Microsoft’s E3 Conference Disappoints, Leaves Ball in Sony’s Court

June 4, 2012Written by Sebastian Moss

With Sony having announced or leaked a ton of potential E3 reveals already, many were worried that they would have the worst press conference of the big three. However, they won’t have to show off much to beat Microsoft…

For the past couple of hours, I’ve been furiously covering the Microsoft conference on our multiplatform sister site GameRevolution and, frankly, I was not impressed. Sure, I love Halo and Gears as much as the next guy, but other than that, what was there? We’ve already had two Microsoft press conferences that focused on multimedia features that are worse than a PC, Kinect support, lame dancing and Call of Duty. We didn’t need a third.

Sadly, we didn’t see a single AAA new IP, although I have a small glimmer of hope for XBLA games Ascend: New Gods, LocoCycle and Matter. While we didn’t really see much on LocoCycle or Matter, there was a brief showing of Ascend: New Gods, which is a hack and slash game related to Gods of what looks like Greek and Roman lineage, who fight and go to War with each other, possibly in the hope of reaching Ascension. Yeah…

So, between the terribly out of sync, mumbling performance of Usher and the slew of not-actual-exclusive-just-annoying timed exclusive DLC reveals, there was only one real announcement that could be of interest – Xbox Smart Glass. Basically, you can play a game like Halo or Madden or watch a TV show on your 42″ LCD, while syncing up your iOS/Android/Windows phone or tablet and gain access to extra, “augmented” data on your second screen. I honestly can’t see the massive appeal of it, but it’s still a neat idea that might be able to match some features of the WiiU. But looking up and down between Halo on your TV and an iPad on your lap seems slightly hassle-some, especially because developers can’t make it too integral to games without alienating non-Smart Glass players. On GTTV, ex-MGS game head Peter Molyneux also questioned how many developers would adopt it, and whether it would just be an extra feature that they have to pack in, despite limited time and budgets. Time will tell on this one, but it certainly won’t reinvent gaming.

The only time I actually stopped wishing it was over already was when South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker came on to quip about Smart Glass and show off their game South Park: The Stick of Truth.

How many times have you been watching an episode of South Park and thought “I’d like to be watching this on my television, while hooked onto my mobile device, which is being controlled by my tablet device, which is hooked into my oven, all while sitting in my refrigerator.”?

With creative powerhouse Nintendo showing off an entirely new platform for release later this year, I was hoping Microsoft would go big and show us why this gen still has some life in it. Sadly, this didn’t happen, and now it’s up to Sony to best Nintendo at this year’s E3.