In case you missed it earlier today, we now know from Game Informer that Gears of War Judgment will feature class-based multiplayer, among other things. Expect more on Judgement during the conference, fairly obviously.
- Halo 4 E3 live stage demo (video)
- Resident Evil 6 live stage demo (video)
- Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 DLC exclusive to Xbox 360 first
- Gore Verbinski Kinect project announced
- Dance Central 3 announced
- LocoCycle unveiled
- Ascend: New Gods announced
- Xbox Music announced
- Tomb Raider DLC coming first to Xbox 360
- Forza Horizon release date announced
- Xbox SmartGlass streaming service announced
- FIFA 13 Kinect features detailed
- Splinter Cell Blacklist confirmed
Well, yes, everything the platform holder has said so far points towards nothing happening on the next-gen front at its E3 conference this year.
However, that isn't to say we won't get some hints about the future, or that we won't hear about things like multi-screen strategy, subscription services and other evolutions of a business model that's about much more than just Halo and Gears.
Microsoft knows E3 is a core gamers' event though, so there will be plenty of the latter. Expect to see Gears of War Judgement, Halo 4, Forza Horizon and other first-party titles. Expect a lot of third-party stage demos, too - we'd be surprised not to see Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, for example, and Tomb Raider was a hit last year so why not again?
Hopefully they'll lay off all the Bing stuff this time, but Kinect will feature too. Just hold your breath for those bits if it's not your bag.
Robert Purchese, out in LA for his first E3, will be reporting live from inside the Galen Center, and Tom Bramwell (hello!) and others may be throwing in some updates too.
The other platform holder conferences this year both take place on Tuesday from a European gamer's perspective: Sony's is at 2am UK time and Nintendo's is at 5pm. Yes, those of us in the Brighton office will be suffering by then. Join us!
And there's been some movement on the Alan Wake 2 front, judging by tweets from Remedy Entertainment's Sam Lake. Set in a town named Ordinary?
Karl Stewart from Crystal Dynamics has just tweeted saying that Tomb Raider will be at the MS conference. "We have an awesome piece of the game that's going to blow your mind!"
We're testing our video feed and audio levels in the office, so I chose Eurogamer's default test material.
Ooh, VGleaks has posted what it says are screens capped from the Gears of War Judgment trailer, which hasn't been released yet.
Less than two hours to go now. Word from VG247 is that we won't get to see Phil Harrison rumbling on-stage during the Microsoft conference, which is a shame. I expect Don Mattress is a virtual certainty though.
Hurrah, more leaks! "Splinter Cell: Black List" screenshots, this time from Gamekyo.
We're in the queue! In front of senior Codemasters and Capcom executives. In your faces, people who actually make games.
I'm wearing pink to denote format neutrality. Gamesindustry's Matt Martin is carrying a briefcase because he's All Business. Bertie and Fred are carrying packed lunches.
Forza Horizon-branded cars just drive past - a yellow Lamborghini Gallardo spider and a BMW 6 series drop top. Then Turn 10's Dan Greenawalt walked by with Ralph Fulton, creative director at Playground Studios which is making the game. I got to visit Playground and see the game a couple of weeks ago - look out for an in-depth story after the conference.
By the way, Matt and I will be joining the legend that is John Teti for a podcast this evening to discuss the Sony and Xbox conferences. Should be available by the time you wake up in the morning.
On the shuttle bus from the hotel we sat next to EA tech bod Richard Hilleman - "EA's Carmack" according to Matt. He was drawing technical diagrams on squared notepaper. Probably the next Xbox. Awesome.
Not really related to Microsoft (at least not any more), but Peter Molyneux just talked about 22 Cans' first 'thing', an app called Curiosity.
Hello you cheeky readers you! It's Bertie and we're in position at the Galen Center for Microsoft's E3 conference. EA top dog Peter Moore is seats along from us, armed with his fierce, Ming the Merciless stare.
There's a giant central screen and two adjoining displays that could be ears, if you think like I do. The lights are bright, Xbox green. There's a boxy and intermittently bubbly animation playing on the screen. Beats are a-thumping from the meaty sound system.
I think it's actually the same set as last year.
The huge teleprompter is in plain sight of us, which is brilliant. Can we steal Microsoft's thunder? It doesn't say anything about Next Xbox yet.
No sign of anyone from Sony snipping any important Microsoft wires...
I wonder how much electricity is being cumulatively used by all these screens, laptops, phones, cameras, lights and robots. ARGH. A loud female robot voice boomed a safety warning.
