Darkstation Predicts E3 2012: Microsoft Part 1

Darkstation Predicts E3 2012: Microsoft Part 1

Over the next four weeks we here at Darkstation are going to be sharing our predictions for E3 2012 happening June 5th - 7th, 2012 in Los Angeles, CA. This year is a monumental year for the industry as we see many companies reshaping the way they do business. One of the companies that has been changing the way we look at consoles is Microsoft who after seven very successful years with the Xbox 360 is ready to show off what they have in store for us next. Could it be a new console? A new Kinect? Or even a slew of new games? Find out what our editors are predicting for Microsoft this year at E3.

It’s All About the Connectivity by Nick Kummert

With apps for iPhone and windows phone in the past year, and rumors pointing to other content initiatives, Microsoft’s 2012 conference will focus on how content available on Xbox live will connect to all other aspects of our connected lives.

An Android app for Xbox live will be introduced, while the iPhone and Windows Phone apps will get more functionality. Then, alongside overhauled music and video services (RIP Zune) Microsoft will show how a Windows 7 or 8 PC will link with the games, content, and social features of Xbox Live. In an economy driven by apps and smartphones, increased availability outside the console is a key way for Microsoft to build loyalty to their console.

Microsoft Actually Makes an Announcement People Care About - Project Durango Unveiled! by Jonathan Miley

Microsoft may have said they will not talk about the next Xbox at E3 and technically, they won’t. But it’ll be part of their press conference all the same.  At the end of their press conference, Microsoft will give the world the first glimpse of the next generation. There will not be hardware and no actual announcement of a console.  Instead, there will be a proof of concept video for Project Durango. The video will show a system with motion sensing tech built in and social capabilities integrating on the system level. Want to tweet a screen shot of a game? Now you can. Want to like a movie on Facebook while you’re watching it? Do it. What about picture-in-picture while you watch television so that you can see you friends as they watch the show with you from across the country? All of that and more will be possible with Project Durango. Peripherals will be a thing of the past with motion sensing tech so accurate that you can play Guitar Hero… without a guitar. Project Durango: all of your entertainment revolving around your lifestyle.

Yes, Microsoft has already said they are not talking about the next Xbox at E3, but they and everyone else have lied before. Why stop now? And this won’t actually be a lie because they won’t “talk” about it or show it as an “Xbox” product. No, Don Mattrick will simply come on stage and say that he wants to give us a glimpse of the future of entertainment. Queue video.

Day and Date for Microsoft by Alexander Cattell

With many services moving towards an all digital distribution model it seems logical Microsoft would be moving towards this as well. How better to achieve this by releasing new titles day and date with actual retail releases, rather than making customers wait 3-6 months for it to appear on Games On Demand.

With Sony achieving day and date downloads for games here and there, most notably Mass Effect 3, it would be unusual not to expect this from Microsoft. Allowing people to download their favorite upcoming titles when hard copies release would ease console consumers into this idea and seeing as how the next generation hardware is presumably just around the corner, what better time is there for this transition period?

Xbox Price Drop is Inevitable by Michael Perry

We are entering year 7 of this console cycle and prices are still out of hand. The trend mostly has been to see how fast you can get your console down to $99 but with console manufacturers pumping more content into these machines it would be hard to see a PS3 or 360 drop to that price. But that doesn’t mean a price drop would help them out even more. My thoughts are that the Arcade version will drop to $149.99 while an Xbox with a decent hard drive will emerge at $199.99. I know its a gamble because the Xbox is the best selling console right now, but that won’t last forever and they will need to combat the Wii U and whatever Sony plans on doing.

Microsoft Decides to Continue Publishing New Games by Joel Szerlip

It might come as a shock to you all but Microsoft has had other game franchises outside of Halo and Gears of War. Sure their publishing arm isn’t as steadfast as Sony and Nintendo, but they still like to put out games every once in a while. I predict that Microsoft will announce a brand new action adventure game in the light of a cross between Uncharted and Assassin’s Creed.

I have zero proof or indications to go along with this prediction. My rationale for this is that both the Gears of War and Halo franchises are becoming long in the tooth and it’s time for them to invest in some new IP. With the void of Fable I could see them going away from an action RPG and stick with more of a core focus that will of course include some sort of Kinect capabilities.

Twisted Pixel Announces Full-Length FMV Kinect Game, by Hiram Mojica As it stands now, some of the best use of the Kinect has been by Twisted Pixel, the little Austin development house that churns out all the weirdest games this side of Japan. Gunstringer is apparently fantastic, and the Wavy Tube-Man Chronicles are just amazing from what I’ve seen. They’ve made one thing clear: give them a camera and a dream (or a green screen) and they’ll produce the best live-action stuff ever seen in a video game.

Now that Microsoft owns the studio, it seems pretty likely that they’ll continue working with the Kinect for their next release- and with the presumably low-costs of making an FMV game, coupled with the fact that their video work is almost unmatched, a new entry into the... esteemed genre doesn’t seem too crazy to me. That said, Twisted Pixel is one of the ONLY companies that can get away with doing this- so I hope it doesn’t become a trend, if it even happens.

Playing The Entertainment Card, by Ashley Chittock

It’s a safe bet to predict Halo 4 will be the centerpiece of Microsoft’s show, but in terms of announcements I don’t think we’ll get any new hardware from them until next year. Instead, Microsoft will announce its intention to widen it’s multimedia services. With Netflix, Sky, BBC iPlayer and others already on the console, the logical progression for Microsoft is to introduce some sort of live streaming service.

That's all she wrote for Part 1 of our E3 Predictions. Come back tomorrow 5/8 at Noon Pacific Time for the second part of our E3 2012 Predictions for Microsoft. Until then let us know what you think of our predictions. Are we close or way off? Let us know right below here in the comments!

The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.