E3 2012 - Most Significant Happenings from Microsoft's Xbox 360 Showing

Bill Loguidice's picture

My Xbox bookSo, as the first day winds down, I thought I would toss out a few impressions of what I thought were the most significant announcements from the early part of the first day, which focused on Microsoft and the Xbox 360. Next, we should expect to see Sony's stuff and then Nintendo's major Wii U announcements, both of which I'll also discuss.

Smart Glass
Smart Glass is Microsoft's multi-screen platform that allows Android, iOS, and Windows smartphones and tablets to interact directly with the Xbox 360. This is similar to what the Wii U's tablet controller will offer and something that Sony hinted at, but has yet to implement, with Vita and PS3 integration. Microsoft's offering is the only generic variant of the technology, though, which, while having a higher cost of entry, is also the only one that is likely to work with technology you already have. Examples of Microsoft's tech includes watching a movie stored on your iPad on your TV, or controlling the upcoming Internet Explorer from your Android phone. Game integration possibilities include calling football plays on your tablet that get implemented in the Madden game on your Xbox 360. This could also mean something like a map on your tablet that syncs perfectly with your onscreen actions on your 360, say in Skyrim. The obvious downside though with this is having to put your smartphone or tablet down to pick up the controller and vice-versa, but certainly for media control, it's welcome.

Internet Explorer
Microsoft has finally reversed their long held stance against it and decided to add a Web browser to their console. It was technically worth them waiting because with some combination of Kinect and Smart Glass, the experience might actually be far more usable than we've seen on competing platforms to date. I still have my doubts about it being as good as a quality PC or tablet experience, though, but at least the potential is there.

More Entertainment Services
NBA, NHL, Nickelodeon, etc., to add to the already large number of audio-video streaming apps and services. Overall, this puts the Xbox 360 ahead as the most complete set top box package, if not necessarily the most cost effective.

The Usual Types of Game Announcements
Halo 4, new Madden, Call of Duty, Dance Central 3, etc. Nothing particularly notable here per se, though many of these do seem to have some type of interesting Kinect and/or Smart Glass integration. I think we're also seeing the current platforms maxed out audio-visually, so hopefully fine tuning of the gameplay can now be focused on for the remainder of Microsoft's and Sony's generation.

By the way, for those who say that Microsoft's presser was "boring," "dissapointing," etc., keep in mind this is the last real e3 for a very, very long generation, and there's no way either Sony or Microsoft could possibly compete with a new console on the Nintendo side, so all that's really left is to do more of the same and try to further expand the appeal of the existing systems to the mass market. It will be Microsoft's and Sony's time to lay it all on the line in e3 2013 for their new consoles holiday of that year.

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Bill Loguidice
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Maybe, but...
retroc64 wrote:

I was talking about the current gen. The Wii forced you to play with alternative controllers. You didn't have a choice. You bought the system, and that is what you got. Bad, bad move. This never works.

That would make sense if the Wii wasn't by far the best selling console of this generation. It didn't have the goods to sustain its momentum though for the duration of the generation due to a variety of factors, including the aforementioned controls, lack of HD, lackluster late-life Nintendo software support, etc., but it's hard to fault Nintendo's approach with the Wii given its success, especially for the first half of this generation.

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retroc64
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Not by gamer

For sales yes, but that only has to do with it being cheap, and getting non-gamers to purchase it. If Nintendo is to survive, it needs to cater to gamers first, not non-gamers. Yeah, gimmicks like the controller work for non-gamers, but they don't make for a lot of purchases.

Also, don't look at console sales. They lose money on console sales. It is the game royalties that they really make the money, and they didn't do the sales XBox has. At least I don't think.

I will probably buy the Wii U too. I hope it does better this time.

Bill Loguidice
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Not exactly...
retroc64 wrote:

For sales yes, but that only has to do with it being cheap, and getting non-gamers to purchase it. If Nintendo is to survive, it needs to cater to gamers first, not non-gamers. Yeah, gimmicks like the controller work for non-gamers, but they don't make for a lot of purchases.

Also, don't look at console sales. They lose money on console sales. It is the game royalties that they really make the money, and they didn't do the sales XBox has. At least I don't think.

I will probably buy the Wii U too. I hope it does better this time.

Nintendo never lost money on the Wii hardware, unlike Microsoft with the 360 and Sony with the PS3. The usual model is to sell the hardware at or near cost or at a loss and make up the loss on software royalties and accessory sales, which are always marked up until such time you can get your manufacturing costs down on the hardware. Historically, Nintendo does not practice that on hardware. In fact, it's my understanding that the 3DS is the most notable instance of Nintendo losing money on the hardware, but that's only after they did the drastic price cut from the launch price.

