E3 2011: The Microsoft press conference - Everything you need to know

Forget the guff, forget the fluff. Here's what really matters

So, Microsoft's E3 2011 press conference has quite literally just finished. Commiserations if you missed it (We even streamed it for you. Where the hell were you?), but fret not. We have every important fact and announcement for you right here, all written up and ready to go. No guff, no fluff. Just the important stuff you're going to care about.

Was Microsoft's E3 2011 show better than the Kinect-fuelled misery of last year? Does MS have a raft of sexy new Xbox 360 exclusives set up for the coming years? Were there any more tigers? Was there any more Beiber?Read on, and we shall tell all in handy bullet-point form.

  • The conference opened with a Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 live demo, showing an underwater level featuring a small squad of marines using mini-subs. Tense stuff, a bit like an sub-aquatic All Ghillied Up. Demo culminated in an on-foot infiltration of a Russian sub, missile launch, and hectic boat chase. As cinematic as anything you've seen in the series so far.
  • Early on, Don Mattrick described games as "what you love best".
  • There was a live Tomb Raider demo. "Brutal" does not cover Lara's treatment. Strung up in a cave, forced to burn her bonds to escape, she then encountered crucified bodies, was beaten several times, half-drowned her way through flooded passageways. Stunning lighting and kinetic environments. Breakneck cinematic pacing. Very, very, very Uncharted.

  • EA Sports' Peter Moore turned up to announce Kinect support for Tiger Woods, NFL, and FIFA. And one more he didn't mention.
  • BioWare's Ray Muzyka appeared to introduce Mass Effect 3. And Kinect support. Demoed voice-controlled conversational decisions and voice-controlled squad-commands in combat. You know, like in EndWar. EndWar, yeah?

  • Speaking of Tom Clancy, this was followed with a bullet-time-tastic trailer for Ghost Recon: Future Soldier. Ubisoft's Yves Guillermot then appeared to discuss Kinect features. Which by this point, no-one was surprised by. Weapon customisation can be done with arm gestures and voice commands. A man took a gun apart by opening his arms. Opening his arms! And only quite a bit slower than using a pad. He then test-fired his guns using playground gun-firing gestures. With all the excessive lag required by a tight tactical shooter.

  • All future Tom Clancy's titles will use Kinect. Yay!
  • Kinect functionality with TV content was demoed, alongside another New Xbox Experience. New Kinect-ccentric dashboard update coming, folks. Content now seems to be grouped by entertainment media.
  • YouTube was announced for Xbox Live.

  • Microsoft's Bing search engine was demoed on 360 using Kinect voice-searches. Only seems to search available Xbox Live media though, rather than working as a web browser.
  • Live TV was announced for the Xbox 360, via international deals with TV providers. Apparently "TV is more amazing when you are the controller". The new dashboard is coming this autumn. Get ready to be amazed by TV.
  • Dana White, president of the UFC, then took to the stage. Nathan got visibly excited. Air was punched. Showed off live UFC streaming on Xbox 360, with interactive, connective features like ordering matches and (seemingly) betting on fights.
  • Following that, it was time for the exclusive games. Things kicked off with Gears of War 3. Cliff Bleszinski appeared to introduce a new campaign demo, played in co-op with Ice-T. Impressive opening as a huge sea monster hurled crawly things at the Gears while destroying the hull of their ship around them. Once back on-deck, the squad fired up a Silverback mech and proceeded to shoot the glowing bits in the customary fashion. Cole then dumped a shipping crate full of Tickers on the beast from a higher level. Epic stuff, no pun intended.
  • Then we got a trailer from Crytek, Remember Codename: Kingdoms? It's now called Ryse. And it's a first-person Kinect fighter.
  • To help us dry our tears, we then got a trailer for Halo: Combat Evolved Tenth Anniversary. More than an HD remake, it's a full graphical overhaul of the first game in the series.


Long-time GR+ writer Dave has been gaming with immense dedication ever since he failed dismally at some '80s arcade racer on a childhood day at the seaside (due to being too small to reach the controls without help). These days he's an enigmatic blend of beard-stroking narrative discussion and hard-hitting Psycho Crushers.


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