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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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    Deception 4: The Nightmare Princess will debut on western PlayStation 4 systems this summer, Koei Tecmo has announced. It is also coming to PS3 and Vita. The game was produced by Keisuke Kikuchi of Fatal Frame fame and takes up where Deception 4: Blood Ties left off allowing players to relive Laegrinna’s pursuit to free […]

  • Nintendo US eShop update: Puzzle & Dragons Super Mario demo, Paper Mario, more

    Nintendo has updated the North American end of the eShop with a demo of Puzzle & Dragons Super Mario Bros. Edition, Paper Mario on Virtual Console, and amiibo Tap. The full update is below. eShop update amiibo Tap – free – Wii U Star Wars Pinball DLC – Wii U Paper Mario – Wii U […]

  • Deus Ex: Mankind Divided PC port handed off to Nixxes

    The PC port of the new Deus Ex has been handed over to Netherlands based studio, Nixxes software. After the initial reveal trailer at the beginning of April, we’ve only had a few morsels in the way of additional news. The most intriguing tidbit to date has got to be the fact that you’ll be […]

  • First-ever PC Gaming Show to take place at E3 2015 in June

    PC gaming will finally have its very own E3 press conference this year, thanks to PC Gamer and AMD. The PC Gaming Show will take place on June 16 at the Belasco Theater in Los Angeles and it will be livestreamed on Twitch. PC Gamer said speakers at the presentation will include representatives from Blizzard, […]

  • Majora’s Mask light available now on Club Nintendo for 6000 stars

    Club Nintendo shuts up shop on September 30 and members are being encouraged to spend accumulated stars before then. And what better to spend them on, than this adorable Majora’s Mask light? If you’re a member based in Europe you can nab it for 6000 stars. If you’re in Australia or New Zealand, it’ll only […]

  • Unity support announced for HoloLens, will work with Windows universal apps

    Microsoft is partnering with game engine developers Unity in order to make HoloLens compatible with apps and games which use the cross-platform engine. The partnership was announced yesterday during its Build Developer Conference. Universal apps for Windows 10 systems will also be available on Xbox One later this year, suggesting possible HoloLens functionality with the […]

  • Splatoon Nintendo Direct airs Thursday, May 7

    A Nintendo Direct focused on Splatoon, the Wii U multiplayer title, on May 7. It will kick off at 7am PDT/10am EDT/3pm UK and it can be watched via the Nintendo Direct website. You can also have a look at the game through Nintendo’s Twitch channel. The last game-specific presentation took place last week and […]

  • GTA 5 PC: clean up the streets as a member of the San Andreas PD with this new mod

    Remember the awesome mods for GTA 4 and San Andreas that let you run amok online as a member of the po-po? Well, dust off your taser and load up your gun, because it’s coming to GTA 5. The new mod for GTA 5 is currently in alpha and can be downloaded at palmbeachgames.com. You […]

  • Indie shoot ‘em up Project Root comes to Xbox One, PS4 and PSVita

    Project Root is a self-proclaimed rejig of the shoot ‘em up genre that was released on PC last year, and it’s finally coming to consoles. Combining free-roaming elements with the usual business of shooting things, Project Root was released this week for Xbox One, PS4 and the PSVita.

  • You can now bet on eSports online, starting with League of Legends

    If you’re getting bored with sticking a pony on the races, you can expand your gambling horizons at Unikrn where you can watch esports streams and get a little action on the side. The new platform was set up by Rahul Sood – previously the general manager of Microsoft Ventures. At the moment, customers are […]

  • Has Watch Dogs 2 been leaked?

    Ubisoft employee, Julien Risse, may have inadvertently confirmed Watch Dogs 2, thanks to his online CV over at LinkedIn. Videogamer.com spotted the slip up, in which Risse lists Watch Dogs, the DLC Bad Blood, and Watch Dogs 2 on his profile. Creative Director Jonathan Morin has already talked about his ideas for improvements for the […]

  • GTA 5′s Trevor makes his Jackass debut, complete with leopard-print knickers

    YouTuber Abstract Mode has shared his vision of what Trevor Philips’ life might have been like, had he not been completely batshit crazy. Watch Trevor get mauled, run over, and hit by a train, before taking a majestic swan-dive into someone else’s pool at the climax. Thanks, Kotaku.

