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Analysis: Microsoft manages to pad it out for another year

Tuesday, 5 June 2012 08:54 GMT By Patrick Garratt

Microsoft’s E3 conference was a success in that it managed to keep 360 moving for yet another year, but with Kinect quietly moved aside and the AAA blending into one, the next gen has to be something special, says Patrick Garratt.

It was solid. There were no surprises. It was better without Kinect. Microsoft at E3 2012 was about setting the co-ordinates with enough precision to make the jump to light-speed. The real action comes next year, and it had better be good: we can’t keep up with this for much longer.

It was strong enough, and given just how old Xbox 360 is, it’s was all you can hope for. Microsoft’s E3 conference this year was a functional affair specifically designed to keep this generation alive until 2013′s new console reveal, and it did enough to make the entire strategy seem plausible.

It says a lot about the current state of this generation that a new Gears of War game can be announced, trailered and vanish in the space of a few minutes with little fanfare. Microsoft at E3 2012 was all about treading water.

That’s not to say there was no merit. Microsoft is an old hand at managing third-party exclusives while mixing in a slim but solid triple-A portfolio, and this year proved just how valuable the strategy can be. Halo 4, Gears of War: Judgment and Forza Horizon all looked dependable as the first-party offering for the year, and Black Ops II, Splinter Cell and Tomb Raider – and their exclusive pieces of DLC – are all guaranteed FY2012 smashes.

No matter how well they’re going to sell, though, it’s all starting to blur. Halo and Black Ops are floating sci-fi guns. Splinter Cell and Tomb Raider are hyper-violent cover shooters. There was little to buoy anyone looking for a shift in platform holder publishing from Microsoft, but 2012 isn’t about moving off the beaten track: it’s about doggedly following the compass until we reach the next gen waypoint of E3 2013.

There were hints of the future, though. Kinect, as is now obvious, has been dropped like a hot rock. Dance Central 3 was the only Kinect-specific game in the entire conference. The only other Kinect features on show were voice-related, in games such as Madden and Splinter Cell. There’s no accident here; Kinect hasn’t worked in the way Microsoft hoped it would. There are too many problems with a device that requires oodles of room and perfect lighting, and it should be no shock that game-makers should only allow voice-recognition into their software in terms of Kinect. You can’t gamble on whether or not a motion feature’s going to work when you have a $20 million budget.

Another pointer at what’s to come was shown in SmartGlass and the inclusion of Internet Explorer in 360 this year. The SmartGlass demo was excellent, showing how companies like Microsoft are now keenly aware that the savvy consumer is looking for a connected living room eco-system, and that openness is key to any successful method. SmartGlass will support iOS, Windows Phone and Android, meaning you’ll be able to hook everything to your 360 no matter what you own. This will be a standard moving forward, and you should expect next gen consoles to support iPad and the like straight out of the box.

The weight of services to software was really nothing unusual, as you’ll know if you’ve watched Microsoft at E3 in recent years, and it was nice to see Xbox Music finally announced. As ever with these initiatives, though, the proof will be in the eating. It may be the music service of “dreams,” as the effervescent presenter had it last night, but Sony’s VidZone sounded amazing until you sat in front of your TV watching nothing load. We’ll see.

It was solid. There were no surprises. It was better without Kinect. Microsoft at E3 2012 was about setting the co-ordinates with enough precision to make the jump to light-speed. The real action comes next year, and it had better be good: we can’t keep up with this for much longer. For 2012, you’re stuck with first-person shooting, cover shooter and dancing like Usher. You’ll just have to be patient.

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17 Comments

  1. Bruciebabe

    The core Microsoft strategy is to integrate the living room (console) with the desktop (Windows PC) with mobile (Windows phone) with tablets. All sharing content from the cloud.
    Once you realise this the waymarkers along the route become obvious. The major changes to Live over the last year, for instance. SmartGlass is another such announcement and its capabilities will expand as the strategy rolls out.

