Microsoft has just concluded their 90 minute briefing for the media to kick off the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) for 2012.  At one point during the demos and discussions nine out of ten world wide trending topics on Twitter were related to the briefing.

As expected Microsoft revealed many things that were speculated about in the press and online over the last few weeks.

The briefing was available on multiple platforms including the Xbox 360, Facebook, on the web at E3 Companion, mobile phones and on Spike TV.  Based on what I saw on Twitter during the briefing the Xbox 360 app crashed and stopped streaming at some point during the event and the quality of the streaming on the E3 Companion website seemed like Standard Definition most of the time.  I also saw at least one person tweet that they could not watch the briefing on their Windows Phone although it was supposedly available to mobile phones.  On the E3 Companion website there were chat rooms and periodic surveys to track interest in what was being shown but unfortunately it was confusing to move between chat rooms and seemed to lag behind the briefing segments.  I did get feedback that the Facebook streaming worked well.

There was a lot of info put out though despite the glitches with the world wide delivery of the event so here are my notes from the briefing as I watched:

  • Excellent Halo 4 gameplay video to start things off.  The graphic for Halo 4 on the E3 Companion website indicated Halo 4 was the first in a trilogy of games for the franchise.  The five and a half minute video is available on YouTube. The official E3 Halo 4 trailer is also available. Microsoft’s Halo 4 press release is here.
  • More Kinect integration with long time franchises FIFA13 (avail Fall 2012) and Madden13 (avail 28 August 2012). These were world wide premieres for these games. On FIFA13 the ability to make subs and on field strategy calls without leaving the game action.  On Madden13 pre-snap audibles can be made with your voice.  Splinter Cell Blacklist will use Kinect and you can call out to an enemy “hey you” and get them to turn around for the take down.
  • Microsoft Studios showed off some new Fable The Journey, Gears of War Judgment, Forza Horizon (avail 23 October 2012).
  • Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft’s Chief Marketing Officer for the Interactive Entertainment Business, came on stage to introduce new Bing search options and entertainment additions to the Xbox console.
  • This fall users of the Xbox 360 Dashboard Bing search will be able to search for genres and any results will show all the possible viewing options based on your subscriptions to other services so you can choose and watch directly from the results. This search will also expand to 12 more languages and countries. Here is a video showing some of the entertainment options that are now available.
  • 35 new entertainment partners were announced including Nickelodeon, Paramount, Machinima and Univision.
  • In the sports area the NBA and NHL are coming to Xbox and ESPN will expand to a 24 hour a day channel filled with their many different properties including Monday Night Football.
  • Xbox Music was announced and described as the music service we always dreamed of building.  If you are running the Windows 8 Release Preview the Music App shows what this will likely look like on your Xbox 360 console this fall.  The service will be available on the Xbox 360, Windows 8 PC’s, Windows 8 Tablets and Windows Phones. Here is a video of the service.
  • Kinect has a new partnership in the fitness area with Nike.  Things like assessments of your health, regular updates to your progress and reminders on your smartphone that you need to workout are included. More details are in the press release right here and here is the demo video.
  • Xbox SmartGlass was announced confirming the rumors that had been floating around.  This service is going to connect your Xbox, smart phone, PC, tablet and other devices together to enhance your experience whether you are gaming or watching a favorite TV show or movie.  The descriptions used indicated this was going to be a cross platform service which makes a lot of sense and fits in with recent actions by Microsoft to go cross platform with their apps. The press release with more details is here and here is a video demoing some of the new features.
  • They showed Xbox SmartGlass interacting with Madden by creating a play that could then be used in the game on the Xbox 360 console.  TV shows had extra maps to show you where the action was happening during the episode.  Makes since to take advantage of the mobile devices we have around us at all times. I mean how many times have you searched IMDB while watching a move or TV? See what I mean!
  • Internet Explorer to the Xbox 360 consoler was announced which also confirmed those rumors as well.  Interaction will be via Xbox SmartGlass – no keyboard necessary on the console. It is due this year.
  • It was also announced that Xbox Entertainment is coming to Windows 8 PC’s and tablets so that experience we get on our Xbox 360 consoles will be in our hands when Windows 8 releases late this year.
  • Several gameplay videos were shown for upcoming games:

So I guess you could say nothing Earth shattering came out but a few rumors were confirmed.  The Xbox 360 and I am sure its future iterations are going to give folks a viable option to cut the cable line into their homes with all these options available.

Well maybe the TV side of that cable since they will still need that cable internet to get all of this stuff to their console!