E3 is happening again. Last year was a let down by many people’s account, and you may or may not agree, but thie year is rumoured and hyped to be bigger and better.
First of the many conferences was the Microsoft presentation yesterday. Focusing mainly on the Xbox 360, the highlights included a look at the new Call of Duty, Modern Warfare 2 as well as the next Rock Band, The Beatles. MS pulled out all the stops by having a big green luminous stage as well as Ringo AND Paul there to show off the new multi-vocal ability of Rock Band. Excitingly, both of those games have a 2009 release date.
For the more distant future there was the Natal Project. Already one-upping Nintendo Wii’s motion sensative controller and Sony Playstation 3′s Eye. The Natal Project uses camera-type sensors to pick up body movement for all kind of interaction with the 360. Examples shown were playing driving, sport and fighting games. Voice recognition was also demonstrated as well as face detection and memory. It all sounds very exciting and futuristic. And being announced by Steven Speilberg, the man who gave us the cool touch interactivity future in Minority Report, made it even better. But already people are sceptical and it may be some time before we see this in our own homes. MS promised touch sensitivity with Surface years ago and the Windows’ voice recognition is notorious for its bugs. Some press whould get hands-on with Natal tomorrow, so we’ll have better takes besides just what MS feeds us.
Game fans will be happy to see more information about Alan Wake finally arriving. A very promising thriller game that has been in development for a long time. There was a quick tease at the Metal Gear Solid universe stretching to the 360. This is a big hit to Playstation’s stable of prize horses. Now Tekken, Final Fantasy, and MGS are all an option 360, with only Gran Turismo left- Reasons to get a PS over a 360 are dropping. Also anounced, but not so exciting, was Tony Hawk Ride (with a skateboard peripheral), Crackdown 2, a Left4Dead sequal, Halo Reach, Twitter intergration to Xbox Live as well as Last.fm. There was no more information on the Zune being better set-up with 360 interaction, which is what many specualted after Zune HD was announced last week.
Sony and Nintendo will need to really roll out something big if they want to compete against Microsoft’s Xbox 360. Well, Sony will have to. Nintendo only need to announce a Mario game.