Microsofts Press Conference
June 1, 2009
By Dakota Grabowski
Microsoft strives to create a true, all-in-one, entertainment console.
Trying to stay trendy and hip, Microsoft has decided that it will no longer hold back any more punches from the competition. Featuring a robust amount of upcoming software and ever-evolving technology for the Xbox 360, Microsoft has upped the ante for their competitors with the lavish showcase they presented at their E3 2009 press conference.
Progression of next-generation gaming?
In attempts to create a more immersive experience for their gamers, Microsoft is in full stride to supply a bright future for video games with full body motion capturing in Project Natal. Allowing for facial recognition, voice recognition and the ability to scan in your own personal items into video games, Project Natal has been in the hands of key developers and people within the industry over the past few months including Steven Spielberg.
On the subject of Project Natal, Spielberg said, “It’s not about reinventing the wheel; it’s about no wheel at all.” Very fitting for Microsoft’s attempt to put a new image on their Xbox 360 console with removing the game controller and allowing for a new way to control your Xbox 360 dashboard – just a wave of the hand to move up and down or left and right – along with having your avatars mimic your every move. As Spielberg describes, “The only way to bring interactive entertainment to everyone is to make the technology invisible.”
Along with Project Natal, Microsoft revealed that Peter Molyneux, creator of Fable II, has been working with the technology behind Project Natal for several months and has created an experience that could potentially have gamers in awe.
Allowing gamers to interact with an artificial intelligence by the name of Milo, a demonstration was shown on how Natal could be used with the video game medium. Having an incredibly smart artificial intelligence such as Milo, players are able to carry on conversations with the AI as if it was their own best friend. This may very well be Microsoft’s best attempt at halting the movement to the next-generation of consoles past the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii.
Software shines with Hideo Kojima’s Metal Gear Solid Rising and Crackdown 2.
Starting off the press conference with Electronic Art’s The Beatles: Rock Band, the conference took a turn towards promising exclusive content that can only be experienced on the Xbox 360. With The Beatles: Rock Band, players worldwide will exclusively be able to play “All You Need Is Love” on Xbox Live. Microsoft made sure the press took notice as Olivia Harrison, – the widow of George Harrison – Yoko Ono, Paul McCartney, and Ringo Starr were on stage to show their appreciation for the title.
Another huge addition to Microsoft’s exclusivity campaign is the limited exclusivity of Activision’s Modern Warfare 2 download packs that will arrive on Xbox Live before any other service. Presenting the first look at an environment with a snowy terrain, Modern Warfare 2 impressed its audience with countless snowmobiles attacking the protagonist and the protagonist eventually taking the driver’s seat of a snowmobile. Launching November 10, Modern Warfare 2 is looking to be the definitive Xbox Live experience this holiday season.
Never one to let down its hardcore fans, Microsoft also took the time to announce that the ever-popular Crackdown 2 will be hitting the Xbox 360 along with Left 4 Dead 2, Metal Gear Solid Rising, Halo: Reach. Only videos were shown for the titles, but all of them looked visually impressive. Halo: Reach is set to debut on the Xbox 360 in autumn 2010 with a multiplayer beta attached to the full retail release of Halo 3: ODST. Left 4 Dead 2 will make its appearance on store shelves on November 17. No official release dates were mentioned for Metal Gear Solid Rising and Crackdown 2.
Finally reappearing after a long hiatus, Sam Fisher is set to take the video game world by storm in Splinter Cell Conviction. Looking for answers and the truth, Fisher has changed a lot since the last time we saw footage of the title. Worn down and desperate to accomplish his personal mission for retribution, Fisher is now the ultimate predator who will go to extreme measures to accomplish his revenge. Exclusive to the Xbox 360, it’s set to release this autumn.
Next up, Forza Motorsport 3 made a huge impact at the press conference with details from Dan Greenwalt, the game director, that there’ll be 400 cars from 60 manufacturers, the ability to drive with one button, 60 FPS for the framerate, the ability to create and upload hi-def video on Xbox Live with the new Video Editor and that the Xbox Live features are being expanded to allow for even more online trading. Forza Motorsport 3 will land in stores in October of 2009.
If Microsoft has one constant for their E3 presentations, it would be their Halo franchise. This year Creative Director Joe Staten took center stage to debut new in-game footage of The Rookie, the protagonist of the story, as he walks about the occupied city center of New Mombasa trying to uncover the mysteries of the city that happened directly prior to the events of Halo 3. With all a new HUD, the return of the pistol from Halo: Combat Evolved, two new sound suppressed weapons, and the ability to use a visor that identifies enemies and important objectives, Halo 3: ODST is gearing up to be one a thrilling title for its fans when it launches September 22.
Alan Wake decided to come out of his slumber and make his first real appearance at E3. With all in-game footage shown, Microsoft and Remedy are ready to blow the lid off on one of the most visually impressive titles this generation. In effort to search for his missing wife, Alan Wake must overcome a horrifying dark presence that pits players in a supernatural thriller that can only be experienced on the Xbox 360. From the game demonstration, objects would instantaneously fly towards Alan as he waded through the dark with his shotgun and flashlight looking for his friend Rusty, the only person who has a manuscript of his book that is becoming a reality. Targeted for a Spring 2010 release, Alan Wake is sure to set fans of mystery titles on fire.
Outside of those major announcements, the Microsoft press conference featured the software of two exclusive Xbox Live Arcade titles, – Shadow Complex developed by Epic Games and Joy Ride created by newly acquired Big Park Studio – Square-Enix’s Final Fantasy XIII and Activision’s Tony Hawk Ride.
The action doesn’t stop there – Microsoft partners up with last.fm, SkyTV, Facebook and Twitter
If you thought last year’s announcement of Netflix was huge for the Xbox 360, then you’ll be in shock to hear that Microsoft has produced exclusive partnerships with last.fm, Facebook, Twitter, SkyTV, and are reworking Netflix into the Xbox 360. Providing music to the Xbox 360, last.fm is being tailored made for the living room that will be free to Xbox Live gold members. SkyTV is jumping on board to provide movies and television to gamers in the UK and Ireland. In addition, there’ll be Live TV for gamers who enjoy club soccer games to watch streaming live through their Xbox 360. Facebook and Twitter are joining Xbox Live to allow friends and family to stay connected to one another without ever having to leave their Xbox 360. As for Netflix, gamers will now have the ability to manage their queue straight through their Xbox 360 without ever having to jump on a PC again. Movies and television shows will be broken down by genre and will effortlessly be streamed to their Xbox 360’s at a press of a button.
Lastly, Microsoft is upgrading their HD library to 1080p HD – along with the fact that all of the library will now be instantly streamed to the console with no downloads or delays – and are finally providing gamers the chance to share movies, music, and television through the Xbox Live party system with their friends.
All in all, Microsoft put on a record-setting show with exclusive software, challenging new software for the future, and improving the entire Xbox Live experience from the ground up with new partnerships.