Microsoft's Xbox press event started off with a bang thanks to an impressive trailer of the upcoming "Halo 4" as well as compelling demos and live game play for several other titles. But the big draw for techies is that Microsoft showed off plans to integrate Xbox gameplay with your mobile device and bring Internet Explorer to the Xbox platform.
During the extensive showcase, Head of Xbox Live Marc Whitten came on stage to introduce Xbox SmartGlass, an initiative designed to enable seamless game enhancements between tablets, notebooks, smartphones and televisions.
During the demo, we watched an episode of "Game of Thrones" on the television while the tablet and phones provided additional content including a map of Jon Snow's ride north. In terms of gaming, we saw a tablet become a virtual playmaker during "Madden" and schematics of the current weapons loadout during "Halo."
In other news, the arrival of Internet Explorer to Xbox Live was announced. Coupled with a SmartGlass app for tablets and smartphones, interactive features such as pinch-to-zoom streamed seamlessly to the television. Last, Whitten announced that Windows 8 will also get SmartGlass integration, bringing the PC experience into the fold as well.
In addition to all that integration, Xbox Live has learned some new tricks, expanding to 12 new countries, allowing movie buffs to use Bing-powered search to search films by genre and title and adding new channels including Nickelodeon and Machinima. Sports fans haven't been left out as Microsoft is bringing NBA Game Time and NHL Game System to LIVE as well as 24/7 ESPN programming in Live HD. Xbox Music was also announced, providing more than 30 million tracks to Xbox Live, Windows Phones, tablets and PCs.
Of course, it wouldn't be an Xbox event without a ton of new teasers for upcoming titles. Here are a few of our favorites.
- "Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Blacklist." Called "the most ambitious Splinter Cell yet," stealth assassin Sam Fisher never looked better as he masterfully dispatched hostiles with a deadly mix of stealth, hand-to-hand combat and expert marksmanship. Microsoft kept the heavy-hitters coming with world premiere trailers for "Gears of War: Judgement" and "Forza: Horizon" coming in 2013 and October 26, 2012.
- "Tomb Raider" reboot. A much younger, vulnerable Lara Croft shot a bow and arrow and parachuted at high velocity into trees for an especially rough landing during the demo for a retro Tomb Raider reboot.
- "Resident Evil 6." An action-packed playthrough of "Resident Evil 6" was also featured, showing Leon Kennedy navigating an out-of-control helicopter and narrowly avoiding an incoming train, only to fall into a room filled with zombies.
- "Call of Duty Black Ops II" received raucous applause with frantic FPS action and beautiful destruction abounding.
- Trey Parker and Matt Stone brought some much needed humor to the event, debuting "South Park: The Stick of Truth."
- "Madden 13" and "FIFA 13" will both become "Better with Kinect," allowing players to issue voice commands to dish out plans. NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana deftly used the system to run pass plays, call out audibles and give commands to individual players, taking the 49ers to the end zone.
- Microsoft has also teamed with Nike, announcing Nike+ Kinect Training, a feature designed to measure your athletic prowess, keeping track of your progress via your phone and reminding you when it's time to work out. The system will also search out other athletes to compete against to keep you motivated.
Other new titles included "Ascend: New Gods," "Matter" and "Wreckateer," a game reminiscent of a three-dimensional "Angry Birds" set to debut on Xbox Live this summer.
Look for more coverage from E3 all this week.