E3 11 preview: Microsoft

May 30, 2011

Ready for this year’s E3? We aren’t, but we’re getting there! We thought we’d help you too with a look at the Big Three. Today, we’re kicking things off with Microsoft. 

What we know

Gears of War 3 is releasing September 20 and will anchor the company’s pre-holiday lineup. Turn 10 Studios is working on Forza 4, and last year we saw some added Kinect functionality to shake up the simulation racing series. Besides that, what we know is mostly about the system’s multimedia capabilities. Hulu Plus functionality was just added, and Microsoft’s purchase of Skype seems like it would result in Kinect support.

What we think we know

Activision’s Modern Warfare 3, out in early November, will likely follow the series’ trend of making downloadable content available first on Xbox 360. Microsoft likes making a big deal out of that, as, well, it makes them quite a bit of money. 343 Industries, the developers taking over the Halo franchise from Bungie, have been working on something, and most think it’s a remake of the original Halo. Whether that’s ready for this year or not, Microsoft doesn’t want to go a year without at least showing it off. 

What we want to know

Where are they going with Kinect? We expect Dance Central 2, but this is really the year they need to show the camera peripheral has staying power. Is the technology shown in Lionhead’s Milo demo, where players could talk to a little boy, ready to be used in a full product? Could they also make a hardware announcement? There are faint rumors of a system upgrade, but we think that’s unlikely. They’re going to need to fire off quite the software lineup to keep the mindshare from going totally to Sony’s new NGP and Nintendo’s hardware announcement.

We’ll know for sure next week, as we keep you informed from L.A. Let us know what you want to know about!