Gut Reactions: Microsoft E3 Press Conference

Find out what the GameSpot editorial team thought of Microsoft's E3 event.

It's not even the first official day of E3, but things are already starting to heat up in Los Angeles. Microsoft just completed its E3 2010 press conference where the company finally took the wraps off its new hardware, called Kinect. It is a camera that lets you interact with games and the Xbox 360 dashboard without the aid of a controller. We saw a variety of games that will support the new device, including a rhythm game called Dance Central, a new version of Ubisoft's Your Shape: Fitness Evolved, an interactive animal adventure called Kinectimals, and more. Of course, Kinect wasn't the only big thing on display. Various developers took to the stage to show off their latest and greatest, including Call of Duty: Black Ops, Gears of War 3, Metal Gear Solid: Rising, Halo: Reach, and Fable III. So with all of this on display, what did the GameSpot editors think of the show? Read below to find out.

Brian Ekberg, Senior Editor

Some highlights and a few "meh-lights" (is that even a word?) from the Microsoft press conference for me. Thumbs-up to the Call of Duty: Black Ops demo, which sets a new standard for South Asian explosions-per-minute. Gears of War 3 delivered just the kind of bloody thrills I was anticipating (though more Baird would have been a good thing). Chopping up watermelons (and bad guys) in Metal Gear Solid: Rising looked surprisingly fun.

As for the "meh" demos, I'd lump a good chunk of the Kinect-specific games in there. In fact, after what we've seen, I'm less interested in Kinect as a way to get me off the couch and more interested in it as a way to keep me on the couch as much as possible--using voice chat or simple gestures to control video and music playback, for example, or watching ESPN coverage.

Finally, and this is of utmost importance: I want a kitty named Skittles!

Justin Calvert, Senior Editor

After watching the Microsoft press conference from the GameSpot booth, my first reaction at the end was that--after registering and RSVPing--I should have actually gone to it. That way I'd be getting one of those redesigned consoles for free, and I'd feel a lot better about the fact that my regular Xbox 360 red-ringed just a week ago. As for the rest of the conference, I'm now significantly more excited for both Gears of War 3 and Call of Duty: Black Ops than I was before, and all of the cutting going on in the Metal Gear Solid: Rising demo definitely piqued my interest. Otherwise, I thought the event was underwhelming. Molyneux was only onstage with Fable III for about a minute, Kinect Sports looks a lot like a game I already own on the Wii, and Microsoft's reluctance to confirm a price for the Kinect hardware suggests that perhaps it's rethinking it in a hurry. Honestly, I think the highlight of the press conference was the performance of the little girl who demoed Kinectimals.

Sophia Tong, Associate Editor

Microsoft started its press conference with an impressive list of games that many of us are really excited about. It kicked off with a ton of violence and blood, and I couldn't help but feel all giddy after watching the demo for Gears of War 3 and the trailer to Metal Gear Solid: Rising. I was also looking forward to Fable III, but seeing images of the game didn't really do much for me. I need to play it. Kinect was obviously the star of the show and was a continuation of last night's Cirque du Soleil presentation. Even though I'm looking forward to shooting berserkers in the face, I have a soft spot for that adorable tiger kitty and can't wait to virtually cuddle with my exotic zoo animal. If Kinect is as responsive as it seems, then I will gladly put away my controller and bark orders at my Xbox 360 all day.

Jane Douglas, Section Editor | GameSpot UK

Surprise: Kinect's showing at the conference was all casual. The new Turn 10 title with Kinect interface, presumably the next Forza Motorsport game, was the only nod to the hardcore. Fair play, we've been getting the hint about controller-free accessibility for traditional non-gamers for a while now, but I thought we might have seen something about Fable III and Kinect. Still, Dance Central could be a fun dance game (and a better workout than Ubisoft's Your Shape: Fitness Evolved, it looked like) if the dance-move recognition turns out to be accurate. And the voice commands for movie playback and the rest will be great. I'm not entirely sold on the angular shape or gloss finish of the Xbox 360 Slim, but you can't argue with the size or the built-in Wi-Fi. We'll hear how "whisper quiet" it is or isn't later on. Slice-em-up Metal Gear Solid: Rising was the highlight of the conference, though. Slicing through pillars and bullet-time dismemberment were excellent "wow" moments.

