While Microsoft dominated the last couple of E3 conferences with the Kinect motion sensor add-on, this year's show was a more muted affair in the sense that the software giant didn't have any major new hardware announcements to make. But that's fine: Instead, Microsoft is coming from a position of strength, with fairly dominant console sales for the past year. So this year's show was all about software, much of it for the Kinect. And in that sense, Microsoft and its partners really delivered. Here are some of the more notable games (and other software) they introduced at the show.
Microsoft dramatically overhauled the Xbox 360 Dashboard less than two years ago but this year it's doing it again, and if you've been paying attention to all the Windows 8 Start screen news from last week (like this image) than the new, new Dashboard (as I think of it is going to look awfully familiar.
Xbox 360 games
Microsoft announced a slew of new Xbox 360 games at E3. Here are the ones that really stood out in my opinion.
Halo 4 and Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary
This year (November 15), Microsoft will release a new version of the original Halo called Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary that includes an HD reimagining of the original campaign as well as six classic multiplayer maps.
For holiday season 2012, Microsoft is prepping Halo 4, with the tagline "Heroes never die."
Microsoft's latest driver gets a super-realistic graphics treatment.
Tom Clancey's Ghost Recon Future Soldier
I've always had a soft spot for the Ghost Recon games, which are sort of a tactical, team-based alternative to the Call of Duty games. But it's been awhile, so it's nice to see the series return.
The first Bioshock was a gorgeous, gorgeous game with a killer plot that was only somewhat sidetracked by highly repetitive game play. I never did play the second one, though it's still in my queue. But the new game appears to go in a new direction--still alternative history, of course, and reboot the series. And on that note, it looks beautiful. I'm very curious to see the actual game, however.
I still maintain that the Kinect has about the same longevity as the Wii--virtually none at all--but it's fascinating watching Microsoft really try to make a go of this thing. This year, we're starting to see the first "real" games for Kinect, but I think those are mostly going to bomb. So far, from what I can tell, the cartoonish kiddie stuff is going to be the most viable, at least for now.
The least said here the better.
Fable: The Journey
Kinect Star Wars
Kinect: Disneyland Adventures
Kinect Sports: Season Two