McCartney and Ringo live, a new Metal Gear Solid game, a 3D motion sensor, Zune TV for Xbox 360 with 1080p instant-on--what didn't Microsoft bring to its E3 press show?
We knew something was up when Microsoft kicked off (as opposed to wrapping up) with two of the most celebrated musicians in rock history. The message? "Hey, it's the Beatles!" The subtext? "Hey Sony and Nintendo, we ain't messin' around." Classy, and not a little intimidating. Next? A battery of trailers and actual game demonstrations, including some tasty announcements for stuff like Epic's first Xbox Live Arcade game, Shadow Complex; Valve's zombie-blender sequel, Left 4 Dead 2; and a new stand-alone Halo game, Halo: Reach.
Games were foremost on Microsoft's itinerary, but the company still managed to sneak in a bunch of new media and social networking services, illustrating their commitment to broadening the Xbox 360's role in its users' lifestyle. Think live TV piped through the new Zune TV service, plus 1080p streaming video, instantly delivered.
Then there's Facebook and Twitter, fully integrated with the Xbox 360 dashboard. Track friends, issue status updates, and view your pictures, all in one easy-to-access spot. Cha-ching.
But the two biggest show announcements were probably (1) Konami finally hopping in bed with the Xbox 360 to deliver a brand-new Metal Gear Solid game, and (2) Microsoft's no-controller motion-sensing bombshell. Bypassing Nintendo's Wii and dramatically one-upping Sony's Eye Toy, "Project Natal" is a way to interact with games without wires, widgets, or other flimflammery: You are the controller.
The consensus among attendees of last year's E3 was that the show trended toward flash-in-the-pan disappointing; in contrast, this year's gathering is already surpassing expectations.
E3: Back and Better Than Ever
E3 2009: Microsoft's No-Controller 'Natal' Steals the Show
E3 2009: Microsoft Announces Games-on-Demand for Xbox Live
For all the latest E3 news and opinion: twitter.com/game_on