The Microsoft E3 press conference was pretty disappointing to most hardcore gamers that were expecting big news. With only one new 360 exclusive title announced that might appeal to their core audience and over half their conference focused on Wii-like Kinect games, it is easy to think that Microsoft forgot about the hardcore Xbox 360 owners. Compared the Sony and Nintendo E3 showings, it becomes clear that Microsoft dropped the ball this year. But instead of dwelling on the negative, there is actually quite a lot for 360 owners to look forward to in the coming years.
Xbox 360 exclusives such as Halo: Reach, Gears of War 3, and Fable III are all big names with upcoming releases. Ninety-Nine Nights II was shown at the Konami conference and given a release date of June 29th. A new trailer for the first episode of the Alan Wake DLC, “The Signal”, was shown at E3 and given a release date of July 27th. Those who purchased a new copy of the game will be able to download it for free using the voucher included in the box. Gamers also shouldn’t forget that Crackdown 2 is coming out on July 6th as well.
Microsoft also has a lot of multi-platform games coming to the Xbox 360 which should help to sate the appetite of the hardcore audience. Call of Duty: Black Ops will have timed exclusive map packs thanks to a three-year exclusive deal with Activision helping make the 360 the console of choice if gamers own both a 360 and a PS3.
In addition to Call of Duty: Black Ops, games like Bulletstorm, Crysis 2, Medal of Honor, Dead Space 2, Batman: Arkham Asylum 2, Mafia II, Fallout: New Vegas, Dead Rising 2, Silent Hill 8, and Castlevania: Lords of Shadow will all be out on the Xbox 360 either this year or next so it’s not as if hardcore gamers are going to be twiddling their thumbs with nothing to play. Metal Gear Solid: Rising will also probably be released next year though no official date has been given yet.
The Microsoft conference wasn’t exactly devoid of announcements, either. The one exclusive shown at the conference, Codename: Kingdoms, is from Crytek so it should be pretty good. The partnership with ESPN to bring over 3,500 live and on-demand sporting events in HD and free to Xbox Live Gold subscribers is also a nice plus.
The “big” announcement at the end confirming the existence of a new Xbox 360 model also excited many gamers. Retailing at $299, re-designed SKU is slimmer, includes a 250 GB hard drive, built in 802.11n Wi-Fi, and according to Don Mattrick is “whisper quiet.”