    Microsoft are doing this because they can and nobody else has the presence across so many markets to follow them. It gives them huge strategic advantage. For gaming the possibilities are fascinating and endless.

    #1 3 years ago
  2. G1GAHURTZ

    Looking forward to seeing what they do with SmartGlass.

    Has loads of potental for RTS games…

    #2 3 years ago
  3. polygem

    smart glass has potential. it is just their answer to vita and wiiu tablet use though. we will see this on every console.
    i really was shocked abot the absence of cool in ms´s presentation. there literally was just halo, tomb raider and a short gears trailer that even looked rushed.
    halo 4 was among the very best the e3 as a whole had to offer this far though. that demo really saved me from throwing my 360 out of the window.

    #3 3 years ago
  4. Old MacDonald

    “It was strong enough” … oh no it wasn’t, not by a long shot.

    #4 3 years ago
  5. rainer

    #1 sounds like a PR person, anyway it was pretty bad all around.

    The smartglass stuff was nonsense, who starts checking their phone/tablet while watching the middle of a movie/show and if they do they mustn’t be that interested in it in the first place.

    Remote control for the web browser wasn’t a bad idea but it has been done before so MS were straight up lying when they said it hasn’t, you can get these remotes for various smart TV’s that have browsers.

    No-one will ever do RTS games on the Xbox again, Microsoft isn’t interested and third parties on the PC aren’t.

    The whole interactivity thing with games was fluff, I’d be amazed like with third parties on the Wii U if anyone ever does anything interesting with it.

    #5 3 years ago
  6. absolutezero

    Halo 4 just looked like they took the worst parts of the previous games and spun them out. No one liked fighting the flood, they enjoyed pitting themselves against the Elites and the Brutes.

    I enjoyed the ping ponging about guy but then he more or less just got one shotted by the forerunner gun.

    What would have been amazing was if the flying drone that was tossing grenades back actually stuck the guy playing.

    Aside from that it was a couple of nice enough looking third party titles and a shit load of fuck all.

    You know I thought the way to get fully immersed in a TV show is to, you know, actually watch the TV show and not play about with a tablet while its on.

    #6 3 years ago
  7. Yoshi

    @3 Are you stoned? XD Halo 4 looked pretty meh. The only good thing about Halo 4 was that they’re going into some new environments this time.

    There’s also the fact that Master Chief has a voice now while also being babysitted by the “suit voice”. “Over there, over here, behind you, lets look here, lets walk forward” That will get very annoying and it wasn’t like it took breaks it was constantly saying stuff.

    Watch Dogs & Last of Us were the main games that took it beyond and made this years e3 awesome. Best part is, they’re new ips. So maybe devs/pubs won’t be too scared to make some new ips now.

    #7 3 years ago
  8. Ge0force

    Another Halo, another Forza, another Gears, another Fable… always the same core games every year again. At least some games switched devs now, and there wasn’t as much Kinect as the previous years. Smartglass seems very promising, but not so much for core games.

    #8 3 years ago
  9. Da Man

    Last of us looked like yet another eye candy with borderline non existent gameplay, typical Sony. And typical smoke and mirrors.

    Come back to me when you produce a video game with a tad bit more open environment, enemies with separate AI and a few of those on screen at once.

    Oh wow, a zombie videogame. They really took us beyond.

    That and the new tech demo from David Cage. Oh well, I suppose it’s all exciting when your biggest expose to literature was Xenosaga.

    #9 3 years ago
  10. OrbitMonkey

    Hmmm…

    Halo 4 looked like yet another eye candy with borderline non-existent gameplay, typical MS and typical smoke and mirrors.

    Oh wow a space marine fps, they really took us beyond.

    #10 3 years ago
  11. Da Man

    Orbitmonkey, you really should try harder.