Microsoft US bigwig Aaron Greenberg just sauntered past our row. No sign of a next-generation console under his arm.
Announcement to take our seats. The briefing will begin in five minutes.
Ha! We're to turn off mobile devices and flash photography. I can't see that happening.
"Ladies and gentlemen, please take your seats. The briefing is about to begin, thank you."
Louder, more focused music now. We're crescendo-ing.
Lights down. We're on. Trailer. It's Halo 4, as you predicted!
Sumptuous live action affair. Big spaceships. Some organge light sweeping through the quarters. Explosions. USNC starship being attacked. Being sucked down somewhere, it seems. Terrified faces. Screaming. The starship enters an atmosphere. Crashes. There's Master Chief!
A giant, orange-glowing ball. Now gameplay footage. Is this the game's opening? Chief trecks through a tropical forest. There's a guttural roar. It looks very clear and sharp. The comedy Covenant scouts, with their stumpy limbs. Chief eradicates them.
Something's not right, and Chief knows it. Orange glowing creatures swarming Chief. Gosh it's loud. They're some kind of defence AI, we hear. "Definitely not Covenant."
A Chief-sized enemy, also glowing orange. "It's not organic." It's got blades for hands. Now there are some hovering enemies. They drop a weapon that Chief picks up. "It's Forerunner."
The AI weapons piece themselves together magnetically as Chief equips them. "We're not alone." Chief switches to visor vision. Enemies everywhere. Fade to black. Cinematic montage. There's Cortana.
Please welcome Don Mattrick, who looks debonair in his pastel purple shirt and foppish sweep of fringe. It's his 17th E3!
Xbox 360 is now the number one selling console worldwide. It's not - Wii has sold more. But hey ho. He's talking about bringing all kinds of entertainment together on one device. Says we're going to have the greatest line-up of games ever this year, led by Master Chief and Halo 4.
Gameplay trailer. Is this Black Ops 2?
Talking in a different language. There's a bearded man saying something we don't understand and then, BLAM. The player beats the snot out of him. He's an agent!
Mattrick also said that "this holiday" Microsoft will be extending the Xbox experience beyond the screen onto PC, tablets and mobile.
Lots of bone-snapping noises. It's Sam Fisher! It's Ubisoft. It's Splinter Cell: Blacklist.
We're being told that the Blacklist is in enemy hands. We're on the Iraq border. Sam Fisher must capture and interrogate a leader to stop the next Blacklist attack. It's very brutal - Fisher stabs an enemy. Slow-mo! Fisher executes like Jack Bauer on steroids.
The guy in front of me is REALLY excited about Sam Fisher's return. He air punched and everything.
"That's killing in motion." It's an ability Sam Fisher has to kill on the move. Another throat slit, quietly. Fisher crouching as if on the toilet. Kinect voice recognition - the man talks to distract the enemy. The audience claps.
Fisher Fan is letting out soft whoops, laughs and cheers at every execution. It's creepy/sweet.
Sam enables some futuristic vision. Leaps onto someone's head and pummels them. Marks enemies. "Execute ready." Kinect voice instruction to air attack a jeep with mounted weapon. Boom! "Area's clear."
Ah, the old camera under the door. Fisher bursts in through an exploded door, marks the enemies and kills them. Finds his mark, cut-scene plays. He's interrogating. Fisher looks young. The visuals are crisps. Sam lies about shooter the mark. And the trailer's over. The excited man in front is excited!
Shipping spring 2013. It's the most ambitious Splinter Cell yet.
EA Spots head Andrew Wilson takes to the stage. He looks as slick as ever, and a little bit like Tom Cruise. Madden and Fifa are to become better with Kinect, he tells us, his Australian twang apparent. He used to fight UFC-style in real-life, if memory serves me.
The Ubisoft guys also mentioned that Blacklist will feature Spies vs. Mercs, for those of you who enjoyed that.
We're seeing FIFA. You can say "sub striker" and "sub three" and that's what will happen. "Formation one!" "Through me!" "Take a shot!" This is manager mode. "Yep, yep, ref - oh that's bleep!" Commentators hear this and say you reacted angrily. Available around the world this fall, autumn.
I wonder how colourful your ref language can be.
Joe Montana, an NFL quarterback, is on stage to talk about voice commands in Madden. Montana - no relation to Hannah - is going to demonstrate this.
"Flip run." "Set height!" "Hurry up!" "Flanker dig!" "Streak!" What, did he just say streak? OK, Joe, I'm doing it!
Tick "guest sports person" off your E3 Bingo Cards people!
