Why Microsoft Won E3 2012

Microsoft presents a multifaceted future of gaming's best-selling console.

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You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Microsoft's press conference was the first of E3 2012, putting it in an advantageous position to set the bar by which other conferences would be measured. And although Microsoft faltered at times, the strong opening of its show generated a great deal of excitement around games that Xbox owners care about. And when they drifted from games, it was to showcase technology that might end up having a significant impact on how people use their smartphones, tablets, and Xboxes in the long term. It was this combination of core gaming appeal and significant consumer-focused advancements that put Microsoft at the head of the pack in a year of underwhelming pressers.

Microsoft started the show with a showstopper: a revealing gameplay demo for Halo 4 that gave us lots of reasons to be excited about the new game. It presented Halo 4 as more than a new sequel in an established franchise; it made the game look like something of a fresh start for the series, with a setting and enemies that are wildly different from those that Master Chief has faced in the past.

After that rousing opening, Don Mattrick came out and spouted some typical market-speak about game lineups, entertainment partners, and, of course, the power of the Kinect. This could have brought the show to a screeching halt, but instead, he kept it short, the lights went down again, and the still-lingering momentum generated by the Halo demo carried over into another surprising showing, this one for Splinter Cell: Blacklist. By front-loading their conference with this one-two punch of action that appeals to the core gaming crowd, Microsoft generated enough excitement to carry us through the dull but necessary talk of new video partners, games with Kinect features, and the like.

And as my colleague Tom Mc Shea has pointed out, Microsoft's handling of the Kinect was much smarter this year than it has been in the past. Rather than demonstrations of motion controls crammed into games where they didn't make sense, what we saw this year was mostly sensible voice options, like the ability to call audibles in Madden 13. When motion controls were demoed, as for the downloadable game Wreckateer, they made sense; that game is built from the ground up to take advantage of the Kinect and to fit well with the device's control limitations.

Then, there was SmartGlass. Some may balk at the amount of time Microsoft devoted to something whose gaming-related applications seem lacking, but it was an unexpected demonstration of some useful technology that speaks volumes about how Microsoft's philosophy differs from those of its competitors. It's a fact of modern life: smartphones and tablets aren't going anywhere, and Microsoft doesn't make the most of them. Rather than ignoring this fact or trying to fight it, MS is capitalizing on it, fusing these ubiquitous technologies to your entertainment experiences with Xbox.

The ability to start watching a show or film on a smart device and then continue it on your television sounds like a natural progression--the sort of development that, in a few years, we might take for granted and wonder how we ever did without it. And with shows like Game of Thrones that have complex geography or intricate plotlines, the supplemental information SmartGlass gives you easy access to can definitely enrich your understanding and enjoyment. Nothing in Nintendo's conference or Sony's conference took a wider view of the entertainment landscape quite like this, presenting something that could have a significant impact on how we use the things we use every day.

From that point on, Microsoft kept things moving along nicely, with plenty of stuff that people who play games are interested in, including a fast-paced action sequence from Tomb Raider and a fantastic trailer for South Park: The Stick of Truth. (Trey Parker and Matt Stone brought some much-needed levity to what had been a thoroughly stuffy conference up to that point.) Ultimately, Microsoft's presser struck a smart balance between things we know we want (New Halo!) and things we don't know we want, but that we may find essential in the near future.

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Discussion

607 comments
papa_mudd
papa_mudd

Right... MS won, but Sony walked away with 7 Best of E3 awards. Showcased games that look well beyond anything Xbox could ever do graphically. Not to mention there wasn't one original idea at MS press conference. I mean come on smart glass... uhh ever hear of remote play been around on the ps3 for a while now. Not to mention that smart glass will only be compatible with windows 8  devices... Meanwhile sony has been building relationships with HTC and google for various products.

biggezel
biggezel

MS won because they paid E3 under the table......Sony stole the show. E3 is about games not crappy gadgets and gimmicks.

