 a.m.

    New 360 and gears 3 cool and all... but kinect is really just an entirely new medium for people to embarrass themselves in. Sure the casual will eat it up and say "duh hey look I'm the game" but i just hope microsoft realizes that they will never be able to sell this to everyone and not try to make this some five year initative. So with hopes dashed and strewn upon a parade of murderers and single mothers I turn to sony with no higher hopes
  • AuthorityFigure - June 15, 2010 4:33 a.m.

    What's this about 'abandoning the hardcore gamer'? At least 50% of the material was target at YOU. More like the hard-to-please-gamer...
  • darkmagshin - June 15, 2010 3:56 a.m.

    the new xbox looks like a fucking ps3. lucky MS fans, you're getting a motion control peripheral that saps 25% of the processor power and now you can't even distinguish between the two consoles. although i have to admit, move probably won't be much better, as if i would buy either of them. if this is all that MS has coming, then i won't be having a lot of nerd jealousy over MS fans any time soon. I'm just hoping that the sony conference isn't an apocalyps3... if so, then i'll be all good =D
  • Hexar - June 15, 2010 3:51 a.m.

    Crummy article, the first page is filled with bias. Sorry I'm not interested in reading what the "Official Xbox Magazine" journalist has to say about the "Official Microsoft Press Conference". Charlie's take was alright, but honestly this was a pretty big disappointment. They've had a year to refine this thing from what we last saw and what we get is a less battery intensive more hand waving way of getting through the dashboard and a whole truckload of games that I feel hard pressed to even call games. Posing in front of a camera while trying to smack things on a moving cart isn't entertainment; that's barely a step above a posing in front of a fun house mirror. Honestly how long can you see someone doing this? I was willing to give Microsoft my attention on their new gimmick, but after this showing I can definitely state that I will not be interesting in buying this thing anytime soon.
  • whiteknight1981 - June 15, 2010 3:35 a.m.

    Arggg!!!! Xbox Sux!!!! Sony Nerd Orgasm FTW!!!!! Sony will be best evaa! Blagghhhhhh! *head bursts in complete fanboy rag-on-xbox-demonstration rage*
  • Baron164 - June 15, 2010 3:21 a.m.

    I like the new 360 with the new features and I'm glad my old transfer cable will still work with the new one. But it's certainly not going to get me to buy a new one anytime soon. My Elite is still holding its own and I don't care about Wifi, maybe when the Elite dies I'll upgrade. I'll also be curious to see if they finally solved the RROD *fingers crossed* But I deffinately agree with Charlie. Bundle in Kinect for the same $300 and I'll pick one up.
  • JohnnyMaverik - June 15, 2010 3:12 a.m.

    Honestly, Gears and Halo, that's all they had in the way of exclusive titles (to the 360 platform itself that is, Fable III is exclusive to Microsoft, not to 360) that I might actually be interested in. Having not played gears 2 or halo 3 I'm not anyway. I'm suprised Crytek are going exclusive on a game, but I guess Microsoft probably threw a couple of mil their way as a reward. I hope Nintendo can convince me to buy a Wii some time before next E3 (doubt it) and Sony will have more in the way of actual games... and less motion control stuff, but with Move on the way I doubt it.
  • Fiirestorm21 - June 15, 2010 2:10 a.m.

    Unimpressive conference for the most part. The first half was great, I agree, but even so there was nothing surprising except for Crytek's new game and that was just a teaser. As awesome as they look, Gears 3 and Halo Reach look exactly like I expected them to. However Black Ops looked pretty badass, I have to admit. The second half was just painful to watch. Really, really uncomfortable. So staged, so awkward, so forced, so unnatural. And the games still are just stupid. And even if they aren't stupid then we know that playing the games makes you look stupid. Aside from the voice commands, I found nothing to like about Kinect. As for the new 360, overall I'm digging it, although Microsoft should have released it a year or two ago. And I want one in white. But other than that, it was cool.
  • FlyinMX - June 15, 2010 1:22 a.m.

    Can't say I was impressed very much with this showing. The only games that caught my eye were MGS:Rising and GoW 3. I had no intention of ever buying CoD: Black Ops (or any CoD anymore, for that matter so the temporary exclusivity deal for map packs is a moot point) Regarding Fable 3, I didn't play the first 2 and I don't plan on starting anytime soon. I'm just not excited at all about Halo Reach, although I'll likely get it at some point. Codename Kingdoms is still probably 2+ years off. I thought the ESPN deal sounded awesome until I realized that it is almost guaranteed to be U.S. exclusive. And Kinect? So far, it looks like the worst parts of the Wii, just prettier and slightly more refined. I will say that I find the voice/facial recognitions and ability to open menus by gesture alone to be pretty cool, but the most important part, the games, fails on nearly every level. Outside of Dance Central, which is only getting a benefit of the doubt because it's made by Harmonix, everything else looked like crap and stuff for the under-10/over-40 crowd. I just can't pay lord knows how much (I've heard 150$, I pray it's wrong) to do something that I can do just as easily with a controller. MS will need to wow me with future Kinect titles to pony up the dough for it. P.S. like the look of the new 360, but there's no reason to own two... but I guess it's more for people who don't have one anyway.
  • Samuel71 - June 15, 2010 1:11 a.m.

    The conference was a joke. Nintendo and Sony will certainly top this.
  • awinnerisjew - June 15, 2010 1:01 a.m.

    So 5 years later it's copying the exact same touch-sensitive buttons the PS3 was mocked for. It's copying the built in wifi that both the PS3 and the Wii for God's sake already have. It's smaller, it's shiny and it's black, much like the original PS3 and new Wii. And it's finally quieter than a jet engine and doesn't sound like it's breaking just being turned on? And this is called an innovation or a "new" 360 with a price point at $299? Oh and by the way, if it's a 360 that will play 360 games, that's not backwards compatability, that's compatability. It damn well better play the games that were intended for it. So their entire plan is just to copy the first generation PS3 and claim it as their own idea and invention. Maybe thats why they made it a point to mention "backwards compatability", because everyone expected it to just play blu-ray and download content to a PSP. This is not worth an E3 unvail, or a purchase for that matter. And I say this as someone who owns all three consoles and plays them....with the exception of the Wii.
  • Shinramen - June 15, 2010 12:42 a.m.

    What a disappointment. Another Gears, another Halo, another Madden, another CoD. The same motion control stuff as last year. ESPN was the only thing even worth mentioning here.

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