The lights are on
E3 2012 kicked off today in Los Angeles, and companies including Microsoft, Sony, EA, and Ubisoft showed off what they have in store for games in 2012 and beyond. If you were expecting something significant, like a next-gen hardware announcement, you were probably disappointed. Otherwise, the day was packed with news and first looks from a variety of incredible-looking titles. We've compiled the highlights in our day one recap.
Microsoft started out the day with a look at Xbox 360 exclusives Halo 4 and the newly announced Gears of War: Judgment. From there, the company highlighted some of the new functionality that's heading to the console this year. The Xbox 360 is getting a Web browser this fall, which naturally supports Kinect. It's powered by Microsoft's Bing search engine, and the company says it's designed to make browsing videos easier than ever. We'll have to wait and see if safe search is locked in the "on" position. A new music service is coming, too, which looks substantially more robust than the anemic support for Last FM.
Microsoft seemed especially proud of its new SmartGlass system, which allows players to connect their existing phones and tablets to the 360. That includes devices that run on Windows Mobile, iOS, and Android, so you won't have to buy any additional hardware. That is, you won't if you already have a supported smartphone or tablet. The tech allows viewers to see related information while watching a movie, for example, or expanded sports statistics while watching a game. If your tastes run more to the active side of things, Nike announced a partnership with Microsoft, which adds its Nike+ fitness system to the console.
Aside from those announcements, Microsoft shared the bulk of its time with its third-party partners. Those included extended gameplay demos of Tomb Raider, Resident Evil 6, and South Park: The Stick of Truth. South Park creators Matt Parker and Trey Stone couldn't resist taking a jab at SmartGlass, saying it's great that people can now play games connected to their tablets, which are connected to their computers, which are connected to their ovens, all from inside their refrigerators. It was funnier when they said it. Ubisoft also revealed the latest entry in the Splinter Cell saga, Splinter Cell: Blacklist. It supports Kinect (of course), so you can attract a guard's attention by yelling something along the lines of "Over here, clownface."
Microsoft's press conference wrapped up with a look at Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. In keeping with tradition, Activision will be delivering DLC on the Xbox 360 first in another set of timed exclusives.
For a complete wrap up of Microsoft's press conference, check out our reaction story.
Electronic Arts had a few announcements of its own, including Dead Space 3 and its co-op mode, a new Criterion-made Need for Speed title, and the fact that Star Wars: The Old Republic will be free to play (up to level 15). The publisher also revealed that it had acquired the UFC license (which THQ most recently held), though aside from an appearance from the hulking Dana White, there wasn't anything to see. Shooter fans can look forward to Crysis 3 and Medal of Honor: Warfighter, which both got a fair amount of time on stage.
[Next Up: Ubisoft and Sony show off what they've got]
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