Meteor7
Meteor7

It's a good thing I am a PC gamer because all the consoles seemed crapy this year

a1450358509
a1450358509

M$ HAS NO CREATIVITY!!!!!!! They are in last in my book. Same recycled crap over and over EVERY YEAR!!!!

oldschoolvandal
oldschoolvandal

As I'm Not a huge Halo fan, MS press conference did not appeal to me very much...but I have to admit that the Smartglass thing was a good surprise. I also liked the voice commands for the Xbox but not for the games, that felt like another unnecessary thing (cough Kinect cough) I guess I wanted to hear about new games (maybe some interesting new IP)

Anyway, maybe I''m still too much attached to the times when E3 was about games...

archueque
archueque

Microsoft is lagging behind in many aspects, not only in your game console!, we all have seen the mistakes on  every new product .... I do not know if it will be bad management or just bad staff ... but each time is getting worse. And stop flattering to a company that its best moments are history. One example is that microsoft is trying to buy ideas, or companies!

LtReviews
LtReviews

I'm sick and tired of the yearly "who won E3 ?" question.

 

Microsoft will always have great games on a console that constantly breaks down.

Sony will always have a few awesome games on a console that is waaay too expensive

Nintendo will come out with new controllers and features that no third party developer wants to be forced to use.

 

So screw the big three publishers/console makers. I'd like to see more focus on the DEVELOPERS.

 

What about the newly formed Respawn entertainment? What about Notch's new Mojang Studios? How has the new studio Bungie formed adapted to the new publisher, do they still have free creative freedom?

What is the use of all these new features Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft go around bragging about if no other developer is willing to use them? Just look at Nintendo's lack of third party support, and the lack of developers making good games for Kinect.

 

NARUtotheFISH
NARUtotheFISH

look guys the xbox isn't the same as it was back then. Its turning into something else, microsoft isn't only interested in games. Maybe they want to expand the quality of entertainment you can have on the xbox 360 and yes maybe real gamers are disappointed about them not showing as much games as sony or nintendo. But there must also be a time limit to the conference, that's also probably one of the reasons that they couldn't show off as much games as sony. They probably focused more on smart glass. 

Faster_Bill
Faster_Bill

This is why I rather be so called "Sony Fanboy"... How Many Halo games there will be? How much you can complicate this "story"? Kojima at least knew when (and what's most important: How) finish MGS series. Here we have same thing on and on again.

 

The only thing that MS is good at is advertising: They made SmartGlass some kind of wonder/technological advantage of Xbox, when in fact it's just useless gadget.

M1KES
M1KES

This article sounds like it was written by a microsoft fanboy.. way too positive. The author totally ignored microsoft's lack of new ip's and the fact at many of the games mentioned were multiplats. Then when i read: "And with shows like Game of Thrones that have complex geography or intricate plotlines, the supplemental information SmartGlass gives you easy access to can definitely enrich your understanding and enjoyment" i though wtf??? Cause the first thing i want to do while watching a series is looking at a screen reading information. The entire smartglass was useless and stupid which even got made fun of by the south park guys. Not to mention that the entire conference felt like one big ad (nike, usher, tv channels, etc)

CoDrOcKs99
CoDrOcKs99

Microsoft had ONE GAMEPLAY VIDEO. THATS IT. EVERYTHING ELSE WAS SMARTGLASS (A shot at taking some of the Wiiu market). How are you going to say they 'won' E3 if they didn't even show video games? If anything Ubisoft one. Game after game after game after game. All demos, no filler content.

Thandyy
Thandyy

After reading this article, I find myself lucky that I haven't watched Microsoft's conference. I don't like shooters that much, so when you say that Microsoft began showing two shooters (and later even more shooters), it really doesn't sounds good for me.

Then you said "that game is built from the ground up to take advantage of the Kinect and to fit well with the device's control limitations.". So, instead of improving Kinect, are they just making games that uses the limitations of it? Sounds like a real bad idea, and a lazy one too. The games shouldn't be downgraded, and Kinect should be replaced for something that works.

