E3 2011: Microsoft Press Conference Predictions

By Colin Tan on June 6, 2011, 11:58AM EDT

Darryl: Last year Microsoft's press conference was very underwhelming. It focused a bit on the core games, but the vast majority of it looked at Kinect and Xbox Live features like ESPN integration. They also had an entirely separate conference dedicated to Kinect. This year their core games experience is looking a bit more flimsy, with Gears of War 3 and Forza 4 their big hitters. It would be great if they could show some creative flare and show off some new IPs, or at least get 343 Industires to say more about their upcoming Halo projects. It seems as though we could be in for a rather interesting show though.

Colin: Microsoft have been rather tightlipped about the future of the Xbox 360. It's not only almost certain, but pretty much guaranteed that a whole lot of Microsoft's showing will be focused around Kinect, much like last year. However, core hits like Gears of War and potentially another Fable and Halo may give Microsoft the boost they need. Kinect titles like Star Wars and Kinect Sports 2 aren't exactly the most inspiring of titles, but I suspect the mainstream market will eat them up like a monkey on a cupcake. Surely, the star of the show will be Activision's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, a series that isn't shy about flaunting its Xbox 360 affection. Not to mention, a Mass Effect 3 exclusive showing ought to seal the deal.

Adam Ma: I'm not entirely sure what to think of Microsoft's alleged E3 lineup, in the same fashion that I'm not entirely sure what to make of Microsoft's 2011 current game lineup. A remake of Halo: Combat Evolved and of course another Forza should make its way to the showroom floor, but outside of that there's really not too much that Xbox fans can look towards if they don't own a Kinect. Regardless, just about every single rumored title has been announced for the Kinect, which on one hand compared to the Playstation Move is pretty impressive; unless you hate motion sensor system in which case that's mostly depressing. On a much brighter note there is always Codename: Kingdoms to look forward to, a gladiator oriented violent action game by Crytek which is supposed to be an Xbox exclusive. With almost no real information surrounding the project so far, it's hard to tell what sort of game it's going to be, but seeing a non-shooter Crytek title should be interesting in an of itself. At the very least it will be nice to see what sort of high-detail environments the development team can come up with; a fluid, violent, hack-n-slash action title is always welcome news in this FPS laden industry.

Jordan Douglas: As usual, Microsoft have kept their hand every close to the chest leading up to E3. We know Gears of War 3 will be front-and-center, but there must be more. Expect announcements from the platform's staple franchises - something Forza, Halo, and Fable related - and evidence of strong third-party support. It wouldn't a Microsoft press conference without timed-exclusive downloadable content for the next Call of Duty and a few other big names. Kinect will also play a major role this year. The platform's lifespan has been characterized by unexpectedly strong sales out of the gate, followed by a complete lack of new software to build on that momentum. It's for Microsoft to prove it's more than a throwaway toy. They'll likely show a relatively balanced mix of core and casual offerings. Will we see the return of Crytek's Codename Kingdoms? Regardless, it could very well be too little, too late.

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