E3 2011: Microsoft Press Conference Report Card

Any surprises? Any mistakes? Find out how Microsoft fared at its pre-E3 2011 press conference.

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E3 has yet to officially begin, but Microsoft has already completed its E3 2011 press conference, and if there was any distinct theme to glean from the entire presentation, it was this: Microsoft is serious about the Kinect. With the exception of new demos for previously announced games (Modern Warfare 3, Tomb Raider, Halo Anniversary, and Gears of War 3), nearly every game highlighted at the press conference pushed its Kinect functionality into the spotlight--even games that weren't actually demoed at this year's conference.

EA Sports president Peter Moore kicked things off by announcing that Madden, FIFA, Tiger Woods, and an additional (yet to be named) EA Sports game will all feature Kinect functionality. He also stated that other EA games, such as Sims Pets and Hasbro Game Night, will carry support for Microsoft's motion control system. None of the aforementioned games were shown at the conference.

Things picked up when Dr. Ray Muzyka took to the stage to show off a demo of Mass Effect 3 for the Xbox 360 and its Kinect features. Players will be able to speak the lines shown in the dialogue trees to select them as opposed to just using the analog stick. Moreover, squad commands are issued via the Kinect's built-in microphone, so players can tell teammates to move or perform specific attacks during firefights. Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot then took to the stage to show off a quick trailer and Kinect support for his company's upcoming third-person shooter, Ghost Recon: Future Soldier. The game features a weapon customization option where players can speak to assemble specific types of weapons or use hand gestures to sort through parts.

It didn't stop there. Forza 4, a version of Minecraft for the Xbox 360, Kinect Star Wars, Fable: The Journey, Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster, Kinect Fun Labs, Kinect Disneyland Adventures, Kinect Sports: Season 2, and Dance Central 2--they all feature Kinect support in a big way, and this list doesn't even take into account new dashboard functionality or the individual minigames found within Kinect Fun Labs.

It's a lot of Kinect, and it's obviously a direct response to a distinct lack of support and planning for the device in the early months of its life. It's clear Microsoft wants a piece of the casual pie baked by Nintendo and the Wii, and it's going out of its way to get it. But where the Wii threw most of its eggs into one casual basket, neglecting much of the core audience in the process, the Xbox 360 is not. Getting games like Mass Effect 3 and every future Tom Clancy game to support the Kinect is huge because it simultaneously gives the core audience what it wants while giving Kinect owners what they want. Of course, the Kinect-only games are a different story. Microsoft is leveraging huge brands to draw attention to them, and it doesn't really get any bigger than Disney or Star Wars.

But was it all too much? The problem with the press conference is that some of the Kinect features in the core games are just predictable (rail shooters) or they're an obvious extension (voice commands) of what the Kinect is capable of doing. There were no surprises. There was nothing to make us stand up and say, "That's the reason to own a Kinect or to buy one if you haven't already." There was nothing that showed us what the Kinect is capable of beyond what we've already seen, and that's disappointing. And the Kinect-only game segments (complete with child actors) were the usual saccharine affairs with child actors performing their best exuberant impersonations.

The Microsoft press conference started with a bang. Modern Warfare 3 is obviously a huge game, and Tomb Raider looks great, but ultimately, the focus on the Kinect made the Xbox 360 seem like a one-note platform, overshadowing these games as well as additional announcements for YouTube, UFC content, and a new Xbox dashboard. Even the excellent Halo 4 trailer at the end of the presentation left us wondering what that game's inevitable Kinect support will be like.

It wasn't as bad as some of E3's more infamous press conferences of years past, but Microsoft's press conference gave us nothing memorable, so which is worse?

Watch Microsoft's E3 2011 press conference

Discussion

309 comments
Spartan765
Spartan765

too much kinect people!!!!!!!!!!!

flyinknee91
flyinknee91

How long does Microsoft think it can keep people's attention, by putting out a Halo game every three years?

