Microsoft E3 Press Conference
This year's Microsoft E3 Conference was, and I quote, "all about the XBOX 360". Indeed it was since no next gen console was announced but instead, the focus was put on new features for things you most likely already own: an XBOX 360, XBOX Live, a TV, a smart phone and a tablet. Of course, they've also demoed and announced quite the exciting range of new games.
I found that the outstanding feature it this year Microsoft Conference was the introduction of XBOX SmartGlass coming this Fall. This powerful feature will connect all your devices to your XBOX Live account. It's very similar to Nintendo's Wii U Gamepad however it will utilise devices you already own by installing a Windows Mobile, Android or iOS app on your tablet and/or phone. Which means that if you already own one of those devices, an XBOX 360 and a Kinnect, you'll be able to enjoy all these next-gen like features that will be coming to the XBOX system and network this Fall without any expensive hardware upgrade.
This will embodied what Microsoft described as Multi-Screen Entertainment. For example, if you like to watch sports via XBOX Live, game and player stats as well as news and scores will be fed to your phone or tablet while you watch the game on your TV. And of course, all of this will be shareable with your friends via integrated social connections (I guess that's a fancy way of saying Facebook and Twitter connectivity).
Internet Explorer for XBOX was also introduced, bringing the first web browser to XBOX. SmartGlass will then turn your phone into a mouse which will let you use the usual gestures, like pinching to zoom or swiping to pan, to browse the web on your TV.
Check out the full demo below:
XBOX Live and Kinect Voice commands:
There were some major aditions to the XBOX Live family including new entertainment providers like Nickleodeon, Paramount Movies and Univision. Sports fans will be thrilled by the addition of NBA and NHL games as well as a 24/7 live feed of WatchESPN all via your XBOX.
Microsoft also introduced XBOX Music. It's what it sounds like it is: yet another music service. It'll give you acces to over 30 million tracks, enable you to enjoy, discover and share music across all plateforms (XBOX, PC, phone and tablet).
In order to support all this new content, Bing Voice Search algorythms were updated. For example, you'll be able to search by movie genre using voice commands like "Bing Comedy".
Game releases and new features:
New titles will include Kinect voice commands, wether you're using the classic "Hey you!" to get a gard's attention in the upcoming Splinters Cell game or telling your teammate you're open in FIFA '13. Check out this NFL Madden '13 demo where NFL Quarterback Joe Montana calls plays using Kinect:
Here are some of the notable game release announced at the Microsoft conference (in no particular order):