So Microsoft's E3 2012 press briefing is done. It was quite a thing. Plenty to talk about. But was it better than Microsoft's conference last year? That's the big question. To find out, we have used the science of excitement to find out and come up with some kind of definitive verdict. To prove that we're taking this seriously and are using actual science here's a graph that compares the excitement of Microsoft's E3 2011 press conference with Microsoft's E3 2012 press conference:
To break that down even further, here's a blow-by-blow run-down of each of the conferences in 10 minute increments:
00.00 - 10.00
E3 2011: Flashing lights and disembodied female voice welcomes everyone to the 2011 Xbox 360 'global media briefing'. Then it's Modern Warfare 3. There's scuba diving and shooting and explosions and jets and boats and New York and more shooting and more explosions.
E3 2012: Flashing lights and disembodied female voice welcomes everyone to the 2012 Xbox 360 'global media briefing'. Then it's Halo 4. There's new weapons. New enemies. New storyline. New visor mode. Also, space explosions.
10.00 - 20.00
E3 2011: First sighting of Don Mattrick. He's smiling. He leaves and then its Tomb Raider and Tomb Raider looks really good and everyone is actually genuinely pleasantly excited about Tomb Raider again. Then Peter Moore who used to work for Microsoft but moved to EA Sports comes on stage and says some stuff about Kinect making sports games better somehow.
Above: This is Peter Moore. This is him showing off his GTA IV tattoo at E3 2006
E3 2012: First sighting of Don Mattrick. He's smiling. He leaves and then its Splinter Cell: Blacklist and Sam Fisher is in the Middle East killing terrorists and it looks sort of OK but not really all that stealthy. Then a man from EA Sports arrives. It's not Peter Moore. But just like Peter Moore last year he says some stuff about Kinect making sports games better somehow.
20.00 - 30.00
E3 2011: Dr Ray Muzyka from BioWare appears. Confirms Kinect support for Mass Effect 3. Then leaves. Is replaced by the much more French Ubisoft CEO, Yves Guillemot. There's a whole big bit about using Kinect to put guns together in Ghost Recon: Future Soldier by waving your hands about.
E3 2012: It's a trailer for Fable: The Journey. We saw it last year. It uses Kinect for doing spells and magic. Here comes Phil Spencer. He's Head of Microsoft Studios and has come armed with a world premiere trailer for Gears of War: Judgement. It's short. With no detail. And no gameplay. Just big men with guns. Then there's a trailer for Forza Horizon. It's got dub-step.
30.00 - 40.00
E3 2011: Xbox Live uses Kinect. Also, you can watch UFC on Xbox and it's totally interactive. It's totally the future of watching TV.
Above: This is a thing that was at the Microsoft conference
E3 2012: Xbox Live uses Kinect. Also, you can watch NBA and NHL on Xbox and also there's this thing called Xbox Music and also Nike is doing Nike+ for Kinect. It's totally the future of fitness.
40.00 - 50.00
E3 2011: Gears of War 3 demo piloted by Cliff Bleszinski and Ice T. The rapper/actor promises his band Body Count will provide music for the game. Awkward silence. Then a first look at Crytek's game Ryse. Balls. It's for Kinect. Also, a little bit about Halo: CE Anniversary.
E3 2012: A really long-winded 10 minutes all about Xbox Smart Glass. Something about being able to browse the internet on Xbox using a smart phone and it making Game of Thrones better. Something like that. We sort of glazed over. It's probably the future of everything.
50.00 - 60.00
E3 2011: Really ramming Kinect in our faces. Forza Motorsport 4. It uses Kinect. Next, Fable: The Journey. Guess what? It's Kinect only. Next, Minecraft exclusive on 360. But that's not all. Because, you got it, it uses Kinect.
Above: It makes games better by, like, doing everything that you could do before with a controller. But with your arms and legs and heads
E3 2012: Crystal Dynamics on stage. Which means a game. An actual game to look at. It's Tomb Raider. Not as atmospheric as last year. Breathless action. Lara Croft does a lot of falling. Next there's THREE new exclusives: Ascend New Gods (looks like God of War), LocoCycle (looks like a motorbike) and Matter (looks like Marble Madness in the future).
60.00 - 70.00
E3 2011: Kinect Disneyland Adventures. There are children on stage. Doing Kinect. It's horrible. They leave and there's some Star Wars music and it's all OK again but then there's a logo and it says 'Kinect Star Wars' and then it's not OK again because Kinect.
E3 2012: It's Capcom. It's Resident Evil 6. There are no children on stage. There are burning cars and zombies and decapitations and probably the most explodingest explosion in a video game we've ever seen. That's followed with some Kinect crap called Wreckateer. It's basically Angry Birds in 3D.
70.00 - 80.00
E3 2011: It's Tim Schafer. We like him. He made Psychonauts and other cool games. Now he's making Once Upon A Monster. It's a Sesame Street game. For Kinect. Then it's Kudo Tsunodo - he's that guy that did the BAM! thing with the shoe. That was funny. He talks a whole bunch about Kinect Fun Labs. Kinect! Fun! Labs!
Above: This was a highlight of this year's conference
E3 2012: It's the South Park game. We like South Park. We're not sure about the game yet. Trey Parker and Matt Stone come on stage. They take the piss out of Xbox Smart Glass. It's the best bit of the conference. Then Usher appears and does a song and dance for Dance Central 3. There's smoke and some body-locking.
80.00 - 90.00
E3 2011: The last 10 minutes are filled with more Kinect. There are horrible on-stage demos of Kinect Sports Season Two and Dance Central 2. But, guys, wait, it's not the end because here comes Don Mattrick and he's got a Halo 4 trailer. Conference ends.
E3 2012: Don Mattrick is back. He gives Usher a big clap and says a bunch of stuff about Xbox and then leaves. Finally, a man does a demo of Black Ops II. It's literally stuffed with explosions and helicopters and jets and exploding helicopters and jets. Conference ends.
The official scientific verdict of excitement: Both conferences had highs and lows of excitement. Or to use the correct terminology - 'peaks and troughs'. This is due to some of the content at the conference being exciting and some of it being not exciting.
The vast majority of 'peaks' occurred during moments when the focus of the conference was on good games that we are interested in playing. Conversely, the vast majority of 'troughs' occurred during moments when the focus of the conference was on rubbish games that we aren't interested in playing. Or on stuff that isn't even games at all.
Overall, based on this evidence we would say this year's Microsoft E3 conference was fractionally less exciting than last year's. So, year-on-year, that is a decline in excitement. Which isn't favourable. Although, actually, looking at the graph it would seem that we thought the opposite of that. Bollocks. We must have got the colours mixed up. Either way - science.