    #11 3 years ago
  12. ManuOtaku

    For me it was good, but it could have been better, as much as i like halo, gears of war, fable, alan wake, etc, i mean all the microsoft exclusives, i would love to see some new tittles of old franchises, like a new killer instint game, perfect dark, kameo, too human, banjo,conker, etc, and a few quality kinect games like the gunstringer or the new panzer dragon kinect game, something on those lines, but i got the feeling they are keeping much of these for the 720, so no biggy.

    #12 3 years ago
  13. Ireland Michael

    @10 I think you’re trying too hard in this instance.

    Even I though the Halo 4 demo looked good. AI has always been one of Halo’s strengths, and I’m interested to see what they can do with these news species. They definitely have a cool design too.

    The Microaoft conference was mostly awful. The only thing that really got me excited was the Tomb Raider footage. Game looks phenomenal.

    SmartGlass looks like a nice idea that will unfortunately probably just end up being under-utilized due to its reliance on external, third party hardware that not everyone will own. It’s just an attempt to grab someone the Wii U market.

    Usher. That’s all else I have to say. Ugh…

    #13 3 years ago
  14. OrbitMonkey

    @11, Lolshock94? Hasn’t your 3 month ban lifted yet? Or is the constant name changing your new schtick?

    #14 3 years ago
  15. polygem

    @7. you wasn´t blown away by the halo 4 demo and call ME stoned? you stoned man? :P
    the master chief has been in jungles before. even in halo ce there was a jungle section. the demo looked and felt like a halo game. the best looking and most sexy halo game i have ever seen.
    the “baysitting” voice was cortana. the connection between her and john will be a huge part of the story. this isn´t annoying for anyone who likes halo. it makes sense that she talks, she always has, it´s her job. the chief talked too. that´s something.
    the new enemies looked great. the old enemies looked great as ever. the hud was perfected, the artdesign was halo, the execution looked more than impressive. the trailer bits after the demo with a screaming, mad cortana looked so very promising. the music was awesome, great atmosphere, all you can wish for in an epic stroy based fps videogame was there…there was nothing bad about it. it was all awesome. the best bit of e3 so far, by far.

    the rest of the ms presser was the worst of e3 so far unfortunatley.

    #15 3 years ago
  16. Moonwalker1982

    E3 2013 has to be it that they are revealing the new console then. Last year they ended with the Halo 4 announcement, a game that was planned for the next year and it will, this november. This conference ended with a multiplatform title, not exactly what i’d call…going out with a bang. Nothing huge planned for next year, except for the new Gears title, but that didn’t seem too important for some reason. E3 2013 reveal and a launch for late 2013 or even 2014 i guess then.

    #16 3 years ago
  17. fearmonkey

    This year’s MS conference was disappointing. While Sony focused on games, MS focused on non-gaming primarily. The smartglass thing is interesting and could be cool, but for E3 I want to see new games, not sequels we all knew were coming, and surprises.

    Sony showed Beyond which is new and exciting, MS didn’t have anything near as cool.

    Also, I wish MS would get a clue and stop with the non gaming stuff at E3, like the Usher concert.

    #17 3 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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    A new video shown by Final Fantasy 15 director Hajime Tabata during the latest Active Time Report, contains a look at the game’s wildlife and ecology. You can watch the full stream two hour stream through here, or a smaller clip courtesy of GamesHQMedia below.

  • Lionhead ventures into the free-to-play space with Fable Legends

    Fable Legends will be free-to-play when it launches on PC and Xbox One. According to Lionhead, the one versus four cross-platform title borrows from MOBA games such as Dota 2 and League of Legends as it will contain free, rotating heroes which will be added to a roster for a two week period. Once the […]

  • Win! 5 pairs of tickets to the Call of Duty European Championships

    We have five pairs of tickets to giveaway for the Call of Duty European Championships, taking place in London this weekend. The event takes place this Saturday February 28 and Sunday March 1 at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. Winners can watch teams will go head to head for a $10,000 prize pot […]

  • Republique Remastered has released on Mac and PC

    Republique Remastered, which was announced earlier this month, is now available for Mac and PC. The game is 20% off through Steam, GOG and the Humble Store for $19.99 until March 4. Thereafter, it will run you $24.99. The Remastered edition contains all five episodes of the game, with 1-3 available now and the remaining […]

  • LA Cops coming to Xbox One in March

    Isometric shooter LA Cops is coming to Xbox One on March 13. Already on Steam Early Access, the game looks like it’s been heavily inspired by Hotline Miami. Walk into a room, open fire, leave bloody puddles in your wake. It’s being published by Team 17. Check out the video below for some 70s cop […]

  • We have $500 of Steam Wallet funds to giveaway!

