All About Xbox
Monday's Microsoft E3 keynote was all about the Xbox 360. New apps, new services, and a slew of great-looking games will hit the console later this year, so there's a lot to be excited about if you're an Xbox 360 owner. Let's take a look.
Iron Galaxy Wreckateer--Summer 2012
EA Sports Madden NFL 13--August 28
The next installment in EA Sports' premier football franchise will feature support for Kinect voice commands, so you'll be able to call out plays and commands to your teammates while playing the game. EA demoed this feature by having Joe Montana take the stage and use the Kinect to call plays and score a touchdown. Madden NFL 13 will be available on August 28.
Improved Bing Search--Fall 2012
Microsoft's Bing search has been available on the Xbox 360 for several months now, helping users quickly search their library and the online marketplace from one central location. The new and improved Bing search will still allow you to do all of that, but will also let you search for movies by genre. The improvements are expected by the fall.
Internet Explorer--Fall 2012
The Xbox 360 will finally have the ability to browse the Web, thanks to Internet Explorer. Microsoft will port its browser to the 360 this fall, creating a "Web hub" where you can bookmark and store your favorite sites. You can use Kinect voice commands to navigate, or you can use your Windows Phone or tablet like a giant touchpad to mouse about the interface.
Microsoft SmartGlass Technology--Fall 2012
Also coming this fall is Microsoft's SmartGlass. The software will work with Windows Phone, iOS, and Android devices, and will allow you to connect your various tablets and smartphones to your Xbox for additional content. For instance, you'll be able to watch a movie on one device, while the other displays information about the actors. This functionality won't be limited to movies--games will benefit from SmartGlass, as well. You'll be able to draw out plays on your tablet in Madden, for example, and you'll be able to see match requests in Halo 4.
EA Sports FIFA Soccer 13--Fall 2012
Madden isn't the only EA sports game getting the Kinect treatment: FIFA Soccer 13 will support voice commands--and it will take note of the sort of language you use while in the game. If you get hostile and curse the refs for giving you a yellow card, for instance, the game will notice, and the in-game commentators will mention how angry you are. FIFA Soccer 13 will be available in the fall.
Turn 10 Forza Horizon--October 23
Rather than sticking with its racing-simulation roots, this new Forza title looks to be similar to the arcade racing previously showcased in the Need for Speed series. The trailer we saw for Horizon has players racing on highways and avoiding oncoming traffic, with some off-road action thrown in for good measure. The game, scheduled to be released on October 23 of this year, looks to be a full-throttle thrill ride.
343 Industries Halo 4--November 6
Taking place four years after the events of Halo 3, Halo 4 from 343 Industries puts you in the role of Master Chief and charges you with saving the crew of the downed UNSC Infinity. The Covenant is back, but you'll also be fighting even deadlier foes: new enemies equipped with powerful Forerunner weapons. Dust off your controllers and put on your Spartan helmet, because Halo 4 launches on November 6.
Activision Call of Duty: Black Ops 2--November 13
Another sequel to a hit game, Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 takes place in the near future, where advanced drones have become commonplace in combat. The plot seems to revolve around someone gaining control of a large army of these mechanical soldiers and unleashing them upon the United States. At today's keynote, we got a look at some new gameplay mechanics, including the ability to pilot vehicles during certain sections of the game (a Call of Duty first). The game is set to be released on November 13, and it looks like it will be a hit with fans of the first game.
Nike+ With Kinect--Late 2012
One of the most exciting pieces of news from the Microsoft keynote had to be Nike+ with Kinect. Available this holiday season, the game works with Nike's line of Nike+ fitness-tracking products, and tailors workouts based on how you move your body. The Kinect camera monitors your body's movements. You'll be able to challenge other players to workouts over Xbox Live, too. In addition, if you have a Windows Phone, you can set alerts to remind yourself to work out, and those workout sessions will be reflected the next you play the game.
Sports on Xbox Live--Date Not Announced
The sports-related news didn't end when EA left the stage at today's keynote. Microsoft announced that you'll be able to watch live sports in high-def on your Xbox 360, courtesy of ESPN, ESPN 2, ESPN 3, and ESPN U. You'll also have access to the programming on your Windows Phone or on Windows 8 tablets. The company didn't give a time frame for when this functionality would come to Xbox Live, so keep an eye on our E3 coverage for further updates.
Ubisoft Splinter Cell: Blacklist--Spring 2013
Ubisoft was at the conference to show off a demo of its latest Splinter Cell game, Splinter Cell: Blacklist. Sam Fisher is back, and in Blacklist he's attempting to stop a terrorist cell from accomplishing its nefarious terrorist goals. Like previous Splinter Cell games, Blacklist focuses heavily on stealth gameplay. However, this game also features several new ways to dispatch multiple enemies quickly, and the demo showed Fisher taking out an entire camp in a matter of seconds. Blacklist will support Kinect, as well. The game will be available in the spring of 2013.
Epic Games Gears of War: Judgment--2013
Just when you thought the war was over, the Locust are back to their old ways. While we don't know much about this new Gears of War title, we did catch a glimpse of Baird in the trailer, so we figure he'll be the main character this time around. Look for the game to hit store shelves sometime in 2013.
Twisted Pixel LocoCycle--2013
We're going to be honest with you: We have no idea what LocoCycle is about. The trailer suggested that players will act as a sentient motorcycle involved in some sort of espionage. The game is being made by Twisted Pixel (the folks who made Comic Jumper and The Maw). We'll have to wait until closer to its 2013 release date before we find out more about this Xbox Live Arcade game.
Ascend: New Gods--2013
If you're in the mood to stab some angels and stomp on some demons, look no further than Ascend: New Gods. New Gods is somewhat reminiscent of the God of War series, as you'll brutally smash and slash your way through legions of mythological creatures. Look for it on Xbox Live sometime in 2013.
Obsidian South Park: The Stick of Truth--March 2013
Developed by Obsidian, South Park: The Stick of Truth is an RPG in the South Park universe. You'll create your own character and team up with Cartman, Kyle, Stan, and Kenny in your quest to recover the Stick of Truth and save the world. No word on a release date yet, but judging from what we saw in the trailer, this is one game you'll definitely want to keep an eye out for.
Square-Enix Tomb Raider--March 2013
A reboot of a classic franchise, Tomb Raider from Square-Enix will tell the origin story of Lara Croft and her adventuring ways. Lara is much more reasonably proportioned this time around, and you'll trek around the jungle taking out enemies using your environment and whatever weapons you can pick up. The game is due out March 2013, so we have a ways to go before we see whether this reboot can save the series.