And then the SmartGlass... I don't really get your point, since Wii U does the same thing and I didn't see anything about Nintendo in your article.

And then Call of Duty. Really. Call of Duty. They showed the game that I couldn't care less. And a multiplataformer by the way.

So, if Microsoft set up the pace for E3, then I finally got why I found Nintendo and Sony's conferences disappointing as well.

notlupus
notlupus

wow, did you even watch the same E3 as everyone else? It is clear that Ubisoft won E3, ask any one journalist there what stood out for them, the answer will always be the same, Watchdogs. You'll get the odd The Last of Us , ZombieU etc etc but the fact remains Microsoft didn't win crap. All Microsoft showed was that they can throw money at publishers for exclusive content and appeal to the CAWWWODUTTTY and HALO and Madden casual 13 year old gamer crowds. I'm sorry but its articles like this and journalists that are leading to the angrybirdifcation of video games and are killing the industry. My god microsoft didn't introduce 1 new unique game.

 

Carolyn seriously where you one of those people that clapped when they announced IE was going to be built into the system after like 10 years on the market? 

ampiva
ampiva

So how much did Microsoft pay for this article, Carolyn?

piotr432
piotr432

halo universe is wonderful ! :)

DEATH775
DEATH775

Have to say that I want to play halo right now

the22for4
the22for4

MS was disappointment this year , all what it got in the press ,every one was knowing that , so nothing new.in the 1st hand, what Carolyn said about it in this topic leads MS to lose the Press, not won , and the most thing annoying me  in the end of the Press , the Guy was happy to show us CoD Black ops 2 , i was  really want telling him seriously, U gotta kidding me. its new i do not know this game ,,sigh.

mohammadatefrad
mohammadatefrad

there are a lot of games more interesting than halo4 such as darksiders II and hitman absolution.

BLAS1AN
BLAS1AN

 @a1450358509 uncharted, god of war, resistance...those aren't recycled at all. Battle Royal was a very original idea

CRS98
CRS98

 @ADEPONE I'm befuddled that there are people that still do not realize that Rare and all their original IPs are now belong to Microsoft. They do not need Nintendo to strike a deal with anything. Unless it's DKC or something. But that'll never happen. Still, KI needs an XBLA port.

Meteor7
Meteor7

 @LtReviews

 Yeah... I wish the developers would be focused not the console makers.

notlupus
notlupus

 @NARUtotheFISH there was time enough for Usher and they where visibly telling South Park guys they needed to keep talking to fill time, so yeah they had nothing more than two or three rehashes and their big reveal trailer was Black Ops 2 at the end....really? 

BLAS1AN
BLAS1AN

 @Faster_Bill how many Uncharted, God of wars and Resistance will there be for Sony? How original is Battle Royal? How are the sales working out for sony compared to microsoft?

xXTo4sTaXx
xXTo4sTaXx

 @Faster_Bill

 Personally i'm glad for a halo 4 and they said they were going to make 3 more halos (I think thats what they said) and 343 also actually explained whats going so people can have an understanding. Bungie did explain their stuff but their were some things that the players didnt know what was going on. Not to mention halo 4 has similar things, but for sure if you saw the gameplay demo they changed the graphics, the environment, and they added new enemies. This game wont be like you know what your going to face because you've played the past halo games. Sure your gonna face the elites but from what i saw they arent gonna be noticed too much in the campaign. If they were able to do that that be great. But overall 343 added a whole bunch of stuff but was able to keep the halo feel and i personally cant wait for halo 4 to come out.

NARUtotheFISH
NARUtotheFISH

 @Faster_Bill Smartglass might just change the way an xbox is used, from a console to a whole new entertainment system that is expanded from games to almost every aspect of entertainment ..... don't say that smart glass is useless, maybe to you because you don't have a tablet or a smartphone... or maybe you are just a real hardcore sony fanboy too stubborn to admit that microsoft is busy changing the xbox into something way out of a consoles league.

