Microsoft

Kinect

As predicted, Microsoft was in full Kinect mode this year, laying out an amazing selection of games and features to improve the Kinect and make it more relevant to a hardcore audience.  It was actually quite a nice surprise to see so many games and developers coming forward with uses and pledges to make Kinect games. In a not altogether shocking turn of events, Mass Effect 3 will make use of the Kinect in a variety of ways (we were really only shown the voice control) but the star of the Kinect show had to be Ghost Recon: Future Soldier’s Gunsmith Mode, it wowed and amazed everyone who saw it.

While there were games targeted towards a younger audience like Disneyland Adventure or Sesame Street: Once Upon A Monster (Funnily enough they were the worst looking games for the Kinect, actors clearly faking the performance, much like the Star Wars game last year.) Kinect really did shine when it came to the more hardcore element, reaching behind you in Ghost Recon: FS to reload your weapon, or yelling for Liara and Garrus to move up in Mass Effect… this is exactly what the Kinect needed, exploring it to its full potential and making it relevant to hardcore gamers.

Xbox Media

One of the biggest announcements of the conference was that Bing, Youtube, and Xbox TV will be coming to 360 owners in the coming year. Bing will allow users to search for any and all media and content available on the 360 or the media networks its already associated with. An example of Bing’s search on Xbox 360: Just finished playing LEGO: Pirates of the Caribbean and want more? Search Pirates and have all of the movies and games  available at your fingertips.

Accompanying these additions will be a dashboard overhaul, giving the 360 a much cleaner and organized look. The new dashboard is broken up into nine tabs, Bing,  Home, Social, Live TV, Video, Games, Music, Apps, and Settings. This new look really does improve the overall feel of the system, I was getting tired of the dashboard anyway so this is a marked improvement.

Of course, all of these components and additions are Kinect compatible, like voice searches for Bing.

Halo

It’s back! Not only are we getting an HD updated version of Halo: Combat Evolved, but Halo 4 is up for release next year. The anniversary edition looks great, but it was completely forgotten the moment the Halo 4 trailer came up on screen. At the very end of the conference, Don Mattrick came back on stage to announce a new trilogy, the lights dimmed, the trailer appeared on the screen, and gamers faces slowly went from casual boredom to utter disbelief and excitement.  Halo 4 will be the first real Halo title not to be made by Bungie, so clearly all eyes are on 343 studios to make something amazing out of this trilogy.

 

Sony

PSN Outage

As expected, Jack Tretton took the stage and spent a good deal of time apologizing to consumers, partners, and retailers alike for the inconvenience brought on by the PlayStation Network outage. While you may not realize it, Sony’s PSN going down was far more of a problem for the many companies that sell via the PlayStation Store, this outage cost them millions, so I can understand Tretton giving them a serious apology on stage. According to Sony, 80 titles are currently being developed for the Vita and are scheduled for release.

PS Vita

Fans of the PSP rejoice, Sony’s newly unveiled Vita (Previously codenamed the NGP) is truly a thing of beauty. The only real description of the Vita that needs to be made is how well it runs Uncharted: Golden Abyss, this game blew minds. Graphics were just out of this world for a handheld, and the functionality of the front and back touch screens allowed for some seriously cool actions. Possibly the best thing about the Vita? The price. At only $249 for the standard model, and $299 for the model with 3g coverage, this new system is both extremely powerful and perfectly affordable.

Nintendo

All Things Zelda

With its 25th anniversary just around the corner, half of today’s show was Zelda related.  Zelda: Links Awakening is the first title available on the 3DS Virtual Console, and is now ready to download. Ocarina of Time 3D will launch next week, sure to amaze fans like myself.  Zelda: Skyward Sword will launch this holiday for the Wii, and will come with a gold Wii remote to celebrate their 25th anniversary. Zelda: 4 Swords will be available to download for free this September. Not to mention the exciting series of 25th Zelda Anniversary Symphony Concerts that will be going in on around the world.

Wii U

Turns out the rumors were true. Nintendo dazzled the crown with the unveiling of their new console, the Wii U (and its remote). The first console of the Next Gen series, the Wii U boasts some fairly impressive hardware for a Nintendo system, this hardware will allow Nintendo fans to play games like:

  • Arkham City
  • Darksiders 2
  • Tekken
  • Assassin’s Creed
  • Ninja Gaiden 3
  • Dirt
  • Ghost Recon Online
  • Metro: Last Light
  • Aliens Colonial Marines

All of the games above were shown and look amazing, even Aliens: Colonial Marines.

Nintendo released a spec list shortly after the conference, so here you go, drool over the wonder.

Release: 2012

Height of about a width of about 46mm × 172mm × Depth 268.5mm (excluding protrusions)

The new controller is 6.2 inches, 16:9 button controller that combines what is familiar and the touch screen, slide the two pads is attached.

This rechargeable controller power button, HOME button, arrow pad, A / B / X / Y Buttons, L / R buttons, ZL / ZR is attached to the button. In addition, accelerometers, gyroscopes, vibration function, camera, microphone, speakers, sensor unit is equipped with a stylus.

Wii Remote (or Wii Remote +) can simultaneously connect up to 4. Classic Controller and Nunchuk, Classic Controller PRO, and Wii Balance Board, or any input device that corresponds to the Wii controller.

New hardware for high-density optical and 12cm, Wii can play for a 12cm self-loading optical disc (disc type will automatically draw) with a single drive.

1080p, 1080i, 720p, 480p, 480i compatible. HDMI, Component, D terminal, S-terminal, corresponding to each of the composite cable.

AV Multi-output and output from the HDMI output terminal supports 6CH PCM linear.

In addition to the internal flash memory, SD memory card or external USB can be extended by using the hard drive capacity.

Multicore-based IBM Power ®

4 USB 2.0 has a single pin.

The new hardware backwards compatible Wii games.


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