Microsoft's 2012 Xbox Media Briefing at E3 happened on June
4th. We told you a day before what
we expected to see at the event, and sure enough, pretty much
every single rumor and prediction doing the rounds on the Internet
turned out to be true. It was an eventful press conference as
several new games, features and services for the Xbox 360 were
unveiled. We bring you the highlights:
Halo 4 and Forza Horizon were the major Xbox
360 exclusives to be showcased. Three Kinect-exclusive games to be
highlighted were Fable: The Journey, Dance Central
3 and Matter. Three brand new Xbox LIVE Arcade titles
were also previewed - Ascend: New Gods, Lococycle
and the Kinect-exclusive Wreckateer. Live demos and
trailers showed off the amazing Kinect voice command support in
Splinter Cell: Blacklist, Madden NFL 13 and
The biggest announcement of the day though, was that of
Xbox SmartGlass, a new cross-platform companion
app for smartphones and tablets that connects these devices to your
Xbox. SmartGlass will deliver additional content to your mobile
device, relevant to the TV show or movie you are watching on your
Xbox. And if you are watching a movie on your device, with
SmartGlass you will also be able to pause, and resume on your Xbox
from exactly the point where you left off.
Gamers will also be able to take advantage of SmartGlass.
Concepts of Madden and Halo 4 with SmartGlass
support showed how players could choose their game settings or
accept multiplayer invites on a tablet instead of the TV.
SmartGlass can also turn your mobile device into a remote control
for the Xbox 360, so you can scroll through the dashboard using
your phone rather than the controller or Kinect. SmartGlass will be
available worldwide for Windows 8, Windows Phone and even iOS and
Android later this year.
Microsoft also announced that a fully-featured Internet
Explorer for the Xbox is coming, allowing you to visit any
site on the Web from your console. IE will have support for Kinect
voice commands and, with SmartGlass installed on your phone and
tablet, you'll be able to navigate web pages via these devices. IE
will also launch later this year worldwide.
A new and highly-anticipated music service for the Xbox (and a
replacement of Zune) was also announced. The multi-platform
service, known previously by the codename "Woodstock," will be
called Xbox Music. Xbox Music will feature a music
library of over 30 million tracks and will be released for the Xbox
360, Windows 8 and Windows Phone.
Apart from SmartGlass and Music, on launch, Windows
8 will feature two more Metro style apps: Xbox
Games will let you play multiplayer games and earn
achievements, while Xbox Video will provide access to TV
shows and movies.
The Bing voice search will get an update that
will allow you to find content by genre. If the content is
available from multiple providers (for example, Netflix and Hulu
Plus), you have the choice to select the service for which you have
a subscription. Also, Bing voice search will now be available in 12
new countries and in more languages, including Spanish.
Microsoft Studios has partnered with Nike to develop
Nike+ Kinect Training, a Kinect-exclusive fitness
game that features a personal trainer, body assessment and a
highly-personalized fitness program. The game is geared mainly
towards professional as well as up-and-coming athletes.
Nike+ will sport Xbox LIVE integration that lets you
challenge other people to a workout. The game, launching this
holiday season, will also have a phone app. If you work out
regularly with the Your Shape games, Nike+ is
sure to take your fitness regimen to the next level.
And just as we'd expected, Microsoft also announced partnerships
with 35 new entertainment providers, including
Nickelodeon, Paramount and Machinima.
These providers will add to the 200 million movies, TV shows and
videos already available on Xbox. Microsoft has also partnered with
new sports providers to bring content from
NBA, NHL and WatchESPN. A vast majority
of this content will, however, only be available in the US.
A new feature for the 360 will make it possible for you to pin
your favorite games, movies etc. to the dashboard's Home screen, in
much the same way as you would pin a tile to your Start screen on
Windows 8 and Windows Phone.
Microsoft had confirmed weeks before E3 that no new Xbox
console would be unveiled at the event, and indeed, there
was no word about an "Xbox 720."
We're now looking forward for all this new stuff to launch, so
we can get our hands on it, especially SmartGlass.
watch a recording of the entire event here.