So, my fellow gamers, it is time once again for the Electronics Entertainment Expo. Of the big three (Microsoft, Nintendo, Sony) Microsoft kicked things off with its press conference this morning and they announced no small amount of stuff. So here’s the breakdown of what you may have missed:
The Beatles: Rockband – We’ve known about this one for a while. It’s coming out 9/9/09. Ringo and Paul came out to say how pleased they were with it. Ten of the tracks for it were announced and it was demoed on stage.
Is It A Big Deal? Yes, because it’s the first time the Beatles’ music has ever appeared in a game or anything of the sort. And whatever helps edge Rock Band over Guitar Hero, I’m all for it.
Tony Hawk: Ride - Mr. Hawk himself came out to demonstrate his latest game that includes a skateboard controller.
Is It A Big Deal? Umm, if you like skate boarding, sure, I guess. I couldn’t care less.
New Games Shown: Crackdown 2, Left 4 Dead 2, Splinter Cell: Conviction, Forza 3, Alan Wake, Halo: ODST – I loved Crackdown, so a sequel will be nice. I missed out on the original L4D but have played it a few times and enjoyed it so maybe I’ll get 2. The new Splinter Cell has been delayed a million times so it’s nice to hear from it again. Forza I don’t care about. The Alan Wake project has been plauged with issues just like Conviction so it’s good to see it up and running. Halo: ODST we’ve known about for a while, I’m still not all that interested to be honest with you.
Is It A Big Deal? A mild yes in most cases.
Is It A Big Deal? Yes. Any new full entry into the Halo series is huge for Microsoft.
Last.fm, Facebook, Twitter Coming To NXE – Streaming radio and the ability to check your favorite social networking sites will now be integrated into the dash.
Is It A Big Deal? Yes and a smart move if you ask me. Yet another way to get people sucked into spending time on the platform. I know I’ll try it out. Doing it through the PS3 or Wii in a browser is one thing, but having it integrated into the system and allowing screenshot uploading to Facebook walls etc, that’s something else. Good thinking.
Metal Gear Solid: Rising Coming To The 360 – The MGS franchise has been exclusive to Sony for years (just like Final Fantasy, but we all saw how that went last year). It has been their bread and butter and MGS4 is how they managed to get as many PS3’s out the door as they have.
Is It A Big Deal? More like HUGE. Big win for MS.
Project Natal – Probably the biggest bombshell of the conference. Microsoft announced a camera add-on for the 360 that will include facial and voice recognition and full body motion capture. No need for a motion controller like the Wii, instead you are the controller. They showed a video of a kid in a fighting game, two girls video chatting, operating the dashboard menus by waving your hands around etc.
Is It A Big Deal? Yes… on one condition: that it works. Just like when the Wii came out, it talks a good game but when you try it yourself something feels off. And Nintendo admitted something was wrong in the form of announcing Wii Motion Plus, the controller add-on that will make the system as responsive as it should have been from the get go. But as far as controller-less video gaming, I don’t see it taking over the industry anytime soon. I’ll believe it when I see it in action.
Ability To Download Full Retail Games From XboxLive – PS3 has already done it with a handful of games but now you will finally be able to purchase full retail games and download them directly to your 360’s hard drive.
Is It A Big Deal? Yes! Finally! I can’t wait until we get to the point of disc-less media and this is another huge step in the right direction that they have been dragging their feet on.
Microsoft’s Overall Showing – Impressive. A lot of content to the presentation this year as opposed to last. Nintendo is going to need a new flagship game (Mario, Zelda etc.) and Sony is going to need more than a new PSP to counter Microsoft’s early momentum.