Guy Cocker, Editor | GameSpot UK

Microsoft's E3 2010 was always going to be headlined by Kinect (previously Natal), and there's no doubt that it impressed from a technical perspective. The body recognition worked flawlessly in a stage environment, which bodes well for the finished product. Some of the new games looked really fun, too, particularly Dance Central and Forza Motorsport 4, although many seemed boring and predictable.

On the traditional games side, Call of Duty: Black Ops, Metal Gear Solid: Rising, Halo: Reach, Fable III, and Gears of War 3 all looked great, but they're based on existing AAA franchises. It was disappointing to see no real shock announcements--something that Microsoft has frequently delivered over the past few years. I was also surprised at the lack of Xbox Live Arcade content. Microsoft has made a big thing about the Summer of Arcade over the past two years--is it now dead?

Finally, as a European, I was also pretty disappointed about the lack of Euro-specific info on the big announcements (Xbox 360 Slim, Natal launch date), I hope to find out more over the next few days.

Randolph Ramsay, Editor | GameSpot AU

Remember Microsoft's Natal presentations at last year's E3? You know, those demos where they showed you could have a natural conversation with a virtual character (where are you Milo?), working with a system that could seamlessly track movement in 3D space? Well, that's not what they had at this year's press conference for the newly renamed Kinect. What they showed was a bunch of games that have already been seen on the Wii, with very little of the innovation promised in 2009. So, yes, I have yet to be convinced of Kinect's worth (although Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II has potential). But when it comes to core games, the 360 has a solid lineup. Halo: Reach looks great, Gears of War 3 looks brutal, and I'm excited to see what Crytek is working on with Codename Kingdoms. As an Australian, though, I'm extremely worried that the slow-motion, methodical limb chopping of Metal Gear Solid: Rising will have a tough time getting past our stringent censors. Better have a good argument heading into the Australian Classification Board, Konami.

Giancarlo Varanini, Editor-at-Large

Wow. I think this was one of the few press conferences where I was genuinely still entertained despite the fact that most of the pertinent stuff either leaked or we've already seen it in some form. But let's start with the elephant in the room--Kinect. I don't care for the name at all, and the games we've seen thus far are mostly derivative of the stuff we've already seen on the Wii, but there's real promise to the technology that I can't quite put my finger on. I guess you could say that there were genuine flashes of brilliance in each Kinect demo, but on their own terms (and even though that little girl playing with the tiger in Kinectimals was adorable), the games did nothing to impress. That doesn't mean I'm down on Kinect. I just suspect that we'll see the more amazing stuff a bit down the line.

Otherwise, it was an all-around impressive showing. I'm not a huge Call of Duty fan, but Black Ops looks great, and more Gears of War is always a good thing. But I think I was most impressed by Metal Gear Solid: Rising. When Kojima announced the project at last year's conference, I immediately had dreams of a game similar to Ninja Gaiden II, but in the Metal Gear Solid universe. And from the looks of that brief presentation, I'll be getting my wish--plus, the super-focused slash attacks are just plain awesome.

Kevin VanOrd, Editor

I admit it: I am a core gamer, probably not one of the sort Microsoft is trying to recruit with all these Kinect games we saw at the company's E3 2010 press conference. Yet I am still charmed by Kinectimals. I like the idea of a Nintendogs: Best Friends-type game with animals you can't (or at least, shouldn't) raise in real life--at least, not in a suburban California apartment. Your Shape: Fitness Evolved also intrigues me, not because I need to shed a few pounds (I need to shed more than a few), but because if the one-to-one motion works well, the game could truly change what we expect from fitness games. As for the rest, well, color me unenthused, which is a dull shade of tan. Watching Kinect Joyride in action, I couldn't help but think, "Well that could be fun if only I had a controller in my hand while I did it." The "flail about in your living room" revolution has yet to sweep me up in its furor.