    We’re giving away 10 Steam Wallet prizes worth $50 each to VG247 readers, courtesy of Bundle Stars. All you need to do to be in with a chance of winning $50 Steam credit is to enter your details below. Join the Bundle Stars Steam group for entry in the sweepstake, and gain extra entries for […]

  • Lapsed Final Fantasy 14 players tempted back with 10 day freebie

    Square is offering lapsed FF 14: A Realm Reborn players a chance to come back to the game for 10 days worth of free adventuring. Provided you’ve already bought and registered an account you’ll be able to play free of charge from Feb 27 to March 9. Square wants you to sample the new content […]

  • Advanced Warfare: Sledgehammer looking at “opportunities” to recreate classic Call of Duty maps

    Sledgehammer Games has told VG247 it’s looking at opportunities to recreate classic Call of Duty maps in Advanced Warfare. According to co-founder Michael Condrey, players of the latest Havoc DLC are asking how Exo abilities and verticality can be added to classic franchise maps. “We’re taking a look at some opportunities to really highlight the […]

  • GTA Online reader playlist week 7: and the winner is…

    Stuff was shot. But only one player emerged victorious. GTA Online player e031271 won last night’s VG247 reader playlist, beating myself, Matt and regulars solidorwot and Revolting. Congratulations, Mr e031271. A deserved victory. We play a GTA Online playlist in an open session every Wednesday on PS4, because it’s both funny and fun. Anyone’s welcome […]

  • Leaked screens reveal The Reef as Destiny’s new “social space”

    A handful of leaked Destiny screens seem to confirm that The Reef location will be the new social space in Destiny. The new addition is likely to be revealed as part of the upcoming House of Wolves expansion. Reddit user Megamanexe4 dropped the screens on the site earlier this morning, along with grabs that reveal […]

  • Darksiders creator teases Battle Chasers game

    Joe Madureira, creator of Darksiders, has released art that strongly suggests a Battle Chasers game is in the works. Battle Chasers was a comic book from the late 1990s that suffered notorious production problems between issues and was never finished. Madureira formed Airship Syndicate after the collapse of THQ, where he co-created Darksiders. His latest […]

  • Infamous video nasty Axe recreated in GTA 5

    The trailer for notorious horror movie Axe has been recreated in GTA 5. The shot for shot remake is the work of gigerbrick who has previously recreated exploitation flicks like Machete and Hostel using Lego. The original Axe movie was banned in 1984 in the UK but passed with cuts in the late 1990s. Movie […]

  • Payday 2 for PS4 and Xbox One includes “a year’s worth of paid DLC” for free

    Payday 2: Crimewave Edition will include a year’s worth of paid DLC from the PC version of the game for free. The new-gen version of the game will be available June 2015, and includes almost all of the paid and free DLC released so far for Overkill’s popular first-person shooter. That DLC includes The Big […]

  • Yes, Mortal Kombat X will require Xbox Live Gold or PS Plus

    Mortal Kombat X won’t bypass Microsoft and Sony’s premium online play requirements. Reports that Mortal Kombat X wouldn’t require PS Plus or Xbox Live Gold started circling earlier this week thanks to a communications error. Answering fan questions on Twitter, producer Shaun Himmerick accidentally gave the impression that premium console subs would not be required […]

