My thoughts on the Xbox pre-E3 press conference

I got up at 4am New Zealand time this morning to watch the Xbox 360 pre-show press conference so I’m a little tired at this point but this is what I got out of Xbox’s pre-show conference: lots of Kinect interaction, lots of cable sports content (most of which we probably won’t get in New Zealand), Halo 4 and Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. For this press conference, Xbox seemed to be all about content for an entertainment experience.

I’ve also embedded the video I did with Glenn “Wammo” Williams this morning about my thoughts.

I was right in predicting that there wouldn’t be a reveal or announcement of a new console but probably the highlight of the press conference was – and this sounds really weird – was the appearance of Matt Stone and Trey Parker, the creators of SouthPark, who were talking about the new game Southpark: The Stick of Truth. These guys aren’t even making the game and they were the most exciting thing about the presser: they were natural, unscripted and funny.

The event, held at the Galen Centre in Los Angeles, opened with a demo of Halo 4 and it was pretty neat to see what 343 Industries has done with the Master Chief and Halo. I’m not a rabid Halo fan but I’m actually interested to see where Halo 4 takes us.

Next we had Splinter Cell: Blacklist – the return of Sam Fisher from the Splinter Cell games – and that had some interesting moments, especially showing you being able to use Kinect voice to distract an enemy.

EA came on and talked about voice commands using Kinect in Fifa 13 and Madden NFL 13 – it even bought out fabled NFL quarterback Joe Montana to look like he was having a good time playing it; We had an oh-so-brief trailer for Gears of War: Judgement which revealed nothing at all about game play; then focussed on Kinect functionality and how the Xbox 360 was going to give us all the entertainment we wanted.

NBA is coming to Xbox sometime – but we won’t be getting it in New Zealand. I daren’t tell Master Game Junkie that: he’s a basketball nut and is still getting over the fact that the LA Lakers didn’t make it to the playoffs. 

Xbox announced Smart Glass, which actually sounded pretty cool, a free app that offers additional information over a variety of smart phones and tablets, including iOS and Android, when watching TV or playing games.

Applications shown off included using a second screen to offer more information about movies being shown on Xbox and to access multiplayer match details while in Halo.

Internet Explorer is also coming to the Xbox 360 and using Smart Glass you’ll be able to browse IE using a smart phone or a tablet. “It turns any TV into a smart TV,” said Xbox Live’s Marc Whitten.

We had more games: the new Tomb Raider game shows a much more brutal Lara than we’ve seen before – she stabs a guy in the throat after wounding him with a shotgun blast; Resident Evil 6, which features more zombies; Ascends New Gods which seemed to show fighting big dudes; Lococycle (from developer Twisted Pixel) which featured a strange trailer that showed what looked like a futuristic motorcycle – “She was the first cadet to break the four minute mile: by three minutes and forty seconds”; and Matter, a Kinect game that looked like it featured one of the cores from Portal 2.

There’s also going to be a lot of DLC that will come out on Xbox 360 first, apparently.

Matt Stone and Trey Parker were genuine highlights in an average Xbox’s pre-show presser and Usher appeared on stage to perform his new track “Scream” in Dance Central 3 – about which time my internet connection started chugging (I tried to initially start watching it using the Xbox Live event app, but my console refused to connect to the internet just as the event started).

Then the event closed with a demo of Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. The jury’s still out on this game for me, at the moment.

So, how did you think Microsoft did at it’s pre-show press conference? Did it impress you or were you left a little underwhelmed? Personally, I was left a little underwhelmed to be honest.

Sony’s pre-show press event is about 1pm NZ time today, with Nintendo’s tomorrow morning. I’ll post my thoughts on both when I can.

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