Stryke19
Stryke19

F - Nothing good came out of the conference. Well, except for a cliffhanger-esque trailer of Halo 4 - Like '10, Microsoft was mostly dedicated on showing how "awesome their Kinect is". Please, I actually find it laughable.

Hig1134
Hig1134

C for crap. Milk the old halo. I'm glad I have other systems so I don't have to just play Halo for the rest of my life. Poor Xbots. Hey, MS, why not come out with something new? They should change kinects name to "rails camera" LOL.

txgamerwavg
txgamerwavg

I give it C- because they suck and the hate the kinect it a waste of $$$$$$!!!! The voice command? no no no no No NO NOOOO!!!!! I don't want it a voice command I just use a control easy it work. I give a credit for a demos and the Halo 4 for it.

steelmouth
steelmouth

Yah thats a C from me too, eff kinect its a lil too much and that ant funny no more

ElFlechero
ElFlechero

@kill100577 the problem is that from that list, only fable, forza and gears are xbox exclusives. Not that exciting if you compare it.

LOWJ000
LOWJ000

Can't Say I'm totally disappointed by MS, but not thrilled either. The Halo 4 trailer really got me pumped up so did the Halo CE HD Remake & Gears 3 stuff. My problem is a lack of 1st party games and it's not as if MS doesn't have any franchises it could resurrect. Why the hell did they buy Rare and it's catalog??? They released a Perfect Dark @ launch (which imo was mediocre because it was rushed) and despite good sales of the arcade hd remake they don't think continuing the series??? What about Conker or Banjo or even maybe Killer Instinct (duno if the rights were for Nintendo though).... What about the Alan Wake new game or some new franchises??? They are becoming way too one note with the Halo/Gears combo with Fable/Forza supporting cast

KrazzyDJ
KrazzyDJ

Anyone not remotely interested in Kinect could have given this entire press conference a skip !!!

masterchief46
masterchief46

I thought microsoft had the best one showing halo ce remastered and halo 4 were the best things coming and a nice intregration with windows 8 with the new xbox experience

kill100577
kill100577

Imagine If none of the games Microsoft announced had any Kinect features in it, everyone would be raving about MW3, ME3, Fable, Tom Clancy, Halo 4 and the Anniversary remake, Gears of War 3, Forza 4 Tomb Raider and Minecraft. However because they have an OPTIONAL Kinect functionality it instantly makes it crap. I don't get why this is. The Microsoft press confrence announced lots of good games, whats the issue

Tremblay343
Tremblay343

@nick_manthe Bungie has nothing to do with halo anymore. They're off on their own now making a new game. A company called 343 industries is doing all the halo stuff now. They started with all those reach map packs. But I agree, the series is being milked now.

cdr_Ikari
cdr_Ikari

MS gets C and Nintendo gets A-?...... what the hell kinda curve are they marking this on.

DitchyJ
DitchyJ

Whilst i wasnt overly impressed with MS E3, i did like some aspects of it. Im glad I have a Xbox and PS3 because the exclusives and stuff that do interest me I get to enjoy. Anyone who bangs on there chest saying there console is the best ect ect needs to stand in the corner and have a word with themselves. Cant wait to play BF3, Cod, TR, UC3, GW3, Halo4, Recon and more :)

Raxyman
Raxyman

@theJBlounge At least that i'll have to admit, Nintendo and Sony did announced more interesting things, and even though i thought Wii U as stupid and gimmmick as the 3ds, it was a better announcement that a few games. I support the Kinect, it's the biggest innovation in how you play, but unfortunately the game producers aren't, and being so makes us have very few games that are to be called awesome... IMO Even though "acceptable" MS could've done way better I didn't expected anything more from Nintendo And Sony sold me with Vita, i'm sure to buy one

Gray_Raven
Gray_Raven

They overdid it with talks about Kinect. I started watching the conference when it was about halfway trough and I think it deserved "C". Sure, the idea of Star Wars on Kinect is nice, as well as few others, but there should be something else to talk about beside Kinect. An hour and a half of talk and most of it was about Kinect. It was the first time I watched E3 press conference and I must say that I'm disappointed :/

Infinite_Access
Infinite_Access

Lol.... C out of pitty.. was totally a D.. C- at least.

termadoyle
termadoyle

I swear to god if I hear the word Kinect again I will break something.

