E3 2012: The Microsoft Press Conference

Today is the first day of E3! Our press pass was denied for some inexplicable reason, so I wasn't able to attend this year. I'm not sure how to report about E3 this year, so I decided to ask Paul Fran

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Xbox-Smart-GlassToday is the first day of E3! Our press pass was denied for some inexplicable reason, so I wasn’t able to attend this year. I’m not sure how to report about E3 this year, so I decided to ask Paul Franzen, GameCola’s Editor-in-Chief, for some advice.

Michael: Paul, where do I get my E3 news from?
Paul: Anywhere! As long as you don’t get it from Spike TV! Ha ha!

Naturally, the first thing I did after that was turn on Spike TV. They’re busy showing 50-hour marathons of CSI right now, but they did manage to squeeze in a live E3 special, leading into the Microsoft Press Conference. This aired at 9:00 AM on Day One, otherwise known as “before anything interesting has happened.” So let’s see what interesting news they came up with!

spike_logoBy “action,” they mean “advertising.”

  • Before the official event, Nintendo unveiled the specs of the Wii U! The reporters don’t talk about what the specs are; they just say that the specs have been revealed.

  • Rumor Alert: The PlayStation Plus program is being revamped! They will now have cloud saves and Vita integration and a new store.

  • The Twitter Patrol comes in! They read two tweets from reporters, rather than showing actual reporters. One of the reporters is upset, because he’s having a bad hair day. This was definitely worth having a separate segment.

  • There is a ten-minute interview with Kevin Smith, who wants to show off his new TV series. This has nothing to do with videogames at all.

  • There were previews for Transformers: Fall of Cybertron and Tekken Tag Tournament 2.

  • My family members came in the room and made fun of me for watching this show.

  • There was an interview with a panel from Microsoft. At least, they called it an interview; they only asked one question per person. Does it still count as an interview when you only ask one question?

  • The Xbox Live Arcade guy talks about their best-selling games, Minecraft and Castle Crashers. He shows previews of new games, such as Hybrid and Wreckateer (AKA Angry Birds Kinect).

wreckateer610

With that fascinating pre-show out of the way, the Microsoft Press Conference officially began.

  • They started off strong, with a trailer for Halo 4. Knowing nothing about the Halo series, I can confidently say that it looks like Metroid Prime. After that, there was a preview for Splinter Cell, in which our hero snuck around an army camp and presumably got splinters.

  • EA Sports showed off two games: FIFA 13 and Madden 13. The British man did a fine job of showing off the soccer game, but the presentation for Madden 13 was less impressive. They brought Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana onstage to show off the game, and the British man accidentally called him “John” three times. Pro Tip, EA: Next time you hire a celebrity guest star, get their name right.

  • They followed up with three trailers, for Fable: The Journey, Gears of War and some car racing game.

  • About twenty minutes into the Microsoft Press Conference, the conference actually started for real. Someone from Microsoft came onstage to talk about the Xbox’s amazing entertainment library for movies and TV shows. The already-popular voice-controlled service is being upgraded, and now, you will be able to search for movies by genre. WOAH! I, for one, was flabbergasted at this new development.

  • You can expect to see this service launch in twelve new countries, later this year. The presenter took two minutes to show what the Mexican version of the service looks like. In reality, he wasn’t showing off the system; he was showing off his mad Spanish speaking skills. It was, no joke, a highlight of the presentation, and he got a round of applause for it.

  • But wait, there’s more! There are thirty-five new entertainment providers that are joining up with Xbox. These include Nickelodeon, Paramount, Machinima and the presenter’s personal favorite, the Spanish telenovela station.

spongebob1

  • How many times have you been playing Xbox, and said to yourself, “Gee, I wish I could watch Spongebob Squarepants right now, but I don’t want to go through the hassle of changing the channel on the TV”? Now, you don’t have to worry! Just watch it on your Xbox!

  • The TV entertainment selection is being wexpanded┬áith more sports! All the ESPN channels are coming to Xbox, along with the NBA and NHL channels.

  • They’re launching a new music service called Xbox Music. It lets you listen to music, get song recommendations, and see what your friends are listening to. They didn’t mention whether or not this is a paid service, but I’m guessing it is.

  • Microsoft is teaming up with Nike to bring you Wii Fit, for the Kinect. They call it Nike Plus Kinect Training. Their deep understanding of athletes, combined with the Kinect’s capabilities, will help you get back into shape.

  • Finally, they showed off a brand-new product, called Xbox Smart Glass. This will connect your Xbox to your tablet or smartphone. The first demonstration is of someone watching a movie on their tablet. They can instantly start watching the same movie on a TV. Not only does the TV pick up at the same spot where the tablet paused, but the tablet automatically displays credits and info about the movie.

  • The next demonstration used the Xbox Smart Glass to watch TV. There was a map on the tablet screen, and whenever the people on the show changed locations, the map automatically updated. The idea is that there are up-to-the-second changes on the tablet, depending on what’s on TV.

  • The third and final demonstration of Xbox Smart Glass involved using your phone as a controller. This led into the next presentation, which is Internet Explorer, for the Xbox. Most TVs are bad when it comes to letting you browse the Internet, and the Xbox is fixing that problem. Their new Internet browser works with tablets, smartphones, voice control and Windows 8.

Xbox-Smart-Glass

  • After that, six companies were given six minutes each, in order to show off their latest games.

  • First, there was Tomb Raider, which is “being taken in a new and mature direction.” I think that’s code for “let’s see how much horrible stuff we can put Lara Croft through.” First, villains open fire on her, and she almost dies in an explosion. Then, she falls into a river a hundred feet below. The swift river current takes her right to a waterfall, and she falls off after smashing into the side of a plane. While falling to her death, Lara uses a parachute to save herself. The first parachute breaks instantly, while the second one breaks slowly. She smashes into about five trees, while trying to control the parachute. At the end, she falls down a thirty-foot tree and lands on the ground, where she is presumably attacked by wolves.

  • There was a preview for a game I should know.

  • Capcom showed off Resident Evil 6, and the South Park people came on to show off their new game. Harmonix showed off Dance Central 3, but instead of showing footage of the game, they had Usher come onstage and do a live performance. I couldn’t catch the lyrics, but I think he was singing about food.

  • At the end, a Microsoft person came onstage and recapped everything about the Smart Glass and their entertainment programs. He finished things up with footage from Call of Duty: Black Ops 2.

Well, that was it for the Microsoft Press Conference! It seems like Microsoft is taking the focus off of videogames and putting the focus on entertainment and connecting various entertainment devices. Can Sony and Nintendo compete with Microsoft’s strong showing? Stay tuned to GameCola for more E3 coverage!

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About the Contributor


From 2007 to 2016

Michael Gray is a staff writer for GameCola, who focuses on adventure games, videos and writing videogame walkthroughs.

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