Monday, June 14, 2010

E3 2010: Microsoft Keynote Highlights

microsoft-e3-2010-js-0057 Microsoft’s main topic at today’s keynote was already revealed beforehand: the motion-sensing Project Natal was renamed Kinect, and we got our first look at the final hardware. Since the company’s biggest cards were already on the table, everything else was pretty routine – we can certainly expect sequels to major franchises and cruddy Kinect launch titles just in time for the holiday season!

Read on after the jump for the big stuff.

  • Activision and Microsoft have worked out a timed exclusivity agreement for the next three years, at least where Call of Duty is concerned – map packs and other DLC will show up on the Xbox first before moving on to other platforms.
  • Gears of War 3 appears to offer a multiplayer story mode.
  • Fable 3 is dropping on October 26 – prepare to ratchet up your expectations only to have them crushed by reality.
  • Halo: Reach.
  • Microsoft’s Kinect can enable voice control for the Xbox Dashboard – the presenter navigated through several menus, all by bossing a computer around.
  • ESPN will be bringing both live and on-demand sports exclusively to the Xbox – the NBA, MLB, NCAA, and college football were all name-dropped, representing most of the sports that Americans care about even when they’re not winning. Also, there will be soccer. This is all free for Xbox Live Gold members.
  • Some basic Kinect demos were shown. Imagine the depth of play you find in Wii Sports and put it in high-definition, and you’ll just about be there.
  • Kinect will launch on November 4, with 15 Kinect-enabled titles in tow. Expect them to be hit or miss – the two established properties I see in the list are Sonic the Hedgehog and The Biggest Loser, which should put the quality in context for you.
  • The new, smaller Xbox that was teased in an Italian ad yesterday (see below) is totally for reals: It’s smaller in size, offers a 250GB hard drive and built-in Wi-Fi, is $299, and is shipping to retailers right now. Expect them to be available later this week (if you can find one).
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That’s it! Expect continuing coverage of E3 all this week, including the upcoming Nintendo and Sony keynotes!