  • This is what Destiny players most want next

    Destiny patch 1.1.1 has resolved or at least addressed a number of complaints voiced by the community, but there are plenty more. des Destiny community manage David “Deej” Dague has put out a call for Guardians to share their concerns – or rather, what they think the community is most concerned about. “Set aside your […]

  • Google AI can play games now, so we’re probably all going to die

    Google has brought us one step closer to our inevitable slaughter or enslavement by machine overlords. Google has developed an AI that can learn to play video games and devise brand new strategies. Let me just rephrase that: Google has created an AI that can teach itself new skills, including how to play video games. […]

  • First footage of Renowned Explorers: International Society surfaces

    Renowned Explorers: International Society is a turn-based strategy game from the team behind Reus, and it looks great. Renowned Explorers was announced almost a full year ago, but has been pretty quiet since then. Developer Abbey games has now announced that the game has hit alpha, and will be open to select testers soon. You […]

  • Cities: Skylines developer commits to mod support

    Cities: Skylines will fully support the modding community. Hailing from famously mod-friendly publisher Paradox, Cities: Skylines is a no-brainer for mod support – especially as a lack of mod support is one of the things SimCity was so heavily criticised for when it firts launched. In the developer diary below, Paradox’s Jakob Munthe is joined […]

  • Nosgoth update adds Vanguard, many fixes

    Nosgoth, the free-to-play multiplayer brawler set in the Legacy of Kain universe, has been given a significant makeover. The major feature of the latest Nosogth game update is a new playable human character called the Vanguard. “Equipped with mighty throwing axes and a shield, the Vanguard can take more punishment than any human class that […]

  • Xbox Live Gold 12 month sub $40 on Microsoft store

    Microsoft is offering $20 off 12 month Xbox Live Gold subscriptions at the moment. An Xbox Live Gold 12 month subscription will normally set you back $60, but a Microsoft Store promotion has it on offer for $40. The offer is restricted to the US store. Although you can opt to grab your sub as […]

  • Tomb Raider movie script to be penned by TMNT writer

    Tomb Raider will be Evan Daugherty’s second reboot of an established universe. The Tomb Raider movie reboot has signed on a writer and a distributor. Deadline reports Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Divergent, Snow White And The Huntsman and G.I. Joe 3 writer Daugherty will write the film. Additionally, Warner Bros. has signed on to distribute, […]

  • Shelter 2 pre-orders open, launch trailer debuts early

    Shelter 2 is a game in which you are a mother lynx and must protect a den of kittens. Yes, it’s delightful. Shelter 2 is coming to Mac and PC on March 9. Pre-orders are now available on Steam at 10% off or on GOG.com with a free skin and soundtrack, or 20% off if […]

  • That Batman: Arkham Knight trailer is full of codes

    Batman: Arkham Knight’s trailer is like a Transformer – there’s more than meets the eye. The new Batman: Arkham Knight trailer contains a number of codes. Eagle-eyed users have spotted four so far, and work on cracking their meaning is progressing. According to an /r/games thread rounding up results so far, the codes pertain to […]

  • Assassin’s Creed haystacks won’t save you from a fall

    Assassin’s Creed fans, don’t try this at home. Assassin’s Creed characters can survive falls of almost any distance as long as they aim for the haystacks scattered handily throughout the environment. As you probably deduced from your familiarity with common sense, this isn’t a real thing: falling from heights kills you, the same way a […]

  • Why are people buying PS4 and not Xbox One?

    PS4 is outselling Xbox One – but why? A new report may have the answer. Last month, the PS4 outsold the Xbox One in the US again, returning it to the top of the charts after just two months away. Why? What has caused this reversal in fortunes in Microsoft’s home territory? According to a […]

  • Toejam and Earl are back with a new Kickstarter

    The early 90′s are alive and well in a new bid to bring back Toejam and Earl. Toejam and Earl released for Mega Drive (Genesis, Americans) in 1991, and the eponymous characters went on to count among Sega’s best-known characters. They appeared in a platformer, a light gun shooter and finally a 2002 Xbox game […]