Fortunately, Microsoft showed off enough core games to make me happy--though not enough to get me giddy. There were a few nice highlights, however. First, we saw the world's best watermelon-slicing sim in Metal Gear Solid: Rising, which has me very excited to see Raiden carrying an entire game on his own. (For what it's worth, I liked the Raiden half of Metal Gear Solid 2!) I'm also digging Halo: Reach's dark art style, and I was as excited as anyone to see the ship combat that ended the brief demo. Gears of War 3 and Call of Duty: Black Ops made strong showings but not unexpected ones. Aside from the exciting announcement that the newly slim Xbox 360 goes on sale this week, there wasn't anything truly surprising. Last year, the Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Conviction demo sent chills down my spine. No chills this year, though I did manage a few bright smiles. Score: 7.0. (Good.)

Tom Mc Shea, Associate Editor

I don't want to be the cynical guy who is negative about every new announcement, but Microsoft really left me no choice. First, I'll talk about the good stuff. Halo: Reach looks incredible, and I cannot wait to see how Bungie tackles ship-to-ship battles in space. Fable III also looks like top-drawer entertainment. I have always loved Lionhead's artistic design, and this looks like it captures the Fable charm well and has plenty of dark elements to boot. Plus, who doesn't like battling on the high seas? I'm sure Gears of War 3 will be fun, but nothing mind blowing was shown today.

Everything else left me feeling cold. As much as Microsoft is preaching that the Kinect is for everyone, I didn't see one game that I would like to play. Yes, Kinectimals is amazingly cute, but it looks like an HD kitty version of Nintendogs, a game I got tired of after an hour. Kinect Sports could be the beginning of the end for Rare, an uninspired clone of Wii Sports four years after the party. I was a lot more excited for Kinect Joyride when it was free and could be played with a controller, and Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II looks like it would struggle to hold my attention for one level. And though my sedentary ways may argue otherwise, Your Shape: Fitness Evolved and Dance Central are not exactly for me.

With two massive games this fall and one more next year, Microsoft should have a good future. But its focus on casual games and non-game applications today made this an underwhelming press conference.

Dan Chiappini, Associate Editor | GameSpot AU

I'd wager dollars to doughnuts there were more than a few concerned head scratches and double takes at the conference schedule as Microsoft took fans on an emotional roller-coaster ride to launch E3 2010. A far sight from the star-studded cavalcade rolled out at last year's show, the event came frontloaded with key franchises like Halo: Reach, Fable III, Call of Duty: Black Ops, Gears of War 3, and Metal Gear Solid: Rising. Latecomers and those who stuck around were treated to the bevy of inevitable motion-sensing minigame compilations, fitness titles, and a cautionary tale of the very real dangers of wild animal ownership.

Periphery services like Kinect video chat, ESPN's free sportsgasm, and virtual tours of cars you'll never afford to own are all well and good, but it will be the design aesthetic and hardware configuration of the Xbox 360 Slim that will rumble around the E3 halls a little longer.

Laura Parker, Features Editor | GameSpot AU

Given that last year's E3 kicked off with an appearance by the two surviving Beatles, this year's start has let me down. More than 50 percent of Microsoft's press conference was dedicated to its new motion-sensing system, Kinect, which is dishearteningly simplistic. Nintendo is probably still trying to shake off the feeling of déjà vu, while the rest of us sit and wonder why it feels like we've just taken a giant step backward. Microsoft promised innovation and leadership when it first announced Natal, but what we got instead was a party sports game, a DDR rip-off, and a realistic-looking yoga instructor.

There were some good bits though: Kojima debuting the new Metal Gear Solid: Rising trailer, the hot blonde from Gears of War 3 (women soldiers FTW), and the new Tetsuya Mizuguchi game Child of Eden, which looks like it will actually be doing something cool with Kinect.

Written By

Want the latest news about Kinect Joy Ride?

Kinect Joy Ride

Kinect Joy Ride

Follow

Discussion

94 comments
black_cat19
black_cat19

Yay for Microsoft doing what they do best: taking someone else's successful idea and ripping it off as best they can.

nick2shy
nick2shy

loved MGS-Rising, kinect dance, that cute little tiger and the girl . Thought meh of the rest.

tech951
tech951

People people please enough with Natal/Kinect bashing. The hardware is a proof of concept and all those launch titles are only "beta" for the hardware platform. Come back here once the platform goes through a year of refinement it and major game studios developing content for it. I'm still excited to see games for a system I may never own, if I'm being honest.