Grimkillah
Grimkillah

I think Xbox should get an A+ for their showing. Kinect is the best thing they done for a long time. Sure most people here and myself included are the type who enjoys Gears, MW2, Halo and ME, but growing number of us are also having family and children too. This means Xbox is securing this growing market, while preventing us from moving to another platform. Now with Kinect, Microsoft can offer both mature gamers, and their kids the right type of entertainment without purchasing two gaming platforms, and that in my book is a winning combination.

masterdeath31
masterdeath31

the only intriguing parts of this conference were presentations of games that are not exclusive to xbox such as Tomb Raider and COD (with the exception of Halo and Gears). Xbox used to be my system of choice but I am more inclined to play my PS3 than my xbox right now. Kinect is a gimmick that can be used to move navigate menus, or play rail shooters and I am not impressed with the lack of any meaningful gameplay application. The so called "innovations" seen in Mass Effect 3, like voice controls, are not new and were even used in Rainbow Six games for the original xbox.

kchalo4
kchalo4

@ronin893 you have no friends

masterdrat
masterdrat

'a piece of the casual pie baked by Nintendo and the Wii'? Everyone has a Wii and it's sitting in a closet somewhere. Kinect is the fastest-selling consumer electronics device in the Guiness. Try and compare both and judge by yourself... There's no competition really.

Ronin893
Ronin893

@kchalo4 Wow. Hate much. Last I hated to say it but Microsoft was on top at E3. This year I am still waiting for them to show up.

kchalo4
kchalo4

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Riprock
Riprock

Bungie isn't doing Halo 4. They were finished with Halo Reach. They've since moved on to a new IP. These new upcoming Halo games are from 343 Industries (if I got it correct). And the press Briefing, though lacking in some ways was at least a C+, if not a B. You who have covered the industry for so long are desensitized and not easily impressed. Imagine if you walked into the media show as a new gamer.

nparks
nparks

MS took a shotgun approach with Kinect, hoping that most people would find something to like. Unfortunately, it came off instead as random and unpolished. The media features may turn out to be the best thing they presented, Kinect and otherwise.

ao28
ao28

microsoft needs less kinect and needs to finally make a handheld!!!! portable gears and halo would be beast!!!!

nick_manthe
nick_manthe

Bungie sure is milking the Halo franchise.

Oni
Oni

This conference has me convinced Microsoft is confused about what their customers really want. I understand they need to push Kinect, but nothing I've seen ... aside from the Kinect PC modding community, has made me think Kinect is anything special. The "Milo" demo actually blew me away years ago, but it wasn't real.

Rigyabliss
Rigyabliss

Why did the Microsoft report card get posted mere hours after and we are still waiting on the others?

senorbusyman
senorbusyman

i give this press conference a B. many sequels, and the return of Microsoft's Mascot John 117

jdog68
jdog68

Im XBox all the way but the kinect and all the rest of this motion control stuff is just a bunch of crap and a waste of $$$$$!!!! I dont understand what in the he!! posessed Microsoft to want to try and compete with that Nintendo Wii crap!!!!

Casker
Casker

What is the deal with using the kinect for voice commands? Can't a person just use a microphone instead? It worked for end war.