E3:

If you are going to look at the game aspect between Sony and Microsoft then "yes" Sony did win...but if you are going to look at the innovation aspect and what the two really are accomplishing then Microsoft wins by a mile. 

 

Master_Vexov
Master_Vexov

 @piotr432

 do you mean the narrow path you can't go off of when playing campaing. :P

cusseta123
cusseta123

 @the22for4 I have to know...  Is English your second language?  If so: Good Job.  If not:  Good Lord : /

Master_Vexov
Master_Vexov

 @jamesclaveria

 yes im looking forward to my 12th xbox, only 1 and 1/2 of one worked like they should, can't waith for the 12th which better live longer then 2days-2weeks. My Ps3 lived and operated fine..R i can say screw Halo 4.

jefer12
jefer12

 @mohammadatefrad i dunno what to say you are not a halo to understand how great game it is please do not compare it with other game.:D

Faster_Bill
Faster_Bill

 @NARUtotheFISH For me it's all about gaming, games, gamers. Gadgets? Sure, but not by the cost of games. MS is now so focused on making old Xbox a "new Xbox"...

I'm not fanboy at all. Really. To be honest Sony should also work a little on PS3, but MS is not doing anything else but advertising. SG for me is just wrong direction... It's nothing new, just different.

notlupus
notlupus

 @NARUtotheFISH  @Faster_Bill what percentage of the population has smart phones or tablets. Here is a hint the number is a lot smaller than you think. The majority of people take the "free" phone and don't want to be saddled with excessive data charges. 

 

Also I just love watching game of thrones and then taking my eyes off the screen and not you know "actually watching the damn show" because I just want to see so much more info about the set or the desert they're in etc Smart glass is a nice idea and I look forward to seeing Apple actually make it profitable and popular. 

Thandyy
Thandyy

 @Faster_Bill The again, the Smart Glass is so more innovative than Wii U because...?

notlupus
notlupus

 @steelmouth so saeth the fanboy. seriously michael pachter is right, you know what is killing gaming mother#$%ing fanboys like you. that's whats killing gaming. Microsft brought nothing but rehash shooters and multi plat games they sunk money into for exclusive dlc to their conference errr I mean their infomercial advertisement for Usher / Nike / ESPN / Windows 8 / Windows Phone / Windows Tablet / HBO / ESPN2 / Madden / ESPN 8: The Ocho. It used to be a joke but 360 has no gaems 

samirus
samirus

 @Master_Vexov So what are you doing here in the xbox forum?! Go summit your comments in the PS3 forum Master Verga!

gamerok123
gamerok123

 @NARUtotheFISH I think that Microsoft is focusing too much on making the Xbox into an all-in-on gaming device, but when they do that it no longer becomes a gaming device. Instead of focusing on the gaming component of the Xbox they are only looking at the entertainment part, which makes us want to buy a good ole PC rather than a gaming console turned traitor.

NARUtotheFISH
NARUtotheFISH

 @notlupus  you are probably right, but tablets and smart phones are the future, microsoft has shown the future of entertainment through smart glass.

notlupus
notlupus

 @steelmouth no I'm talking about innovation and actual creation of new game engines. Sony had at least two big reveals of new IP's that will sell well. Pachter has gone on record stating that if they put out sequels every two years the games would sell more and make room for more new IP's considering the fact that 360 hasn't had one unique new IP in over a decade it is just sad. 

steelmouth
steelmouth

 @notlupus any great sequel that sold millions could have been renamed as a new IP, changed the characters names and looks, and kept the game play the same then we would have new IP's every year but they will never sell as much *insert favorate game's name* and *insert numbers incrimentally*

steelmouth
steelmouth

 @notlupus dude chili its all business for this guys they not developing all this games (costing millions) for your entertainment (at $60) they all wan make profit hence all the sequels and not new IP's thats why they attached COD to MW and BO, Forza to Horison, they could easy have painted master chief pink and named the game some different and kept the rest of the Halo4 trailer as is,we would all be impressed but it wont sell as that much