DesertLynx83
DesertLynx83

I'm happy the Gamespot editors aren't signing praises to Microsoft unlike SOME game sites! Nice to see some honesty here. :)

FreyarHunter
FreyarHunter

It wasn't a "Microsoft" press conference. It was an "Xbox 360" press conference.

Shrimpen91
Shrimpen91

Why do people even live in Australia?

chrystofax
chrystofax

Omg now am worried MGS: Raising wont make it here since i live in AUS arrg i was really annoyed with the censoring is LFD2..sigh

gogetaz9
gogetaz9

were we lied to, by microsoft, last year? innovation? like a lot of folk have made the "wii-rip" link, with the demonstrated titles on the ms stage. where is milo from lionhead studios? what about the games showing in the project natal video from last year? the karate, skateboarding, football ones? saw this natal stuff last e3 and was impressed and looking forward to the innovating. not as impressed now.

coruscant
coruscant

I almost died of boredom. Far too much Natal games. (Yeah I hate the name Kinect).

KOTOR_MANIAC
KOTOR_MANIAC

Kinect has promise.....and it needs to start developing that sort of thinking. Sony and Nintendo both have very promising looking motion "controllers" but they have yet to evolve into a completely hands-free way to game...something that MS has done. I am a little concerned, however, with shooter games on the Kinect (and there had better be a few)...how would you fire or lob grenades? I think that a controller or some form of hand-held device is still needed for that. (Unless they go for a real life version of the movie Gamer)

otakubr
otakubr

nintendo keeps taking advantages over MS and Sony these two try to copy but kinetic is strange move is just like wii but more stupid i was hoping for more improvements

Rocker6
Rocker6

Microsoft really dissapointed me.Im a hardcore gamer,not a ten year old who want t jump in front of his TV and to play these boring games.MS U suck.

manga777
manga777

Nintendo just beat this conference up

majere613
majere613

Hm. Nothing there that really excites me, though I still think 'Kinect' (ugh) has potential as a multimedia interface. I'm going to need to see a Slim next to a regular 360, because to me it doesn't look all that much smaller. I won't rule out replacing my venerable launch 360 at some point, but I'd have to say you'd be nuts to pick up a launch 360-slim. Given the trouble with overheating that MS had with the original 360, I'm going to need to see at least a year's worth of trouble-free operation from the majority of them before I'd touch one. (And btw, I feel the same way about the Ps3 Slim before the fanhammers descend)

SheikhMuhammad
SheikhMuhammad

Isn't it obvious, the gamespot people are not impressed at all... Lets see what does Sony have in store for us...

zombiechopper
zombiechopper

I just hope the new Forza isn't Kinect exclusive. 10-20 lap races with your arms held out in front - ouch.

zaz0o0o
zaz0o0o

Microsoft conference was not as everybody expected i myself liked kinect and i think its really good system.the boxing thing is kinda cool . halo, metal gear and gears no footage why ????????the new x box looks great hope i was there to get one.

JimmyJimJim
JimmyJimJim

Kinect although all the games looked stupid, each one showed the potential that this motion device has over all the others. So hopefully down the road we'll see those neat features integrated into actual worthy games not games designed for 10 year olds or your typical fat gamer who will once he finds out that even though your working out over a game it's still hard will quickly give up and continue being fat.

pinicilin
pinicilin

What did Microsoft showed that people really did not know and wanted to? Nil! There is no difference with what Wii showed years ago, given it is better then having to deals with ever-growing Wii controllers, but I will not pay 150$ for the Kinect, or 99$..... or 79.99 for this matter. So far it looks like gimmicky controller with no substance behind it (for the record, I do not want to be sitting with my hands outstretched for 4 hours trying to get the perfect time in the raising game aka Forza Kinect). Rest of the showing (Halo, Fable, CoD) while added some footage to what we had, did not blow my mind. Rising was nice to see, but is this all Microsoft mastered as far as the news for biggest event of the year? Underwhelming hits a spot to sum up this event.