Again, every way you cut it, Nintendo sold more consoles and sold more first party software than either Microsoft or Sony this generation. That's a fact. It just doesn't seem like it now because Wii sales fell off a cliff and Nintendo dropped significant support about a year or so ago. They had a ton of sales in the bank and it will likely keep them well ahead regardless of how well the Xbox 360 or PS3 sell before their respective next generation replacements come out.

Anecdotally, I'll agree that overall the Wii failed to satisfy core gamers, who pretty much have the system moth-balled at this point, though of course Nintendo will always have their die-hard fans. You kind of have things mixed up, though... Targeting the core gamer is easy, targeting everyone else is tough. Nintendo has been very, very good at that with the Wii and DS in particular, much like Apple with their mobile products. That type of audience is where the real money is at. You want to target the core gamers early on and once that audience of millions is satisfied, you then want to expand to the tens of millions of the rest of the public...

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clok1966
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Love this discussion, can see

Love this discussion, can see both sides. I really liked the Wii mote at first, but (and i have said it a few times) game slike metroid whch where fast action and split second timing.. and had you shoot doors to open them.. JUST BECUASE IT was a Firrst party nintendo game it had some slow stupid door open that used the wii mote.. ZERO game play value, 100% show off of the Wii mote abilities.. iT actually bothered me enough i quit playing the game.. which otherwise used the wii mote well and was an ok game. When you make parts of a game to fit the controler before you think aobut fun its just wrong.. The upside is the Wii didnt do this very often.. and If i was asked about it quite honestly I enjoyed most games (that i deemed fun) quite a bit. Games Like Boom Blox, Elbits, all where almost new gameplay mechanics that where suprisingly fun. The problem was they where not succesfull.. the games that sold on the Wii would have sold on any console that nintendo sold.. mario world 12 thousand, Link and the search for the 18th game, Metroid 22, etc.. I wont understate the Party games seemed to do well.. but that was mostly a bi product of a "craze" the Wii had reached a level of public love.. Like a Pet Rock, a Lava lamp.. evenygody had one, not so much as they wanted it, but you where just suposed to want one, so many pruchased and it never got used.. some who never played games purchaseed and found it fun.. and I even quite enjoyed the Party games with friends.. but with any CRAZE it ends.. and the Wii did end.. it sells bleow average now. and nobody can really name a "major" release for it nowdays.. its a no show -Now-today- but it was the winner of this gen for hardware sold.. plain and simple.. they won the hardware sales battle, and lost the video game war in the end.. not something that has really happened before..

What the wii did was gamble and show us that we can do many things in new ways.. plain and simple there would be no Kinect , No MOve.... (good or bad) if the Wii handt done something special.

But I am very much on the side of .. why.. if it doenst make the game better I dont want it.. I dont like the "becuase we can" thing for games Im buying. And while nothing is forced as c64 says.. nobody has to buy it.. some things are as close to "we decided we want you to buy this".. games that could be played just fine with gamepads, but will only work with oddball controlers.. this is not right in any way. Im really looking at the New kinect mech game.. While I dont think it could be done better with a controler in its current state (in fact it couldnt) I worry some of the neat features will end up being huge "kinect show off's" and not good game play.. This game will be my lightning rod for Kinect.. this is of course just me... but up to the point I love some of the features.. but dont use any of them.. Alot of its was fun for a few minutes.. but tablet games where I swipe a screen with a finger translated to moving my arms in front of Kinect is not a great leap in my mind.. BUT!!!! that mech game.. will be.. if all the stuff you see is not just a cake with all frosting and no cake in the middle.. Of course the Dance games seem to work well with it.. (but they also worked well with $20 mats) and its branched to exercise stuff quite well.. but the average gamer.. is not a excersier.. Will i have used Move the most.. I will simply say its Wii mote.. and while I feel it works fairly well.. its the biggest flop .. wanna be.. to late.. no support, no must have games.. , just bad.

