Morning Coffee 168 – E3 Edition

Yesterday, was Microsoft’s big reveal for Xbox 360 this coming holiday season. If you’re not a gamer, please move along, nothing to see here. Also note, I work @ Microsoft, but not in the games division so this is only my thoughts on yesterday’s announcements.

  • While several “hard-core” games were showcased – Fallout 3, Resident Evil 5, Fable 2, Gears of War 2 and the surprise announcement that Final Fantasy XIII – the rest of yesterday’s briefing screamed “we’re not just for hard core gamers!”  Call it the Wii effect. Even the title of the main E3 Press Release was Gameplay for Every Passion.
  • Honestly, my favorite announcement from yesterday wasn’t game related at all – it was the announcement of Netflix on Xbox 360. I’ve been hoping for a flat rate subscription plan since Video Marketplace first launched. Soon, I’ll have it.
  • I’m not sure what I think of the New Xbox Experience yet. On the one hand, the whole cartoon avatar thing isn’t really my bag. Plus, isn’t it quite the Mii clone? However, the ability to share photo and video viewing experiences – even with cartoony avatars – and the flashy + engaging navigation mechanism looks like a real improvement. Here’s hoping they improve the performance of navigating hard drive content (games library, gamer pictures, etc).
  • Congrats to my friend Matt who’s been very involved in the development of the new Primetime game show channel. I’m not that interested in “1 vs 100″, but I think the potential of that game model is pretty huge. If they created a Jeopardy game for Primetime, I think my parents would by a 360 right away.
  • Music / party games seem to have been the primary focus of the press briefing. I’m definitely getting Rock Band 2 (AC/DC woot!) and I think my wife would like Lips (she usually sings when we play Rock Band). I want to see how the “wireless interactive microphones: Featuring stylish interactive motion sensors and lights” will work. Guitar Hero World Tour looks cool too, but I’m not re-buying all new music hardware.
  • You’re in the Movies looks like a hoot, plus it doesn’t really look like a game, so much as a “party activity”. For example, while there are minigame winners or losers, “winning” takes a back seat to the final movie result. I’m guessing this will be big with the kids.
  • Speaking of kids, Patrick is really looking forward to Banjo-Kazooie Nuts & Bolts. He loves anything related to building, and building fantastic vehicles is a core part of the gameplay. As for Riley, I think she’s getting old enough to enjoy Viva Pinata – she enjoys watching Patrick and I play – though I’m not sure we need the new Viva Pinata.
  • Geometry Wars 2 and Portal: Still Alive, both coming to Xbox Live Arcade. ’nuff said.
  • Not really “new” news, but XNA Community Games launches this fall. I’ve got a creators club membership, so I’m able to experiment with this now – it rocks, though the available games are pretty shall I say “unpolished” at this point.
  • Halo Wars not coming until 2009. 😦
  • No new Bungie news, but their website is counting down to something tomorrow. I guess we’ll find out then.