  • New Wander trailer shows off Azertash form

    Wander is a collaborative, non-combat MMO in which you can take on a number of unique forms. Wander players begin as an ambulant tree called an Oren and can progress through several different bodies as they explore the environment, learning its secrets. One of these, which we’d not seen before this trailer, is the amphibious […]

  • SOMA approaching beta phase on PC and PS4

    SOMA, the new horror game from the Amnesia: The Dark Descent crew, is getting close to playable. Frictional Games has apologised for its recent silence over the project, but said it’s focused on reaching beta. Sorry all for the silence! We're closing in on Beta and everyone's working hard to get there. Once that's done, […]

  • Square Enix does not condone Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest HD Remaster

    Square Enix has said it’s not involved with a fan remake of Final Fantasy spin-off Mystic Quest. 1992 SNES game Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest is being remade by Dark Design as Mystic Quest HD Remaster. The developer is even taking pre-orders for the project. Unfortunately, it looks like it is in no position to be […]

  • New Hunger teaser released by LittleBigPlanet Vita co-developers

    LittleBigPlanet Vita co-developers Tarsier Studios have released a teaser trailer for Hunger, which was announced in May 2014 at the Nordic Game Conference. The game has been rumored to be the firm’s unannounced Sony project since 2010. Platforms are still to be announced, but the studio became a first-party SCE developer a few years back, […]

  • Here’s two Mario Party 10 overview videos, one featuring amiibo

    Overview videos for Mario Party 10 and the amiibo which work with the title have been released by Nintendo Japan. Obviously each one is in Japanese, but you get the gist all the same. Mario Party 10 releases on Wii U March 20 in North America and Europe. Thanks, AGB.

  • Clan Raids announced for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Companion App

    Activision has announced a new Clan Raids mode will be made available through the Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Companion App. According to the CoD community blog, raids are time-based challenges where success earns you a spot on the Clan Raids leaderboards and new Clan Raid-exclusive in-game gear like the Equilibrium set. Clan members will […]

  • Play Battlefield Hardline starting March 12 through EA Access

    Xbox One users with an EA Access subscription will be able to play 10 hours worth of Battlefield Hardline starting March 12. EA Access members will are being granted access to the game five days before the street date, with full multiplayer and all saves transferring over into the main game. It was announced yesterday […]

  • This video summarizes the contents of Destiny patch 1.1.1

    With Destiny patch 1.1.1 now available, here’s a video summary of what to expect. In the video above, Arekkz Gaming gives you a rundown of the important bits in the update. Subscribe to Arekkz Gaming for more Destiny tips and trick through the link.

  • Destiny 1.1.1 patch notes out, update is live

    Destiny’s 1.1.1 patch arrives today, so if you have been kicked from activities, it means you will need to download the patch now that it’s live. We will be pushing the 1.1.1 patch for Destiny shortly. Players will be kicked from activities and required to download the patch. — Bungie Help (@BungieHelp) February 25, 2015 […]

  • Payday 2 packs based on Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number coming

    Starbreeze has announced another collaboration with Dennaton Games which will see masks based on Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number appear in Payday 2. The collaboration consists of two free updates when you acquire Hotline Miami 2 or its deluxe version on Steam from February 25. The two updates, called Hotline Miami Mask Pack and Jacket […]

  • Velocity 2X making its way onto Linux, Mac, PC and Xbox One

    Velocity 2X will be released on Linux, Mac, PC and Xbox One Futurlab has announced. The developer is in charge of the port, which will be published by Sierra. According to Futurlab, the deal with Sierra came about when self-publishing proved to be difficult due to spending “more time doing PR and marketing on Velocity […]

  • Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number finally has a release date

    A release date for Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number has been announced, finally. The game will arrive on Linux, Mac, PC, PlayStation 3, PS4 and Vita March 10. It is now available for pre-order on GOG, Humble and Steam for 10% off for $13.49/£10.99. There’s also a Digital Special Edition available which includes tracks from […]