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DigitalNoob Round Table: Microsoft Media Briefing

Posted on June 4, 2012 AT 01:00pm


Microsoft today kicked off E3 with their media briefing. We were treated to lots of trailers and gameplay videos, as well as new partnerships and additions to the Xbox family. Did they ace it or was it a flop? The DigitalNoob staff voices off. As always, we want to know what our readers think so leave a comment below with your opinions. And keep it classy!

Rich McGonigle:

I simply don’t understand why people are demanding more games. Since their systems do more, you need to expect some of the press conference to be devoted to them. The SmartGlass technology looks incredibly hot, and I’ll definitely be utilizing it. Microsoft making it work on existing devices is extremely smart, and helps keep costs down. As an answer to the Wii U controller, this is appealing to me as it doesn’t force me to spend money to enhance my games or movie viewing. The expansion of more apps definitely keeps me interested. Games? Oh yeah…I’ll let someone else talk about those.

Luca Zanzi:

This one had highs and lows. It started off on a great note with the Halo 4 live-action video and gameplay segment, which actually rekindled my interest in the franchise after many years. I’ll steer away from complaining that a lot of non-gaming related bits were shown, since it’s the Electronic Entertainment Expo and not the Electronic Gaming Expo. I like having all these live and on-demand video services, so I welcome seeing even more of it added to the mix. I wish they would have had more about SmartGlass, which is the obvious next step in home entertainment integration. I didn’t expect it to extend to games, and while we have yet to see what the Wii U’s touchpad controller can do, it really looks like Microsoft has decided to wage war in that territory. Better yet, it’s being made available on the portable devices we already own.

It was great seeing trailers for what look like big games from Signal Studios and Twisted Pixel, but those 5-minutes of Usher “presenting” Dance Central 3 were a painful waste of time. Black Ops 2 as a closing gameplay segment looked gorgeous, but it was hardly a surprise and that’s what really irked me since we are used to Microsoft dropping jaws with a completely unexpected announcement at the end.

Can we stop spoiling the surprises a full week before E3?

Stephen Fournier:

I have to say, the Microsoft conference was pretty mediocre all things considered. We got a nice look at a lot of gameplay footage for the coming year, but overall it wasn’t anything we didn’t know about. Halo 4 started off the show and it looked suitably pretty. My hopes for something actually impressive during the conference crawled into a hole and died soon after the new SplinterCell game footage ended. The conference was filled with a lot of Xbox dashboard additions that gamers don’t need, and more Kinect stuff. Beyond the game footage we saw, the conference was rather disappointing with nothing we didn’t expect.

The only thing that actually redeemed this conference for me was the showing of Xbox SmartGlass, a new way of connecting your Xbox to all your other devices. Instead of getting in your way like the Kinect tends to, SmartGlass actually add to your experience only if you want it to. Sure, it will also help you browse the web on your Xbox, but really we already have computers for that. Overall, this conference would have been pretty big if not for one little problem. They told us the majority of the key points in advance through various press releases; this would have been a really impressive showing for Microsoft if only it were a surprise.

Also, did we really need Usher?

Russ Pirozek:

The Xbox conference had a little bit of everything, and nothing that wasn’t expected. While revealing trailers and news about several high-profile games, most of those games were either titles people already knew about, or ones quick reveal trailers that made little sense and said next to nothing about the game itself. They also pushed the Kinect a bit too much, with nearly every featured game using the device (some of which were pretty cool, such as Madden). Smart Glass is a great concept, but with using so many different devices, the system may have a hard time keep up with them all. If it works, it’ll be an incredible step forward, but as far as potential to stall goes, it’s right up there with the Zune.


Xbox now has more non gaming related s**t to clutter up your dashboard, oh and with Kinect commands too! Fingers crossed they will be releasing a Food Channel app soon and an Antiques Road Show app would make my pants tight.

Amanda Marron:

While there are some strong contenders from the Xbox Briefing, all together, I wasn’t all that impressed. Games wise, Halo 4 looks amazing and gave me chills. I am definitely looking forward to it. I will say that the Black Ops 2 gameplay trailer may have turned my negative stance on it towards the positive. Other than those two, the only other game to catch my eye was Matter. It looks like Portal with balls (and no, not those kind of balls).

I’m a bit concerned about the influx towards the Kinect. It seems that every game that was shown had some kind of its gameplay connected to it. While it is probably too soon to tell if this will be good or bad move, I’m skeptical to say the least.

The non-game entities of Xbox are pretty interesting. I am excited to see NHL partner with Microsoft, and to see ESPN lay everything they’ve got on the table. In my opinion, the more apps the better. The same goes for SmartGlass. I will definitely be utilizing everything it has.

On the negative side, what is the deal with Xbox Music? That just about sets the last nail in Zune’s coffin. And did we really need Usher to promote yet another Dance Central? That time just felt wasted.

Rudy Colon:

Starting off the show with Halo 4 was a good idea to get people pumped, at least until we saw that they decided to make Black Ops 2 last. The conference was not surprising at all even with the Splinter Cell announcement and for the most part, they focused on more of all the media features on the Xbox than more of the games. It was like a roller coaster. Started off at the tip top and provide the crowd with a high, and little by little my interest went down until we were just it just seemed flat and boring. Then Usher came along and showed most of us why we play Dance Central on easy difficulty. We didn’t even get a preview of Gears of War Judgement because they felt it wasn’t worthy of the time and was the really the only “surprise” Microsoft would have had to end the show with had it not been revealed early. Instead we’re stuck watching Black Ops footage.



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