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E3 NEWS ANALYSIS


We’ve been dancing for thousands of years. There’s no reason Just Dance sales will slow. Yves Guillemot on Ubisoft’s E3 blockbusters p16


Xbox plays it safe with focus on blockbusters


Few surprises from current No.1 console manufacturer  SmartGlass cracks tablets by Michael French


MICROSOFT showcased a string of blockbusters coming soon to Xbox 360 at E3. But it dodged the chance to talk strategy, numbers, or next-gen in its expo-opening press event. Last year, Microsoft division chief Don Mattrick said the firm would become the No.1 selling console on the market for the year.


12 months later, with the target hit, Xbox didn’t dwell on its successes. Mattrick chose not to talk about numbers, save for the confession that this was his 17th E3, and instead said 2012 was all about “the greatest line- up ever”.


It was hard to disagree with that claim. But it was hard to see much


evolution, too. Some of the most popular current franchises were on display to show Xbox’s power in the here and now, and ignored the burning issue about what happens next. Halo, Splinter Cell, Forza, Tomb Raider, Resident Eviland Call of Duty dominated proceedings, with


Microsoft promoting these tent-pole acts in a week that put core gaming before dreams of market expansion. The only Xbox casual audience hat-tips were a new fitness game Nike+ and Dance Central 3. Even Kinect’s gesture abilities mostly took a backseat, with demos for Splinter Cell, FIFA and


8 June 8th 2012


Maddenshowing off voice-only gimmicks. With three new Microsoft IPs – Matter, LocoCycleand Ascend– only mentioned briefly, it was left to Xbox


SmartGlass to give a flash of something new. SmartGlass is a new


‘companion’ service that will launch for Windows, Android and iOS devices. The app connects to Xbox Live and promises to allow add-on second-screen functionality to some games or other


entertainment, including databases of background info. But it is still in its conceptual phase, and doesn’t stream games or control them directly like Nintendo’s Wii U.


Usher (above) performed on stage to promote Dance Central 3, but the emphasis was on blockbuster franchises like Halo 4 (inset)


Microsoft


promoted its big brands in a week that put core gaming before market expansion.





It was also mocked extensively by special guests South Parkcreators Trey Parker and Matt Stone. Mattrick, stood off- stage at this point, probably didn’t see that as a “great” moment – a crack in Microsoft’s transparent attempt to answer questions about living room audiences lost to multi-screen media consumption.


Nevertheless, with such a recognisable range of games boasting Xbox-first content or exclusive support – each of them set to be multi-million sellers – any dissatisfaction in the Microsoft camp was likely short-lived as it maintained the upper hand with franchises at least.


E3 PREDICTIONS: HOW’D WE DO?


Recapping the results from our guesswork last week. (Can’t win ‘em all)


NINTENDO


Wii U release date New name for Wii U Competent digital marketplace Major third-party exclusives Zeldafor 3DS PokémonRPG for 3DS Another Metroidrevamp GTA Von Wii U ‘Hilarious’ Miyamoto entrance Surprise comeback, e.g. Ice Climbers Wii U


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MICROSOFT 


Loud, obnoxious Black Ops II demo at opening (close enough) NextBox


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New Xbox 360 model Revamped Kinect New Kinect titles Gears of War 4 Renewed commitment to Games For Windows


Cloud gaming/streaming service More entertainment services for Xbox Live Tenuous use of celebrities


SONY


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PlayStation 4 Move price cut Gran Turismo for Vita or GT6 Medal of Honor/EA exclusives New Valve partnership PS Vita price cut


Finally admits 3D is rubbish The Last Guardiancancelled Uncharted for Move


Cloud gaming/streaming service


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THIRD PARTIES Grand Theft Auto Vdated Metal Gear Solid V announced New Skylandersrivals, (e.g. Rayman, Moshi Monsters) The return of Burnout Activision’s Bungie franchise Destinyunveiled Valve console unveiled Final Fantasy XV


More present day shooters Respawn Entertainment’s first project detailed More games packed into Q4


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