Besides directly taking on the Wii with Kinect, how else can Microsoft hope to compete with Sony and Nintendo--not to mention Apple--this holiday season? With its big guns, literally.
Microsoft's focus at this year's E3 was, not surprisingly, on its biggest franchises. The company's boast was that the 360 is the only place to have these experiences--which all involved gunplay--although one, Call of Duty: Black Ops, is multiplatform.
Metal Gear Solid Rising: Hideo Kojima's sword-based Metal Gear action game was shown briefly, with a heck of a lot of slicing to pieces and a requisite fruit-slicing mode. While it seemed at first like this might be a Kinect demo, this does seem like the most polished and unique game in the lineup. Release date: unknown.
Gears of War 3 is the last in the 360 trilogy, with a similar-feeling look and style. Lots of monsters seemed to be the focus, along with a "beast mode" that was promised.
Halo: Reach is Microsoft's other major franchise release, and is more of a true fourth game in the Halo series than the short side-story that was ODST. Though it may seem like a bit of action-game overkill to have both Reach and Gears of War 3 hyped in the same press conference, maybe 360 gamers have a lot of steam they need to blow off. It arrives in September.
Fable 3, coming October 26, is yet another of Microsoft's cornerstone franchises. The sequel is set five years after Fable 2, and appears to have a more mature adventure feel.
Microsoft also announced a new partner, Crytek, with a brief and enigmatic teaser for "Codename Kingdoms." Little was shown apart from barbarians in ancient armor.
Of course, there's also Call of Duty: Black Ops, shown off with the promise that the Xbox 360 will have a three-year agreement with Activision to be the first with DLC maps and add-ons for new Call of Duty games. How long the exclusivity window on DLC lasts wasn't explained.