Casker
Casker

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Omega_Zero69
Omega_Zero69

i feel like it deserved a c- since there wasnt enough non kinect demos or gameplay video

loopy_101
loopy_101

Microsoft's conference should and could of been so much more. If they didn't spend so much time pandering to the casual audiences and actually spent more time on presenting some exclusive content, sans Kinect, then it probably would of been worth watching.

cemal277
cemal277

Ps3 move focking borning and kopy of wii The xBox360 is the best f4ever and i have a Kincet fking Lol!*'(:

NickyWithATicky
NickyWithATicky

Take away the gimicy Kinect stuff (I thought the use in Future Soldier and Mass Effect was interesting) and tell us more about Minecraft Kinect and Halo 4 and it would have been sooo much better. And what's the update on those Kinect games announced last year, like the horror based one - sorry, can't remember the name?

jasonzilla11
jasonzilla11

I didn't think of MS's conference as very good, probably due to the fact that they never seemed to get off the Kinect until they announced the 2 Halo games.

Rasputin2011
Rasputin2011

MS only getting a C while Sony bagged a B.... that's B.S. in my opinion.. as rasterror stated " Sony seemed stiff, rigid, and cold" the only thing that stood out to me was too many games on rails but besides that the games lineup is looking very sexy

rasterror
rasterror

I felt Ms deserved a B-. It was better presented but had what you expected. They focused on expanding the Xbox on the Kinect and as a media hub which was good, but they didn't offer any real surprises. I'm looking forward to their new media features and cloud saves but the Kinect features seemed too gimmicky. Forza 4 looked simply amazing, I just stop watching that video, and the features are just what I want with me being a car fanatic. Seeing that they even accurately modeled in the gold foil and cross brace on the McLaren F1 GT LM and how real the weave in the carbon fiber looked got me. The Kinect games got my 8 year old son and wife excited and that says it all. The Ghost Recon and ME3 Kinect features seem cool at first but it really doesn't add to the game. I'm glad Halo CE is getting a remake with Live gaming seeing that I still play it on my computer, blood gulch FTW! And yay Halo 4! and boo for a 2012 release. Alot of games for both the PS3 and Xbox are for 2012. All in all it was what I expected. I'm happy but not excited.

rasterror
rasterror

You felt that MS had an awkward stage performance? Sony seemed stiff, rigid, and cold. The onstage jokes were horrible and the presentation was sleep inducing. The game presenters couldn't play the games and couldn't get lines right. I agree both were pretty sad but Sony was worse presentation wise.

greeneye59
greeneye59

I agree, they deserve a D. A few great looking games doesn't make a great conference. Yeah, Tomb Raider, Gears 3, and MW3 all look cool, but lack of awesome exclusives hurts. I am not excited for Halo 4 at all. I think that franchise is aging. They should just kill the single player and make it a multiplayer only experience. And I see what they are trying to do with Kinect, but it feels like they're throwing stones at a tank. They just can't come up with something that blows us out of the water. Just worthless shovelware.

madsnakehhh
madsnakehhh

C? Really, sorry GS but i think they deserve a D.

CISX
CISX

HALO4 AND GEARS AND... NO MORE SURPRISE ME

bruceleroy1234
bruceleroy1234

@Puppeteer, They used around 80% of their conference on Kinect stuff and all they did was prove how much it was incorrectly hyped a few years ago when they first unveiled it as Project Natal. Where's Milo? Where's that fighting game? Where's boxing? Where's that one game that can be fun for more than 15 mins? Where's that non-rail, non-dancing, non-kiddie, non-Wii-wana-be Kinect game? Where's that one game that you can show your buddies that Kinect is the future? Oh well, let's hope Project Cafe is the real deal.

jjlinder
jjlinder

I own a 360 and I personally believe that the Kinect is a huge waste of time and money. Just give me my GOW3, Halo 4, and MW3 and I'll be on my way....

kareempelumi
kareempelumi

microsoft deserves a B because they are trying to be the new innovative powerhouse....with sony's move and the wiimote detracting from the experience...the kinect immerses the player...yall are just made because they are doing alot for the hard core gamer...xbox initiative is to become the FAMILY console...not to please the 40 yr old nerd who sits in the basement of his moms house playing video games...i like the direction microsoft is going toward...becoming the complete entertainment system...not just another console with peripherals..