The new Wii U does worry me with size.. the jag control was blasting into laughing stock for its size and many buttons.. yet when set on top an Old Xbox controler its almost smaller.. when button counts on current gen gamepads are compared.. they are about equal.. how a console does is a far bigger indicator of how it and its games/gamepads/ etc.. are rembered.. If the WiiU does well nobody will care if the controler is big.. but if it slips even a little the press will pounce on every detail and the hate will generate.. Nintendo is (imho) in a far worse place now then whenthe gamecube came up 3rd.. being last pretty much leaves UP as the only direction to go.. Now they where top in the strangest way.. Pure hardware numbers.. but the sell throuhg on games was not good.. it was actualy so bad many 3rd parties quite making games after the top tier games failed to even come close to matching the sales on the 2 losser consoles. So in the end teh big question will be.. will eh people who bought A Wii that has been collectiong dust pick up a newer one? will nintendo strike gold twice.. I honeslty cant see it.. it was a fluke.. right thing, right time, perfect storm.. it cant happen again.. But I said it couldnt happne once and was wrong.. never underestimate the "pet rock" ability of something..

its been discussed here to no end, the moble platforms. gimicks are not going to do it.. The Wii gimick worked .. I still feel Kinect and Move are fails (up to this point).. add ons that cost as much as the base console (makreting guys wet dream, consumers worst nightmare.. no longer does the printer cost $10 but the Ink cost $50...(HP perfected this business model) now the Printe cost $100 the Ink cost $100 the Paper costs $100... Look at it big picture.. $150 for a base console, $150 for an addon (kinect, move), $70 for a game (half the price of the console!!!!) the moble paltforms may not have teh Skyrims/ Alumars, MOH3.. but they have games like angery birds.. which .. more people play.. for FREE!!!!. You have to start judgeing gameplay.. sure Skyrim ( still a huge favorite of mine) has 100's of hours of play. And yet a free game , Angery Birds has as many people playing 100's of hours too.. so is one better then the other.. I think if you walked down an average big city street.. and asked every person.. Angery Birds would have more love then Skyrim buy a longshot.. Heck i bet you could take the bottom dollar on both it would win too, even being Free. Dont see a skyrim doll, but there are Angery birds plush toys for dogs, cats, kids, adults..

MS and sony and Nintendo dont have -current- mobil platforms that are succesfull .. really the only succesfull ones now are the phones, sure handhelds are still selling ok.. but jsut like consoles that market is changing way faster then these companies want to admit.. they dont have a horse in that race so they are peretending its not happneing.. they are praying consoles will hang on.. and they will, but we have seen the glory days.. I really think this is the real reason MS and sony havent rushed to beat each other on console gnerations..it took forever to break even this gen.. next gen is quite possibley a wash ... they could win or lose as easy either way. the current hadrware is selling just fine, they are making a profit. Any new harware (unless something happens) wont be the jump the prevouis generation have been. Those $500 NEW consoles that look slighlty bettter then the $200 old ones wont sell. the only hitch will be if Wii U does well, or HE WHO NAME SHOULD NOT BE SPOKEN (mobile) takea bigger chunk faster then they expect (my prediction).

Whoa.. can you tell i been working late hours and not posting.. i let lose with a big ..all over.. slightly releated.. meandering post.. with oyu two discussing with such clear posts.. this is going to ruin a nice thread.. sorry bout that..

retroc64
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Very Good Post

Actually you support a lot of what I said clok1966. Thank you for your input. The real fun of Armchair Arcade is discussing your opinions with professionals like Bill and Matt. It's like talking political theory with Barrack Obama or Mitt Romney. I wish more people would take advantage of this amazing opportunity. Thanks for contributing.

Back to the topic. I am VERY SURE that any controller, even touch controls, get in the way of traditional gaming genres. This game is a classic example. You could easily do without the controller. It might be fun for very young children or very old adults, but that's about it. Again, I don't mind when alternative controllers are sold as accessories, but I think they don't make good general, default controllers.

I think Nintendo has actually learned there lesson. With all the camera, touch, microphone, and kitchen sink junk they stuck on the controller, they kept the traditional controller layout this time. I just worry it might be a little bulky. I also worry that the failure of Wii third-party software will make it harder to get great title on the Wii U.

Bill Loguidice
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Nintendo
retroc64 wrote:

I think Nintendo has actually learned there lesson. With all the camera, touch, microphone, and kitchen sink junk they stuck on the controller, they kept the traditional controller layout this time. I just worry it might be a little bulky. I also worry that the failure of Wii third-party software will make it harder to get great title on the Wii U.

