Well, the first press conference from three giants (Sony, Microsoft, & Nintendo) has come and passed. Microsoft was pretty embarrassing to watch last year at E3, so anything this year would be an improvement. With less shenanigans this time around, they stuck to announcing several new features for Xbox Live as well as revealing a few new games that are in the works.
Xbox Live Apps
Fans of ESPN will be happy to learn that later this year Xbox Live will be hosting 24-hour ESPN coverage through the Dashboard. NBA and NHL will also be getting their own virtual channels in the 360 App store. Other new networks include Nickelodeon, Paramount, Machinima, and UVideos.
Microsoft also announced a new music service, allowing Xbox Live users to discover new bands and share songs with their friends. The service supports of 30 million tracks.
Internet Explorer is finally coming this fall to the Xbox 360, joining the PS3 and Wii who have had their own browsers since their very first year. You can soon use Kinect to browse the web with ease. The 360’s Internet Explorer also reformats some webpages to make them easier to view on HDTVs, unlike some of its competitors.
One of the more impressive announcements of the press conference is the release of a new technology called SmartGlass. SmartGlass enables users to control their 360 using smart devices such as phones and tablets. This allows them to interact and control content such as games and movies, similar to the Wii U GamePad’s capabilities. One example shown is the ability to browse online friends and multiplayer matches on a tablet, while simultaneously playing Halo on the big screen. This allows the player to join a new match on the 360 directly from his or her synced SmartGlass enabled device. Microsoft also demonstrated how one could, while watching Game of Thrones on their 360, simultaneously bring up a map on a synced tablet that tracks all of the characters travels’ throughout the show. You can also access guides to all of the different houses and lineages, along with an episode timeline. SmartGlass will be releasing for Windows phone, iOS, and Android this fall.
Dance Central 3
Harmonix also took time out of Microsoft’s press conference to announce their next installment in the Dance Central franchise, Dance Central 3. With a live performance by Usher, it seems he will be joining the virtual cast as an in-game character.
Splinter Cell Blacklist
Ubisoft looks to be reviving the Splinter Cell games starring stealth expert Sam Phisher. They showed a live gameplay demo for the new title during the press conference, taking place on the Iran and Iraq border. Splinter Cell Blacklist hits stores during the Spring of 2013.
Microsoft opened its press conference with a new look at Halo 4. They showed a live action trailer, cutting into a cinematic which was followed up by actual gameplay footage. Check out the cinematic and gameplay below. Here is a video showcasing how SmartGlass will play into the Halo experience. Halo 4 is set to release later this year on November 6th.