ChudWarrior
ChudWarrior

Is the slashing in Metal Gear Solid: Rising compatible with Kinect?

zatetzu
zatetzu

There is no doubt that the technology has potential, but what we saw was really unimpressive, i loved the voice recognition and how you can move around the dashboad with your hand... but i have to admit nothing else i liked... i mean, i come from the gym to relax and rest playing some good games with my console, why would i want to run in front of my screen playing a crappy looking sports game? it would be really awesome to be able to play an Elder scrolls game with voice recognition, to be able to say what you want during the game! that would be something! but i guess we won't see that in a few years...if we see it at all...

monson21502
monson21502

i was hoping for better kinect games. but i think they will come. these games will make kinect the number 1 thing you hear kids saying mommy/daddy i want that for christmas. so i can see why ms made them first. so i wont down them for it. but they better make more core games for it next year or im not buying a kinect slim bundle next year

shadow_cse
shadow_cse

Probably one of the most disappointing E3 conferences I've seen in awhile. Sure stuff like Halo and Rising and GoW3 look cool, but we already knew about those games, all we got were a couple new trailers and gameplay footage. The new xbox slim (yawn) and the stupid Kinect just don't do it for me what so ever. I always said that "Natal" was going to be just a bunch of Wii ripoff gimmicky crap and that still seems to be the case.

Jackc8
Jackc8

I honestly couldn't keep watching all that kinect stuff - it was more embarrassing than your average Nintendo presentation. When will they ever learn that middle-aged gave developers playing with toys made for 10 year old children, and trying really hard to act as if they're enjoying it - it just looks freakin' ridiculous. I am pleased that they've got a new console, though I didn't learn anything about it with that pathetic 1 minute presentation they gave it. If they come out with a $200 arcade version, and a year from now it's proven itself to be reliable, I may be interested in getting one.

SavoyPrime
SavoyPrime

Tom McShea once again comes through. I frankly thought MS's Press Conference was quite poor. Besides the demos for CoD:BO, H:R, and GoW3, it was not interesting.

real_nimrod
real_nimrod

so gears, fable and Halo (ie games we already new a load about) a load of multi plats and confirmation that 99% of people who actually watched the conference are not going to be interested in the kinect games...whoop dee doo...

lightwarrior179
lightwarrior179

Microsoft's showing this E3 was disappointing to say the least.They focused too much on Kinect and all the time it gave a feeling as if they were only interested in saying,"Hey look here,our thing is better than the same thing you already have on Wii" Gears 3,Fable 3 and Black Ops looked good though. MS could have made a bigger deal out of Codename Kingdoms though.It's an exclusive from Crytek after all.

TurambarGS
TurambarGS

The Microsoft delivery was so disappointing. The 'new' 360 is sporting features that should have been standard on the old 360 - WiFi, 'decent' (not great) sized HDD, lower heat output, etc. As for 'Natal'/kinect - it honestly seems little better than what Nintendo is already doing with the Wii. If I wanted Wii games, I'd buy a Wii - where this 'revolutionary' title I can sink my teeth into as a real gamer? Something that has Bad Company visuals but plays with all that motion sensing awesome they've been promising? I'm still smarting from having to buy another 360 a few months ago because my last one died without giving me the RROD (so I couldn't claim on warranty) and these 'upgrades' just don't seem like anything resembling a step forward - more like a half step to getting to where the technology should be at this point in time. Agree with the Gamespot editors though - the line up for the next year is looking good at least, it's just a shame that monopolistic activities by M$ and the hardware are really the things that are holding us back at this point.

Glade_Gnarr
Glade_Gnarr

The xbox just pulled a saturn. Once I saw it I knew something like that was going to happen.

ico92
ico92

@TheTrue i agree microsoft said that Natal or Kinect was going to be this innovative ,revolutionary controler, all the software they showed were just cheap rehashes of Eye Toy and wii games e.g. Kinectimals- eye pet rip off which was a nintendogs rip off Kinect sports- wii sports rip off Kinect advemtures- mario party rip off Joy ride- modnation racers clone none of these games were amazing the eye toy has been doing half of these games for over 7-8 years and thats one of the worst peripherals ever made.

Cronotimeshero
Cronotimeshero

They where all hey we have more shooters for you ya know... bang!... and here is some games that are multi-platform so ya know, they are cool.... Oh yeah motion we have that now. Look its just like the Wii! Love us... please.... oh you already own a wii and it looks like this will cost as much as one just as an add on.... oh..... how bout the new look hey new 360 check it out its all black and stuff... and we made this because well.... our current hardware is well... defective our bad.... somehow the dumb masses keep giving us their money anyway via la M$. Oh we have ESPN now too so we are the official console of the drunken frat boys everywhere!

