Microsoft led off the lineup of developers and publishers who will be showcasing everything new in digital entertainment at this week’s E3expo in Los Angeles.
While the news out of Redmond was very heavy on the Xbox's capabilities as a media center, there was still plenty of gaming news and announcements for the coming fall and following year on the world's best-selling console.
Microsoft Studios president Phil Spencer proclaimed this year as the "biggest year ever for games on the Xbox." Not surprisingly, Microsoft opened the event with an extended trailer for "Halo 4" (in stores Nov. 6), which looks to be the most high-profile console release this calendar year.
Gamers were treated to first looks at "Splinter Cell: Blacklist," "Gears of War: Judgement," "Tomb Raider," "Resident Evil 6" and "Call of Duty: Black Ops 2," among others.
A large focus in almost every game presentation was the growing integration with Kinect voice and motion commands, hinting at a future where the boxes of big game titles won't just read "better with Kinect," but perhaps "Kinect required." The movement sensing peripheral was used to demo this year's "Madden 2013" with football legend Joe Montana taking the stage to call plays.
Montana wasn't the only celebrity brought in to fire up the crowd about new Xbox games. "South Park" creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone briefly took the stage to talk about the "South Park" RPG, "The Stick of Truth," which they are developing for a March 5 release date.
To cap things off, R&B star Usher performed, promoting the upcoming "Dance Central 3," another Kinect-reliant entry in the Xbox 360 lineup.
While it seemed a long shot, some gamers will ultimately be disappointed that there was no mention of the next console, dubbed unofficially the "Xbox 720." Given that such a device probably won't go to market any earlier than 2014, Microsoft doesn't want to diminish the amount of hype invested into the blockbuster titles that got serious extended play at their E3 event.