E3 Microsoft Press Conference Thoughts

I've always wanted to go to E3, but since I'm not a professional game journalist I'll have to make do with blogs and livestreams of events as they happen this week.  I spent the morning watching the Microsoft press conference online and was impressed with the Natal which is now called the Kinect.

The cameras see everything... everything.

Control over my console without a controller?  Yes, please.  I hope the voice command pause/play works for all types of media and not just when in the Zune store.  I stream videos stored on my PC hard drive to my 360 almost every day.  If I can control those with my voice or hand motions I'll be very happy.  If the functionality is confined to only a few applications within the 360 I'll be sorely disappointed.  Time will tell.

Video chatting via Xbox is pretty cool.  The camera automatically following me as I move around the room is pretty creepy.  So there's some balance I guess.

They kicked off the press conference with demos of Call of Duty: Black Ops, Halo Reach, and Gears of War 3.  They weren't that impressive because they are all sequels to games I've played before.  I already know I'll buy Gears of War 3 and Halo Reach.  I don't really need to know more about them.  There was already a ton of information on all three games, so that wasn't the big story today. 

The demo for Call of Duty: Black Ops basically ensured I'm never buying the game.  It looked extremely derivative.  It's like they were trying to harness what people liked about Modern Warfare 2 but they ended up with an empty shell of a game.  I've hated every Call of Duty that Treyarch has made and it doesn't look like that trend is going to end.  Unfortunately a lot of the key staff at Infinity Ward has abandoned ship and they might not have the talent to make another Call of Duty either.  The Call of Duty series may be dead.

The reveals that really grabbed my attention were the Kinect games.  Playing video games without a controller has been a dream of every gamer at one time or another.  Finally the technology has arrived. 

There were many titles that are basically Wii games without a controller.  There was the work out game, the kart racing game, and the mini-game game.  They might be interesting.  I'll file them under wait and see.

The game that stuck in my mind the most was the Kinectimals game.  It consists entirely of playing with a virtual pet but it looked like a blast.  I want a baby tiger that responds to my voice!  I can play games with him?  Sweet!  I'm in.  Apparently it's going to have 40 animals to choose from.  It was the least "gamey" game but it looked so organic and interactive that I can't help but be excited.

In a music genre growing stale Dance Central might be just what's needed.  Points are awarded based on actual dance moves.  It takes the ideas of Dance Dance Revolution to a whole new level.  No more dance pads.  Instead, you use your whole body to dance.  I'm a white boy with no rhythm but I'm still going to give this one a shot.  It has potential.  Potential to make my wife roll on the floor laughing while I attempt to dance at the very least.  That makes it worth looking into.

A lightsaber game? Sold!  I'm a huge Star Wars fan and have imagined wielding a lightsaber more times then I will admit.  The thought of playing with a virtual lightsaber by swinging my hands around is awesome.

Here is the current list of Kinect launch games via Joystiq.

Microsoft announced a new Xbox 360 model and is shipping it to stores right now.  That's amazing from a marketing standpoint.  They are riding the hype created by E3 and releasing the console in the same week.  It's genius!  Bravo Microsoft.  But, if I get out of marketing mode for a minute and just think about it as a gamer I realize that I don't really care.  I own a 360 and I'm not going to dish out a couple hundred bucks just for built in Wifi.  That would be stupid.  If it inspires people to pick up a 360 for the first time then great, but for the rest of us who own one already it doesn't matter at all.

 It has Wifi built in and it looks squished.  I guess that's a feature.

ESPN on the 360 was a shock.  My first reaction was exactly the same as Tycho: 

"Hey! Microsoft! I don't give a fuck about sports! I play videogames! That's why I bought your console!"

But then I realized it's actually a good thing.  It means that television networks are more willing to distribute content through internet channels.  What if they had announced a different channel streaming through the 360?  Something like Comedy Central.  I - for one - would be thrilled.  The more we can move away from traditional cable TV subscriptions the better off we are.  This is the first step in getting television channels through our consoles and it's a good thing even though I don't care about sports.

It looks like a ton of Xbox 360 news today.  Kinect information was what I wanted the most out of this year's E3.  I'll probably watch the PS3 and Nintendo press conferences as well, but I'm not as excited for them.  So far it's shaping up to be an interesting year for gaming.


  1. I would laugh at you. More like with you, then I would teach you how to properly dance like a white boy.

  2. As long as you're amused I'm happy.


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