I agree that Nintendo has learned their lesson for the most part. The only thing they didn't do with the Wii U was next generation-proof the technology in the sense of raw horsepower, though it remains to be seen if it's just more or less on par with the 360 and PS3, or exceeds them to a noticeable degree. With that said, these are the known specs to date, with no specifics on CPU or GPU, which would probably really help us to know its real potential:

Dimensions: 1.8 in. high x 10.5 in. deep x 6.8 in. long (4.57 x 26.67 x 17.27 cm)
Weight: 3.41 pounds (1.5 kg)
CPU: IBM Power-based multi-core processor
GPU: AMD Radeon-based HD GPU
Storage: Internal flash drive, SD cards and external USB storage devices are supported
Media: Optical discs (both Wii and Wii U format)
Connectivity: EEE 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, four USB 2.0 ports supporting Wii LAN adaptors
Video output resolution: 1080p, 1080i, 720p, 480p or 480i
Video output connectivity: HDMI, Wii D-Terminal, Wii Component Video, Wii RGB, Wii S-Video Stereo AV and Wii AV

Anyway, as for the third party stuff, it should in theory work out much differently this time around because unlike with the GameCube, which had lower capacity discs, or the Wii, which lacked the necessary resolution and horsepower, the Wii U is at least as good as the competition's present best. The x factor of course is how Nintendo's first party software - which is always guaranteed to sell extraordinarily well - will impact the sales of third party software, which on the Wii consisted of several notable hits, but many more slow sellers. The fact always remains that outside of the core gamer, everyone else only buys a handful of games for their systems in the whole time that they own the thing, and in Nintendo's case, those handful of games could be all theirs. Again, everything is in place for things to be different this time, though.

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retroc64
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You bring up a good point about power!

I won't lie. I love the graphical capabilities of my PS3, but ....

(you have to love the BUT)

I thought the Wii's graphics were great. I didn't like the output resolution, but I think the graphics are fine. It just looked a little fuzzy because of the 480p. When will the words "good enough" be used when talking about graphics?

On another topic: I just picked up a new copy of Sid Meyer's Pirate for the Wii for $6.99, and the Metal Slug Anthology new for $14.99 at Kmart. I wonder if this is the time to start collecting Wii games?

clok1966
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I think that is part of what

I think that is part of what makes you a Game player or a "gamer" i game al the time, hence i play games.. any game.. be it cards, video, or even board. I will never judge a game souly on graphics.. and if it wasnt talked about so much.. that part would never hav influnaced my descison on the last gen.. I never saw the wii as the "weak" console.. i knew it had alot less horsepower but seldom did a game PLAY better becuase it looked better.. Another of those truths we all agree on i think, graphics dont make the game.. but having nice ones usre dont hurt it either.. i think we hvave a wierd double standard just like when we judeg people.. (and actual studies show) prety or attractive cna overcome alot.. a person who is far more qualified often is not picked for a job becuase of looks.. as game are almost all sold on scren shots and vidoe game movies.. looking good counts bigtime.. once bouhgt then you have to judge gameplay.. poor model, but the one they use.

The Wii neve failed in my eyes in any way.. the people making games for it did.. either by pushign crap..or buy making me use the wii mote for stupid stuff to show it off.. as i say teh games that worke.. wow.. a new control style and fun!

Bill Loguidice
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If Halo 4 plays smoothly when

If Halo 4 plays smoothly when it comes out looking like this, then I think we can well and truly call this generation officially maxed: http://www.ign.com/articles/2012/06/06/e3-2012-we-enlist-in-halo-4s-spar...

That would also be a prime example of why you want console generations to go on so long.

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Mark Vergeer
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Entertainment services / Microsoft offerings

Microsoft didn't show anything that got my juices flowing.

Okay so all the big names are offering something resembling the remote play thing Sony initially started with with the PS3 and the PSP. I wonder if any of the companies is going to do some patent war action thing as these things do seem awfully similar. Nintendo going dual analog stick... Won't that anger Sony? Or Microsoft? I hope not. I am curious after the glass thing though and how it will work on devices other than Microsoft's.

The enhanced or added entertainment services probably won't have any value outside of the US. Oh it is possible to actually rent movies on the console in the Netherlands but things like Netflix or other offerings are non existent which is a crying shame.

The Indie games still are NOT available in the Netherlands which also is a crying shame. I have to use my US account with PayPal funding and temporarily turn it into a gold account to be able to download Indie games - so it is possible to access those through some sort of loop-hole - it is not something for the general public. Oh and actually stopping the gold on the Paypal US account was only possible by calling the Microsoft customer service in the US and explaining the situation. They did revert my US account back to a Silver account while I retained access to the Indie games I got. How difficult is it to bring INDIE games to the country that the 360 was actually launched in? There are no big international media firms prohibiting licensing as the content in those Indie games is all user created right? So what it all boils down to is simple laziness and not providing a good customer service.

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