Up next was Peter “Gift of Gab” Molyneux who didn’t say much that we didn’t already know. He revealed that Fable III would be arriving on October 26th of this year and gave us a shiny new trailer to look at. Afterwards Phil Spencer hit the stage to talk about Microsoft’s newest “exclusive partner” and displayed a live-action trailer with bloodied gladiators, and a very prominent Crytek logo. It was a trailer for a new Xbox 360 exclusive game titled Codename Kingdoms, with not much else to go on other than tons of speculation.
Spencer then introduced Bungie’s Creative Director, Marcus Lehto, to dish the dirt on the highly anticipated Halo: Reach. We were able to view some gameplay footage of the campaign. The most interesting part, however, was when a Spartan jumped into a USNC rocket ship and took the fight above the atmosphere. It was like an epic space battle out of a Star Wars game. It didn’t seem as cheesy as one might think and it’s certainly intriguing to think of where they could go with it.
Finally, the most anticipated part of the conference arrived when Marc Whitten, Xbox Live Corporate Vice President, took the stage to tell us about the new innovation that is Kinect. With “no barriers and no learning curves”, Whitten explained that the simplicity in this new technology will bring a revolution to the way we see entertainment. The ability to find multimedia content, watch a movie or play a game without a remote is within their vision of the future.
After his presentation, they began to show us exactly what Kinect was capable of. Everything was as simple as he said it would be. Signing in to Xbox Live with the wave of your hand seemed so effortless it was almost laughable. Waving yet again then takes you to a central “controller free” hub page with direct access to Netflix, Zune, Facebook, Last.fm and your regular Xbox Live features such as your Avatar editor, friends list, personal profile and games.
Since Kinect is capable of sensing every body movement, moving your hand in the air controlled everything just like you were controlling a mouse on a computer screen. It was a sci-fi movie come to life. Kinect is also able to recognize your voice with its own built-in microphone. Saying the command “Xbox” will activate the voice recognition and display an appropriate command under each item in the current menu. The presentation then took us through the Zune menu where you are able to access every particular feature in the application in this “controller free” manner. The same aspect also applies with every other application on Xbox Live, whether it’s Facebook, Netflix or Last.fm.
Whitten went on to speak of a brand new feature that will be included with the release of Kinect. “Video Kinect”, is a fully integrated video chat that joins all of your friends from Windows Live Messenger and Xbox Live into one central location. Mark also announced an exclusive partnership with ESPN to bring the sports fan of your home on board. They will be including over 3,500 live sporting events, most of which will be broadcast in HD, to Xbox Live with the launch of Kinect. This will be a free feature to Gold members and will include everything from professional Baseball, Basketball, Soccer and a multitude of college sports.
To close out the Microsoft press conference, the Creative Director for Kinect, Kudo Tsunoda, took the stage to show six of the fifteen brand new games that will be available for launch on November 4th. The first game, Kinectimals, is a game very much in the same realm as the infamous Milo demonstration from Peter Molyneux at last year’s E3. Instead of a ten-year-old child that you interact with, this game features over 40 unique animals that you can participate in various activities with. Kinect Sports is basically an Xbox version of Wii Sports in which you can build your Avatar into an all around sports star. Kart racing fans will have a blast with Kinect Joy Ride, and Kinect Adventures is a mix of 12 obstacle course games that are similar to interactive Disneyland rides.