"This brings back some great memories, and I just might have an advantage being a quarterback with this Kinect stuff." Yeah, OK, Joe.
Now a trailer for Fable: The Journey.
Fisher Fan just booed the Fable The Journey trailer.
Spells are being flung. Oh good grief he's really got the magic in his hands! Kinect turns you into a real magician! Blue light! "Beware the magic." On a more serious note - it's a very core gamer-style video for Fable: The Journey.
Phil Spencer, head of Microsoft Studios, is on stage. He's got a black cardigan on. This will be the best year for Xbox 360, he says. I can see his speech on the teleprompter.
World premiere trailer for Gears of War: Judgement.
Baird being slammed in jail. Riotous noise. Locust battering forces. Baird on trial. City burning. Coming 2013. Extended teaser available online, apparently.
Now we're watcing Forza Horizon, the open world Forza racing game. Superb visuals and blistering pace. And very, very loud music.
AUDI QUATTRO YES. I heart Forza Horizon. Big preview at 7, people.
Ow, ow, ow. Loud, loud, loud. Phew, it's over. October 23rd.
Presumably the reason there wasn't any Gears of War Judgment gameplay was because they haven't had time to make anything yet.
Head of marketing and strategy Yusuf Medhi, the man who wrote a blog post recently about Xbox 360 at E3.
"You say it and Xbox finds it." Oh not this again.
They're steaming through the new games here. Gears and Forza and Fable got short shrift. Something's afoot if you ask me.
This fall, you'll be able to Bing-find what you want to watch by genre. He's demonstrating this. "Xbox: Bing comedies." And the menu returns what he wants. "Xbox: Bing action." And so on. "Xbox: Killer Elite." You can choose from multiple providers to play the content. More language support - 12 additional countries this year. "We want the world to experience the magic of voice search."
It does look very responsive.
Great support in the US! Oh and BBC in the UK. Sob, sniff. Announcing more partners. Nickelodeon. Paramount Movies. Machinima. Univision - one for the Spaniards. Now he's talking about sports. Perhaps he could hurry up and get it over with.
Anyone else reached 95% boredom yet?
NBA is coming to Xbox! Probably only in US. Does Michael Jordan still play? "Do you love hockey?" No no no. NHL is coming to Xbox.
ESPN on Xbox is "about to get even better". Later this year, you'll be able to watch ESPN all the time - all the channels. We're watcing a trailer. "Xbox is your new home for sports!"
The Fratelli's are playing.
This is much better than seeing games.
Oh dear - music. Xbox Music. Over 30 million tracks. It's going to be released on Xbox 360, Windows 8 PCs, tablets and phones.
A trailer for Xbox Music. How similar is it to iTunes? Let's see. Just clips of people dancing. You can see what friends are listening to and share music. Big, Metro-style menus.
One last announcement. Fitness brand. Nike.
Creat fitness programs on Xbox Live. Vice president of digital sport at Nike, Stefan someone or other.
That was one last announcement from Mehdi, anyway. I imagine there will be more stuff... or, as Lando would say, this will be the shortest offensive of all time.
He looks like Matthew thingy, the film star - all curly brown hair, and loose black shirt. I hope he's got Nike trainers on.
"We believe that if you have a body, you are an athlete," says Nike man. I beg to differ.
"If you have a body, you're an athlete." He's taking about how Nike has expanded Nike Plus. Presumably this Kinect game will be an extension of that.
Fisher Fan just air punched that, but I think it was a sarcastic air punch.
Kinect Training. It can analyse body movement better than the human eye, apparently. You get the same fitness coaching that elite athletes get, apparently.
Links to phones - reminds you that you're due a workout.
Fisher Fan update! Likes: Sam Fisher, murder, sports. Dislikes: Girly fairy stories, exercise.
Nike Plus and Xbox Live will help you find people to compete against. Here's a trailer for it. We're seeing people train but no gameplay.
Ah, here's gameplay. Your body is a glowing blue or green silhouette. It shows what you're doing alongside the trainer. These people are so happy that they're exercising! It's all the endorphins.
Here's the head of Xbox Live, Marc Whitten.
He bursts on to the stage talking about smartphones and tablets! Deflation.
He's very casual, with navy blue zip-up. Very shiny black shoes, though. He's going to show us a breakthrough in entertainment. Here's Xbox SmartGlass!
This links all devices that you own, regardless of brand. He's using a Windows 8 tablet to demonstrate. He was watching Sherlock Holmes, the movie. He part watched it. Now he wants to pick it up on the telly, so he sends it using SmartGlass. SmartGlass froze his tablet and sent show information to it.