  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 season pass will cost you £35

    Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 isn’t released until November 6, but you can already hand over your cash for the Season Pass. The Season Pass is available for pre-purchase on Steam for £34.99, and will cover four DLC packs – although the details we have on the content are limited to ‘exciting’ at this […]

  • GTA Online’s cheating assholes are no match for this player’s vengeance

    Think you’re smart for using invisibility and infinite ammo glitches? You need to be taught a lesson, sucker. You can have all the hacks you want but if your GTA Online game is weak, you’ll still get your ass handed to you. As this fool discovered when attempting to hassle another player. There’s a fair […]

  • PS4 sales help Sony’s games division swing to profit

    Sony’s PlayStation business has made an operating profit of 48.1 billion yen ($404m / £261.5m) in the past 12 months. That’s thanks to stellar sales of the PlayStation 4 and PS Plus, even as sales of the PS3 have stalled and the company wrote off costs for the PSTV and PS Vita. The profit puts […]

  • New patch for Dirt Rally gives co-driver’s attitude a tune-up

    Dirt Rally gets a new patch three days after release on Steam. On Monday, we reported that the newest Dirt game has popped up on Steam’s Early Access and is available to pick up for £24.99, as well as giving you an eyeful of tasty screenshots. The patch – released yesterday – fixes some issues […]

  • New The Witcher 3 screenshots show combat, exploration and general carousing

    New screenshots released on the official facebook page for The Witcher 3 show Geralt annihilating a winged beast, out and about in the world exploring, and living the life of Reily amidst a bustling feast. We were already treated to some glorious screenshots a few days ago, but these new ones are in-game and give […]

  • Destiny: 14 things you might have missed during House of Wolves intel drops

    Destiny: House of Wolves does a great deal more than just slap some new content on the existing game structure. House of Wolves changes Destiny in a lot of interesting and very welcome ways. Bungie showed off many of these changes in its livestream, and let both me and Arekkz come and have a look […]

  • Scratch that cyberpunk itch with Technobabylon on May 21 – new trailer

    Technobabylon more like Wrecked-yo-babbling with my smooth flow about how good Wadjet Eye games are. I don’t know y’all, it’s clock off time and everything feels like a reach. Wadjet Eye makes pretty good adventure games – award winning, in fact. The latest project to spring forth from the benevolent, sheltering hand of the label […]

  • Skullgirls 2nd Encore brings exclusive new features to PS4, Vita in northern summer

    Skullgirls, the little indie fighter that could, is getting another crack at it. Skullgirls 2nd Encore is the second re-release of the one-time troubled 2D versus fighter from lab Zero Games. Having survived the shut down of its developer and collapse of its publishing contrast, Skullgirls re-emerged as Skullgirls: Encore, adding in a ton of […]

  • Danganronpa series generates “impressive” sales for Vita exclusive

    Danganronpa is selling quite nicely, thank you, says NIS America. Danganronpa is a series of murder mystery visual novel puzzlers in a similar vein to games like 999. Two of these have been released for Vita in the west – Trigger Happy Havoc and Goodbye Despair. Speaking to MCV, NIS America CEO and president Takuro […]

  • I have no idea what is going on in J-Stars Victory VS+ but I kind of like it

    In this J-Stars Victory VS+ trailer, we see – uhh. Well. We certainly see some things. Look y’all, I was a massive weaboo in high school, but that was back in the dark ages when we had to take out Manga Entertainment VHS tapes from dingy little specialist rental joints that were literally underground, and […]

  • Please just watch this terrific trailer for Toren

    Toren is the kind of game I dream about when I drift off to sleep at night. This indie puzzle adventure strikes a spark in my little soul in the same way as Ico and Tequila Works’ Rime do. Mysterious, almost ethereal fantasy setting – check. Chance to actually walk around in that setting – […]

  • Play classic MS-DOS games on your own tweets

    In today’s episode of “what will they think of next”, someone’s figured out how to post playable versions of classic games in tweets. For some time now, Twitter has allowed you to embed various forms of media in tweets, most noticeably YouTube videos, simply by pasting a URL into the compose field. Turns out this […]

  • VR: Unreal Engine to add HTC Vive support

    The biggest digital PC game distributor and the most popular game development engine have both backed VR. It’s going to happen. An upcoming Unreal Engine 4 update will expand the development suite’s support to the HTC Vive, Valve’s VR headset. In this glorious new future where work on one of the most important engines in […]

  • WWE 2K15 PC supports modding

    WWE 2K15 may be the series’ PC debut, but it’s already getting into the spirit of the platform. WWE 2K15 does indeed support mods on PC, 2K’s Marcus Stephenson has confirmed. @ElementGamesTV you can. Now buy. — Marcus Stephenson (@stephensonmc) April 28, 2015 As Destructoid points out, this opens the door to all sorts of […]

