Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Caffeinated Thoughts on Microsoft's 2012 E3 Press Conference

If you ate all those coffee beans, how caffeinated would you be?
Coffee Beans
E3 2012 has wrapped up, and I have now watched Microsoft's, Nintendo's, and Sony's E3 press conferences over the last week. While watching each conference, some parts of them multiple times, I usually had me a cup of coffee next to me with more coffee in the pot. I tried to make sure I was alert when watching them, and paying attention to what was being said and shown.

With a week having now passed since the conferences, what are my caffeinated thoughts on Microsoft's 2012 E3 press conference and what coffee roast grade do I give it? Let's take a look!

The Brew
I don't own an Xbox 360, and it's the only "current" generation home console that I don't own. I did own an original Xbox though and have friends with Xbox 360 consoles, so I'm somewhat familiar with the exclusive games the console offers. So, with me not owning an Xbox 360, Microsoft probably had the most to gain from a strong conference and in attempting to sway people like myself that perhaps don't own one of the console yet.

Seeing Halo 4 start off Microsoft's conference this year I thought was pretty cool. The production values of the CG, and apparently live action, in the trailer shown seemed extremely high, and those production values remained not just in the Halo 4 showing, but for the remainder of Microsoft's conference. While I do not own any of the Halo games on the original system, I did play through both of them, and even completed Halo 3 on the 360 with a friend. Knowing how the Halo series has been important to Microsoft, I thought it was great to see the game get the initial spotlight.

Overall, I remember seeing 16 games specifically shown and/or talked about in some fashion during Microsoft's conference, and almost all of them had a trailer of some effect, even if it was only a 3D model with a voiceover such as LocoCycle's announcement.

I found the Smart Glass portion of the conference too long and it appeared scripted to me, and not an actual live demo of the application. One of the videos during the demonstration started playing about 1-2 seconds BEFORE the command was given for it to play, which is why I think the Smart Glass portion was simply a script being read from the teleprompter, while keeping up with what was happening on the screens.

While the Smart Glass portion was a little long, it definitely was not the worst portion of Microsoft's conference though. The bitter will be revealed a little later.

How did Microsoft end their conference? Probably with the biggest game of 2012, Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. They allowed more than 10 minutes of their show just for Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. The single-player campaign portion they showed, definitely looks to continue the over-the-top action of the recent Call of Duty games, and appears to be very well produced.
November 13, 2012 - The day millions of hours start being lost, and "sickness" spreads in the workplace.
The biggest surprise for me in Microsoft's conference though, was the Splinter Cell Blacklist trailer. I played through the first two Splinter Cell games on the original Xbox, but I haven't really followed the series this console generation at all. I wasn't sure what game the trailer was for at first, and when I realized it was a Splinter Cell game, it was surprising to me.

While this will be a mutli-console release, I thought the use of Kinect's microphone to call out to an enemy, was an interesting use for the accessory. I'm used to the slower paced movement in the original Splinter Cell games, but seeing the new game's combat and movement system in action, I thought was pretty cool, and hopefully the game keeps a good balance of the old game-play mechanics with the new.

Caffeinated Thoughts
So, overall I would give Microsoft's conference just under a "Dark Roast" coffee grade, for them sticking with the general rule of "Starting Strong, Ending Strong", but the middle could have used a little more work.
     Bitter - Usher, not just introducing a game, but then taking stage and dancing for an entire song. E3 = Electronic Entertainment Expo, not Choreographed Concert Caper.
     Sweet - High production values, and most of the games talked about had trailers, and many had "live" stage demos.

Agree or disagree? Think Usher's part was the best part of any E3 conference, ever? Any game in particular stand out to you, like Splinter Cell Blacklist did to me?

If you're interested in the Xbox 360, a new console bundle was released last week as well:


  1. Microsoft was ushering in a new era...

    Blacklist was the highlight of the Microsoft conference for me. I have enjoyed a few of the games, but really liked the most recent one, Conviction. This game borrows a lot from Conviction, so I'm sure I'll like this one as well. Those fast paced action kills were new, but i can't remember the name of them now. The bomb that Sam called for was a little over the top for a stealth game though.

  2. "Microsoft was ushering in a new era..."
    LOL, a reference to my "Bitter" point?

    Yea, I think the fast paced action kills were called "executions"? I remember seeing that on the screen a few times, but being that I didn't see the controller, not sure if that's what it was.

    As for the "bomb" part, yea...it definitely isn't slower paced with that type of arsenal at his calling. Hopefully that isn't very often.

    Speaking of Conviction though, did you play the original games, as well as Conviction?

    Thanks for the comment/feedback!

  3. Yeah, I could have done without the Usher segment, but those games hold absolutely no appeal for me. I thought that Splintercell looked cool, but I liked Conviction when I played it a few months ago. For me though, Halo 4 and Gears of War were probably the highpoints of the Xbox conference (I guess you could say Tomb Raider was too, but since it wasn't an exclusive I attribute that more to the developer than Microsoft who simply let them show it off during their conference time).

  4. Usher's part might not have been bad, if it was an actual demo of the game. It wasn't though, which is my big problem with it.
    My problem with Tomb Raider? OVER THE TOP! Way, way, way, way, way, way, WAY over the top. Which to me, starts making it less realistic. Balance is importance, but the amount of garbage she was going through in the trailer would probably cause her to die of a heart-attack from the adrenaline rush alone, they don't even need to shoot anymore.

  5. Haha, well - I would imagine some of those events are spaced out 'over time' and they crammed more of the highlight moments into the demo for the sake of the demo, but maybe not - hard to say until we actually get to play it.

  6. If they are spaced out, say over 2-3 games, then I'm okay with it. If not...TOOOOOO MUCH!

    I don't know, I'm probably burned out from all the "over the top" script writing in tv shows, that has bad guys launching rockets, grenades, mortars, landmines, and 50,000 rounds of ammunition...from 10 attack helicopters, EACH at the "hero" and nothing happens. The hero then blinks, and the entire enemy force is destroyed...

    BALANCE puhlease.


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