He's using Kinect voice commands. "Xbox Favourites." "Game of Thrones." He really, really likes Game of Thrones. He thinks they blew their budget it's so good. He's watcing it on the TV and his phone and tablet are keeping up with what's going on via SmartGlass.
"This is the magic of SmartGlass, when devices work together to immerse you in entertainment." Hmm.
What in shitting crikey is he on about?
Madden from EA Sports on screen. He's making a play using his tablet.
We've been capturing video of all this in parallel, by the way, and hope to have segments like the Halo 4 and Splinter Cell bits up for you to re-watch shortly. (Er, we might leave the Nike Plus stuff alone though, if you don't mind...)
Halo 4. New Waypoint Data Unlocked and he's accessing the data on his tablet. I say he, but this is a trailer.
"This is the cool part." Wait for it! He can use his phone as a remote CONTROL!
Kinect and Xbox SmartGlass are bringing the web to Xbox. A browser. "Keyboards don't belong in the living room." He's announcing that Internet Explorer is coming to Xbox this year.
My eyes are glazing over. He's demonstrating IE on Xbox Live. He's waffling on about Prometheus. "Xbox Play" It's a trailer. Stuttering - is it streaming properly? Giggle.
I think that whole Trojan horse thing with video games is over, people.
A fast, fluid and intuitive broswer in the living room for "the first time", he declares. Now he's taking us to the Aston Martin "web hub". You can control the page with your tablet or phone. It's easy to do this, it's easy to do that. It's easy to fall asleep, that's what it is.
He's talking about Windows 8 and Xbox. He's talking about taking all kinds of entertainment on the go with you. SmartGlass will be a part of Windows 8, too.
Bisson and Gallagher from Tomb Rainder studio Crystal Dynamics now.
We're seeing an action-packed sequence from later in the game. Lara has a crossbow, her hair is flapping improbably in the wind. She's being shot at. A lot.
Fisher Fan just went YAAAAY VIDEO GAMES. I'm with you on this one, brother.
She swoops down a zip wire. This action adventure game is heavy on the action. Lara's dirty. She smashes through a building and the enemies don't notice.
She's got a shotgun! She's shooting some barrels! Boom! Blood! Crossbow shhlunk. Into some rapids. She loses her grip and is swept away in a dramatic sequence. She's smashing into all sorts of flotsam.
Aha, Ubisoft beat us to the Splinter Cell gameplay footage. It's up on YouTube and embedded in our Blacklist story.
She lands in the suspended cockpit of a crashed plane over waterfall. Tense music. Is she going to be ok? No! She falls. But ah, a parachute. No, it's not opened. Yes, it has now. She's smashed into trees as the parachute flies at the mercy of the wind. She's really taking a beating.
She's up on her feet, blood on her face. She's really hurt her tummy - something she ate? But, umm, where are the tombs?
The first piece of DLC for Tomb Raider will come out first on Xbox 360, hence the Microsoft conference presentation.
Phil Spencer's back on stage. He's got a pixel person print on his t-shirt. "We're investing in new stories." Twisted Pixel. Or from visionary director of Pirates of the Caribbean. World premieres coming up.
Signal Studios - Toy Soldiers dev. Ascend: New Gods. Asynchronous multiplayer across Xbox Live and phones. It's fantasy.
Men in armour scything each other apart. Lots of blood. It's third-person. Looks a bit dated.
Here's a giant enemy. He climbs its body like Kratos, and kills it. It's coming out in 2013.
Here's something from a school of assassination. Something called Iris. A robot? The first female cadet to break the 3 minute mile.
Twisted Pixel. 2013.
Now Pirates man Gore Verbinski. A giant futuristic city scape. Another orange glow, now blue. A bit Tron-like. Eyeball-like robots sizing each other up. The cityscape is changing. It's called Matter. It's made for Kinect. It's coming out 2013.
Capcom are on stage. Kobayashi and Sasaki. We're seeing Resident Evil 6. Leon's on the deck, struggling. He grabs his gun, helps a woman - Jill?
Neck stabbing is definitely this year's slow-motion helicopter crash.
Now they're shooting zombies. They're in a destroyed city. In Resi style, action slows as Leon aims. He's stabbing a zombie with his knife. Is this co-op? A horde of zombies charging down a corridoor.
Wow! Splat! One big shot clears the lot in a gory mess. Was that a quick-time melee moment?
It's quick-time! Leon smashes a zombie's head into a van. He's dual wielding pistols!