  • Overkill’s The Walking Dead coming to PC, PS4 and Xbox One in 2016

    Overkill’s The Walking Dead is one step closer to your grasping little paws. Overkill’s The Walking Dead will be published by 505 Games, Overkill parent Starbreeze has announced. 505 also published Payday 2, Overkill’s previous title, so the two companies have established a working relationship. In a press release, the publisher said the co-op title […]

  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 pre-orders net Advanced Warfare DLC

    Buy Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 for later, enjoy bonus Advanced Warfare content now. Blacks Ops 3 is being supported by a rather cunning pre-order incentive even more likely to get you to lay your cash down sooner than you might otherwise. Gamespot reports a Black Ops 3 pre-order will receive a couple of […]

  • Steam Game Ban system lets developers determine who to block

    Steam users can now be blocked from individual games by their developers. Steam has always supported multiplayer bans for disruptive users, but a newly-implemented system allows developers to ban users from individual games using their own anti-cheat systems. Game Bans are enforced by Valve, but are enacted at the developer’s request and discretion. This change […]

  • Far Cry 4 devs matching Red Cross donations up to $100K to aid Nepal earthquake victims

    Far Cry 4 developer Ubisoft Montreal will match any pledges made to The Red Cross up to $100,000 to aid Nepal after the 7.8 earthquake struck the area in and around Kathmandu in Nepal. According to Ubisoft: “Having spent the last few years working on Far Cry 4, a game heavily inspired by Nepal and […]

  • Tales of Zestiria retail listing notes September release date, PS4 version

    Tales of Zestiria is coming west in northern autumn, and while it’s confirmed as a PlayStation 3 release, a Dutch retailer has it listed as coming to PS4 as well. Of course, listing it for PS4 could also be a typo, not that I would personally know about that sort of thing, really. However, according […]

  • Official mod tools for Total War: Attila are now available

    Official mod tools for Total War: Attila are now available and you can grab the new Assembly Kit as a beta through the tools menu via your Steam library. The Creative Assembly said the tools will be “immediately familiar” to modders of Rome 2 and Shogun 2, but the new version is the most “extensive” […]

  • How to get level 34 Ascended Raid gear in Destiny: House of Wolves

    Watch: two videos showing you how to get level 34 raid gear and a shopping list of what you need. One of the big changes that House of Wolves is bringing to Destiny is the chance to upgrade your weapons and gear to level 34. In these videos Arekkz Gaming shows you how to use […]

  • Destiny: House of Wolves puts PvP back in the spotlight

    Destiny PvP players, your time has come to shine. New Crucible maps. New Crucible rewards. And the glorious wonder of Elimination mode. Destiny: House of Wolves puts PvP front and centre. When Destiny was first detailed, one of the things Bungie stressed was that there’d be something for everyone. If you wanted to play solo […]

  • Destiny: Trials of Osiris – everything you need to know in one video

    The Destiny: House of Wolves embargo has lifted, and with so much information floating around pertaining to Trials of Osiris, it can be overwhelming. Thankfully, Arekkz Gaming tells you everything you need to know in one video. In the video above you will be informed of how the 3v3 Team Deathmatch event works, how you […]

  • Destiny: House of Wolves – watch a Trials of Osiris match from start to finish

    With the release of Destiny: House of Wolves looming, players will soon be able to participate in the new 3v3 Team Deathmatch event in The Crucible, Trials of Osiris. Below is a video featuring an uncut, complete match from start to finish. In the video, Arekkz Gaming gives you a breakdown of the mode and […]

  • Wolfenstein: The Old Blood – here’s what your PC needs in order to run it

    Wolfenstein: The Old Blood is out next week, and Bethesda has today released the PC specs for the standalone title. MachineGames has made some tweaks to the system requirements and have included both minimum and recommended specifications. Minimum OS: 64-bit Windows 7/Windows 8 Processor: Intel Core i5-2500 @ 3.3 GHz / AMD FX-8320 @ 3.5 […]

  • Destiny: Trials of Osiris – watch the livestream reveal right here

    Bungie will be showing off Destiny’s new 3v3 Team Deatmatch Trials of Osiris today, and you can watch the Twitch stream right here if you like. It kicks off at 11am PDT/2pm EDT and will feature community manager Deej and design leads Lars Bakken and Derek Carroll. More will be revealed on House of Wolves […]

  • May Xbox Games with Gold: Mafia 2, CastleStorm: Definitive Edition, F1 2013

    Microsoft has announced the free games Gold members will be able to pick up through Xbox Live. On Xbox One, Gold users can download CastleStorm: Definitive Edition for the month,and Pool Nation FX is being offered for an additional month. Starting May 1, Xbox 360 Gold members can download Mafia 2 through May 15, and […]