So, looks like Microsoft got its chance to show and tell on the first day of E3.
What is this I hear? What is E3? Well, E3 stands for Electronics Entertainment Expo. It's an event held every year (usually in Los Angeles). They typically show some of the coolest software and hardware that have yet to be released. E3 usually features video games more than anything else.
June 1st was the first day of the conferences between Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony. Microsoft paid top dollar to show theirs yesterday. Today will exhibit both Nintendo and Sony.
Microsoft began their conference by dedicating 15 minutes to Rockband: The Beatles. My opinion on this move is that Microsoft (more-so EA) made a terrible mistake with this game. Heck, you could tell simply by listening to the silent dead cheers of the crowd when they showcased so much time to it.
1) Most of the video game market caters to 16 year olds all the way up to 30 year olds. The bulk of their market is said to be between teenagers and those in their twenties. So, with that said, what makes them think that people who weren't even alive during The Beatles' career would be interested in this game? Why dedicate so much time to feature this game? I don't know about you, but playing a game featuring music from the 50s and 60s seems rather boring to me. Sure, some people might like it, but the majority won't.
2) They dedicate a large portion of the segment to showing trailers and people singing/playing the game. However, there's really not much different about it. Rockband 1 and 2 had similar play mechanics. The only difference is the music. What's so exciting about that?
Ok, and then after that bore fest came something a little more interesting. Tony Hawk. Of course, in between him making an appearance and Rockband, the Corporate Vice President of the Xbox 360 division came out and pointed out that their showing wasn't going to suck as much as Nintendo's showing did last year. Ouch!
Anyway, Tony Hawk starts to move his lips about his game. Suddenly he said something that sounded much like corporate babble. He held a skateboard controller and said, "I've always wanted to do this, but the technology just wasn't there yet."
Tony, are you reading a teleprompter or do you really mean that?? Your skateboard's technology has been around for awhile. Even if you didn't have the means to build your controller, a similar technology for the Wii is already out. It's been out for about a year and a half now.
Whatever. After that, they've shown clips of Modern Warfare 2. Looks interesting, but cannot say anything beyond that. I will say that the snowmobile portion of the game looked pretty fun.
Final Fantasy 13 and the henchmen behind it came along. A girl (Appears to have been maybe 19 or 20) worked as the translator for these guys. What made it annoying was they had to keep taking breaks for her to translate. When Shigeru Miyamoto has his conferences translated, the translator talks while he is talking so there are no breaks. That way, the speech is much more streamlined and less annoying. Why couldn't they do that? I dunno. Just a pet peeve of mine.
Other than that, they didn't really reveal anything new about Final Fantasy 13 except for summons. However, the summon monster was so freaking strong, that it destroyed the first boss without much of a fight. So, no one could really see what the thing was really capable of.
After this came the exclusives! w00t!
They showed another game similar to Metroid and Castlevania. Well, it seemed a lot more like Metroid than Castlevania, but whatever. The game plays exactly like Metroid, except its buggier. Well, sure. The game is still being worked on. Would it be a system seller? Who knows?
After that came Joyride. Seemed like a Mario Kart Wii clone to me; right down to the Miis/Avatars. Well, it's free, so I can't complain. Free outside of the extras you would need to purchase.
After that, Crackdown 2 was revealed. After that, Left 4 Dead 2 (wasn't Left 4 Dead released last year? Geez!). Then Splinter Cell Conviction. I will have to admit, Splinter Cell looked pretty sweet. Same with Forza 3 they announce directly after. I wanted to see more levels, but I guess they just weren't having that.
Halo 3 ODST was also shown. Looks like any ordinary Halo game to me (with perhaps a deeper story). I dunno. We'll see what happens with this game.
Then ANOTHER Halo game. Halo Reach. Geez, why so many Halo games, Microsoft?
Alan Wake looked pretty interesting. Seemed to have been a survival horror.
Microsoft announced Last.fm, Netflix and Sky. I dunno if Sky will be available here in the States, but from my understanding, it seems as though Microsoft is attempting to compete against Nintendo's TV service before it hits here. I suppose that could be a good move! However, it really depends on what Nintendo plans to do with its TV services.
Facebook was announced on X360. Why? Is this Microsoft's way of communicating to the casual gamer? I don't think services like this will take off. I will admit the girl (with a slight lisp) was pretty funny, but that's me.
Twitter too? Once again, why??
Hideo Kojima shows up and announces Metal Gear Solid: Rising. This is something we've already heard something about, but it appears to be a new Metal Gear Solid using Raiden from Metal Gear Solid 4.
Then here comes the biggest announcement yet...
Microsoft's motion... umm... Camera? Yeah, that's right. A motion camera. They show a very Nintendo like commercial of a family playing X360 doing motion stuff in front of a screen. Needless to say, I wasn't convinced by it. I needed to see something up front and real. Anyway, Steven Spielberg pops up and says, "Oh yeah! This is cool, everybody!" and then leaves. Seriously, what was the point in having him at the show?
Project Natal, Microsoft's version of Sony's Eye Toy, looks promising. However, it doesn't seem like it'll work all too well. For one, the people presenting Natal are wearing gray. I guess so the camera can contrast them over the background (green). The people on the fake video shown were wearing all sorts of colors. Why couldn't the presenters? Another thing, they had to make over blown movements. What about subtle movements? The whole point of the Wii was to detect subtle movements. If Natal can't detect that, then it's completely useless. Heck, what about low light settings? Most gamers (like me), like to play their games in pitch black darkness. Can it detect me in the dark? Somehow I don't think it can. To be honest, I think Natal is a hoax, but we'll see.
The last thing on the presentation was some stupid AI. It was obviously scripted. Oh well...
Overall, it felt that Microsoft wanted to compete against Nintendo extended audience during that conference. I dunno. There's gonna be a lot of action later today!