He's trying to outrun an explosion now, dodging through stationary vehicles. Now he's clambering over them. How athletic. Now he's done a classic action-film leap into a helicopter and he's shaking off pursuing zombies.
The throatstab is the new headshot
Presumably he's going to find a hidden emblem in this helicopter which he can later use to open a door hidden in a gravestone.
The helicopter's in trouble - it looks like the pilot has turned zombie. The chopper scrapes a train, crashes through an office. The pair are flung from the wreckage and surrounded by zombies. "Not my lucky day," Leon quips.
Alex Ruiz from the Xbox Live team. She's got a nice grey waistcoat on. We're imagining a friendly cartoon game with castles and goblins and, wait for it, Kinect. Racketeer, exclusive to Xbox Live.
She's using a slingshot to attack a castle. She says launch and then coaxes the ball towards the castle. It's a points-scoring game - you're awarded better numbers the more damage you do. She's really excited but no one in the audience seems to be.
Angry birds 3D ?
It's launching on Xbox Live this summer.
Now we're seeing Obsidian's South Park RPG. Cartman's narrating.
The South Park boys are dressed as fantasy heroes. They need the New Kid to help them be saviours.
All the classic South Park faces and humour is here in abundance. South Park: Stick of Truth, March 5th 2013.
It's South Park creators Matt Parker and Trey Stone!
They're making a joke about connected devices! It's genuinely funny.
They want you to feel like you're in an episode of South Park. We would not believe how hard it took to look like South Park. Turn-based JRPG-style battles screenshot.
They're joking about how they had to map out the world when they usually just cut away to different interiors.
And they're off. NO DON'T GO!
Harmonix now. Dance Central 3. It, err, looks like the other games. Look at them popping and locking and busting some moves. They're fly. It's Usher Raymond! He worked with Harmonix to design choreography for two songs. Anyone can learn the moves to his new single Scream in the game.
He's going to show us some of his much vaunted dancing. Holy cow, he's here, it's Usher on stage!!
He's got his crotch in his hands and his white sneaks on. He wants us to get up on our feet, which is going to be really difficult while trying to live text report.
My head's bopping automatically. I spotted a Michael Jackson dance move there. They're running through the routine that you'll get to learn. All hands in the air, turns and gyration. He's a good mover.
This is Usher madness! Sorry, I couldn't resist.
"If you want to scream" seem like very appropriate lyrics.
Dance Central 3 is on the screen behind him, going through the same routine. Smoke plumes! I wonder if Phil Spencer is dancing. I can't see him.
Words I never really expected to hear during this conference: "Let's give it up once again for Usher and his crew."
Don Mattrick's back on stage. "At Xbox, we're ushering in a new golden age of entertainment." It's a pun. It's supposed to be funny.
He's talking about Xbox 360 as an entertainment hub, as we thought he might. "And this is only the beginning." Closing with another blockbuster. Once again, all new content will launch on Xbox 360. It's Call of Duty: Black Ops 2.
Bored? Watch the Halo 4 live gameplay stage demo again.
Where's the video? We've got a still and a voice over. Oh, here we are. It's an on-stage demonstration. A man in a vehicle is in a really bad way. Madam President is in the vehicle.
They're going Downtown LA - that's where we are!
Black Ops 2 looks good - nice hues of yellow. It's smooth, too.
There's a big crash and we're crawling out of the wreckage. We're Agent Jones. Now there's fighting and gunfire everywhere and we're clambering across a destroyed bridge in the midst of it all. We've taken control of what looks like an AA gun. We're shooting bogeys out of the sky. Gameplay is impressively smooth here. It's worth saying that again.
We're providing cover fire with a sniper rifle. We're shooting through cover using our nifty scope to pick out targets. You can apparently pick people out a long way away. How will this work in multiplayer?
"In the interest of time..." The words appear on the screen and we're at a different section of gameplay. More frantic helicopter shooting, and barking orders down comms.
It's a nice demo but it's not particularly exciting. Is it worrying that Microsoft doesn't have a big exclusive to close its conference with?
More sniping using the scope that can pick out enemies behind cover. A whole building is coming down in front of us! And we fade out. We return in the aftermath. We're going to "Use" a fighter plane.
The character has never flown one before. But up, up and away we go. It's an FA38. We're tracking and protecting a car, highlighted in green on the ground before us. Doesn't look particularly difficult to fly this plane. What a lot of brown.
Oh phew it's over. Black Ops 2, 13th November. And that's it. We're done. Thanks for reading!