TheTrueMagusX1
TheTrueMagusX1

@ Arkk_Angel You misunderstand. It is not the fact that it was casual, it was the fact that MS promised stuff like Milo and other stuff that was different then what we saw, and all they did was a rehash of Wii titles that we have already seen. There was nothing innovative here and MS failed to deliver on that. They had two good press conferences the last couple of years, and this year was just...Meh except the first part. And even then there was no new titles.

termadoyle
termadoyle

They spent way too much on the gimmicky Kinect. Not one of their finest moments I'm afraid. The event lost focus and interest right when they started hyping Kinect with fail.

Arkk_Angel
Arkk_Angel

I think GameSpot needs an editor that actually likes "casual" games. I for one thought the Kinect & games portion of the press conference was the best. I didn't really care for all the "core" games presented at the beginning since they didn't show any original IP's.

CHADbomb
CHADbomb

Does the new Xbox come with KINECT?

azureblade89
azureblade89

Calling the new Harmonix made dancing game a DDR-rip off is like saying Halo is a rip off of Call of Duty. Realistic dance moves, no gay little pad..the Aussie editor was just in a bad mood because he's not getting a free xbox.

maximumbarmage
maximumbarmage

I am stunned by the apologist tone being used for Microsoft's conference. It was absolutely awful, and the fact they outright BRIBED attending journalists so they'd leave in a good mindset was utterly shameless. Is no one else a little annoyed at the lies going on here? Wasn't Joyride supposed to be a free game on Xbox Live? Didn't Microsoft say 9 months ago they didn't need a slimline console redesign? Where are the questions about these things?

SkidRow18
SkidRow18

they focus too much on kinect but it is kinda of interesting though

jhjsaat
jhjsaat

Kinetic does look like the wii all over again welcome to 3 years ago! Lets cash in on that people Nintendo did bring out!

jhjsaat
jhjsaat

Anyone else think that the tiny girl and her pet tiger where scary?! Really someone give that girl a real life puppy....?!

Gamer_4_Fun
Gamer_4_Fun

If i was a 360 owner, i would least wanted some new ips.

Quinzark
Quinzark

i would love one of them new xbox's but as long as i have a working one ( touch wood ) i'll not be changing to the small one. Kinect really does seem like Wii 2.0 and i didn't bother getting a Wii when it was the cheapest gaming option out so ill need some convincing to pay more money now for this. Reach Beta was fun tho, so ill be getting the full one soon as i can.

swamplord666
swamplord666

wow looks like the editors are still gleaming at the new xboxs on their desk...

xenoss
xenoss

If we knew 1 year ago what we know about the Kinect now, there would not have been any debates over Natal vs Wii vs Move. Because it is a clear loser.

Ranma_X_basic
Ranma_X_basic

Yea. i have to agree. microsoft's press conference wasn't all that good. there was barely any original IPs shown and they only had games everyone was well aware of. Today will be sony and Nintendo's turn and i'm sure both of them will have tons of new games. then again E3 just started so i'm sure microsoft might have some new games to show off the rest of this week.

Mkeegs79
Mkeegs79

Huge disappointment for me. Kinetic looked less impressive this year compared to Milo. I had hopes for Kinetic but not with those games and that boring presentation. I am upset that they have nothing besides a planned Crytek exclusive. They need more IPs and stuff to demo. I am already excited about Gears 3, Halo: Reach, and Fable 3 but they have nothing new. Are they going to continue to just beat these franchises down to the ground without coming up with many new properties? I was disappointed that there was no Rare. I would have expected them to show something or have a lot more XBLA to show off. Dust looks beautiful and I am excited about it as well as the ESPN deal. Altogether their presentation blew. I am a fan of the 360, you can see from my profile. Im no sony or nintendo fanboy.

TheDreamSeeker
TheDreamSeeker

@roxomega Very fair judgement, by giving the whole thing a B+. What people need to realise Is. Kinect Is a very new piece of technology. Improvements will be made, and better games, more unique games will come In time. Although I'm still not to keen on motion controls(I'm a PC gamer at heart) I still understand that It Is the future of gaming... like It or not. And by far, Kinect Is the superior motion technology.