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Microsoft's second helpings

Microsoft's second press event of E3 (second! That's just greedy) got a much better reception from the gathered press than last night's Cirque du Soleil show. It turns out showing your products in a clear environment without pretensions – here's the game, this is what it does – is a good idea. Who knew?

The Kinetic games looked much better, and with proper demonstrations appeared much stronger than just a derivative collection of mini-games. Harmonix' Dance Central went down very well and Ubisoft's Your Shape: Fitness Evolved had the audience mesmerised.

That awkward fear in the hardcore crowd that Microsoft was forgetting the faithful will be partly soothed by Kojima's Metal Gear Solid: Rising. The short demo of Raiden slicing up enemies every which way is about as core as they come. And the Forza team's use of Kinetic to palm and fantasise over new cars in detail was a love note to the petrol heads.

The big reveal was the new hardware - $299 for a slim SKU with built-in Wi-Fi and 250GB HDD was nice – but the real surprise was the fact it's going to begin shipping this week. That's one secret that didn't get out ahead of schedule. The free Xbox 360 for everybody in attendance got the whooping' and hollerin' you'd expect.

There were a few bum notes. The obligatory US sports section – a deal with ESPN – probably lost about 50 per cent of the crowd and the scripted banter was as painful as these things always are, but there was nothing offensive and the crowd were in a good mood, willing to take it all on.

The only other new details were a release date for Fable III on October 26, and a tease of Crytek's new Codename: Kingdoms game. But with enthusiastic developer favourites – Kojima, Molyneux, Bleszinski, Tsunoda, Mark Lamia from Treyarch, Bungie's Marcus Lehto and Don Mattrick's amazing hair, it was a stronger showing catering to both Microsoft's loyal hardcore, and what it hopes can be its new family audience.

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Matt Martin avatar

Matt Martin


Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.