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Tuesday, 02 June 2009 06:56

MS E3 Press offers few surprises

Written by David Stellmack

Image

Fudzilla readers aware of most announcements

The Microsoft press conference kicked off this year’s E3 with what most Fudzilla readers would consider mostly confirmations and specifics about news that we previously have written about. While there were a couple of new things, the biggest announcements were news that didn’t surprise us too much.

Microsoft confirmed the Natal project, which is the new motion control device that they are working on. The demos featured a variety of combined movement and voice recognition to deliver a new kind of immersive gaming experience, according to Microsoft.

The news that Snake and Metal Gear are coming to the 360 is something that we have been hearing rumors about for several months now. It was confirmed today that the new Metal Gear title, Metal Gear Rising, has been in development for the Xbox 360 for some time. A few mysteries remain surrounding this announcement including whether or not this title will be an exclusive for the Xbox 360. Also, does this now confirm the fact that MSG 4 will be forever a PS3 exclusive and will never be ported to the Xbox 360?

A new free avatar-based racing game will be released for the Xbox 360 called Joy Ride that will feature a micro purchase transaction model. While Joy Ride itself will be free to all Xbox Live Gold subscribers, enhancements to Joy Ride, including tracks, cars, game modes, and avatar items for use in the game will be available for purchase. The game is being developed by recently acquired Big Park Studios.

A Facebook and Twitter application will be making its way onto the Xbox 360, which will expand the platform to add to the growing list of Web services style applications. While the presentation of the Facebook and Twitter demo that was shown followed the new NXE style format, the look and content was pretty much what you can get from a regular Web browser.

Halo will be back on the agenda again with the new Halo 3 ODST, and although it will be priced at $59.99, Microsoft says that there will be enough content to warrant the high price tag. In addition, a special collectors’ edition will be released that will include the Halo 3 ODST game, along with a Halo themed wireless controller that will be included in the package for $99. Another new Halo title is also in development, called “Halo Reach;” it is being developed by Bungie.

The Spring of 2010 expects to be big on the Xbox 360 with the release of Final Fantasy XIII and Alan Wake. As for titles with release dates that are a little closer, look for Forza Motorsport 3 in October and Left for Dead 2 on November 17th.

Microsoft also announced that avatars will be getting a market place of their own. This new market place will be called Awards and Props to add some additional customization and tweakability to your avatar. Zune Video will be coming to Xbox Live in full 1080p that will be part of the launch of their new service. What might be more unique about the relaunch of the service is in the ability to gather your friends into an Xbox party and view video together. Microsoft claims that they will be able to deliver high bitrate 1080p content with little or no delay using a shifting technology that will allow the video to stream in a lower rate and increase to a high rate as more of the video is cached.

Perhaps what is more puzzling were the things that Microsoft didn’t talk about at the press conference today, including what Rare is working on with regard to avatars. The exclusive next episode for GTA IV is coming, but Microsoft said nothing about it today. There was also no more news on community games or what the Zune integration with Xbox Live will look like or offer long term.

While some are already calling the Microsoft E3 press conference a bit less than they expected, we think overall it was not bad. It will be hard to really know till after the Sony and Nintendo press conferences of where Microsoft’s rates in relation to the others. Still, we think that Microsoft might have a trick or two up its sleeve before it is all over. Our sources suggest that Microsoft might have at least a couple of smaller announcements that will be made later today.


Last modified on Tuesday, 02 June 2009 09:28

David Stellmack

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