So E3 2011 is here and Microsoft kicked off the event in style. Here isa run down of some the stuff they unveiled at the event and my thoughts on it, along with a conclusion, enjoy!
New Dashboad Exeperience
Frankly, this should have come with Kinect from the start. But, programming cool stuff takes time so I am going to give them a pass on this one. Especially since it looks so dam slick.
NDE will bring all those wonderful Kinect voice controls into focus, letting you navigate the dashboard using your vocal cords and maybe a few gestures. It also combines Bing, Microsofts search engine, to hunt Xbox live for all content related to your query. Saying 'Xbox Bing Harry Potter' is a bit cumbersome and should really be changed to just 'Find Harry Potter' to make the Bing stuff less instrusive, but hey marketing is marketing and so this is what we get for now. It may change, you never know.
Some cool looking changes to Avatar's so that they actually look like you are coming too so that rounds out the NDE, which will be with you this fall/Autumn.
Kinect support in Mass Effect 3 and Ghost Recon: Future Soldier
Now this really got me excited for the future of Kinect. Yes, it is optional and yes it is obviously gonna make you feel like a total dumbass, but dam does it look cool and shows what Kinect is Capable of.
Mass Effect was shown to have voice command support, letting you speak what you want Shepard to say during conversations and actually call out commands to squad members, making the combat more fluid and dare I say it, immersive.
The Ghost Recon Kinect demo was for a feature called Gun Smith, which as the name implies lets you customize your weapons, allowing for up to 10 million combinations. Voice control can do this, but gestures make you look like something from the Iron Man movies, spreading your hands to open out a weapon to its component parts, then clapping them together to combine it again.
IPTV and entertainment features
In the UK there is a version of this already in that Sky Player lets you watch live TV assuming you have a multiroom pass, but more channels and voice controls could really make this stuff worthwhile.
Exactly what partners would be adding thier TV line-up to the 360 wasn't announced so this could just be something and nothing, but here's hoping, especially for the way my console is setup - the spare room on a TV with no aerial - that it works well.
The Halo Games
Belittle me all you want, Halo is my favourite game franchise of all time. I devour everything I can on it, the books, comics, games and movies (assuming that ever happens!).
So we have Halo Anniversary coming soon which is a very neat bit of fan service, but lets be honest, that is all it is. If you have played it on the original Xbox, you know what your getting here. Microsoft are a sneaky bunch though, and end the conference on a high: A sneak peek of Halo 4!
It was just an FMV, but Halo fans are anxious for a new trilogy and this will set off a brand new adventure for Master Chief and with no Covenant threat to speak off, 343 studios can go buck wild with new enemies and locations.
I am excited for the next year of Xbox 360. Kinect might actually come into it's own, the set top box ideal MS have been chasing for years could become a reality and Halo 4. Let me say that again Halo 4! Can Nintendo and Sony compete? lets find out!