Ok, after long last I have my impressions, hope you get something out of them. :)
Even though E3 is certainly more of a shadow of its former self then ever before (as far as the actual summit goes) it's kind of hard to tell at least the scale of the announcements and news so far.
Being that today was Microsoft's Media Briefing event, and since they were the ones primarily doing the showing off, so I'll be covering that and what exactly I got out of it. Think of it more like impressions than meticulous analyzing, if you want that go hop over to your favorite message board/blog. :P
Now that I got that out of the way, I can pose my first 'issue'
Before I get the proverbial 'raised eyebrow' I know that Microsoft showed off quite a number of games, but part of the appeal of prior E3 (at least to yours truly) was the B-Roll of the upcoming releases, this year that was replaced with a handful of rather short demos and trailers. Now some of the demos that where shown off where pretty impressive, but it just didn't have that same feel of 2007's "This is our line-up, kick ass, no?" It was more like "Here's some real games and, here's Xbox Live Arcade stuff." I mean that's wonderful that Microsoft is doing what they can to expand their audience and talk about Arcade, but why put so much emphasis on those other titles when your primary demographic is what got you those billion million dollars in sales and whatnot; it certainly wasn't Scene It! I can tell you that. I guess I know how some Nintendo fans feel nowadays. Which I guess leads me to complaint number two....
I'll be completely honest, when the "New Xbox Experience" was being shown off my first reactions where far from positive. However the more they talked about it and what they were the trying to accomplish the more I warmed up to it. I mean if nothing else the fact that their introducing all this functionality (game installation, more "social options", better guide functionality, etc) is enough for me to look over the overhauled dashboard, but again to be honest it doesn't seem that bad. All of the (very little) coverage I've seen of the new dashboard seems to point to it being a positive change, and certainly it's a much more shiny/Web 2.0 looking interface. Of course if that's all they announced that would be one thing, but no, they had to go and announced Avatars/Mii Too/whatever. Now, any comparisons to Nintendo's Miis that are pretty warranted I'd say because they seem about identical functionally. Again, it's hard to judge since we really don't know too much, but if these Avatars are just glorified Mii's that you can customize and are exactly like Mii's otherwise (aka are featured in a handful of games) then I really don't see the point. As long as these avatars and the new UI don't get in the way of me finding what I need (since the current dashboard does that already to some extent with the Marketplace) then I'm good. If anything from what they showed it's probably Mii's done right as far as features and integration, but I just don't want the interface to suck because of them, is that so much to ask :P
Deviating slightly from that for a moment, I'm much more interested in the 'smaller' details of this new update. For example the aforementioned game installation, it's not a megaton, but it certainly opens up the possibility for some noticeable improvements in your favorite games. For example (how many times can I say for example in one paragraph) Mass Effect and GTA IV both suffered from some loading/pop-in issues due to the fact that the game was pulling more from the disc than from the allotted cache. Now I don't know how transfer speeds differ from the hard drive compared to the disk since I believe the DVD reader that comes with the 360 is at least a 16x reader, but you would imagine that not having to read from the disk would more than likely improve your game expereince. Besides, I guess what makes it all the more sweet is f you that it's optional unlike the PS3. It certinaly comes off as 'installation done right'.
I know I didn't cover everything, but I just thought I'd give my thoughts on some of the goings on today and with any luck I'll have a similiar post tomorrow and Wednesday for the Nintendo and Sony confrences tomorrow.