Microsoft shows off Kinect, new Xbox at E3 (live blog)
Join us Monday morning for live coverage of Microsoft's E3 press briefing. We'll be bringing you news and photos from the event as it happens.
Editor's note: We used Cover It Live for this event, so if you missed the live blog, you can still replay it in the embedded component below. Replaying the event will give you all the live updates along with commentary from our readers and CNET editors Daniel Terdiman and Josh Lowensohn. For those of you who just want the updates, we've included them in regular text here.
Ready to get your E3 news fix? CNET is there, live in Los Angeles, to cover the biggest show in videogaming. We'll be using Cover it Live to bring you photos and news as it happens at each of the big three's press conferences.
First up is Microsoft. The company teased its(formerly known as Project Natal) at a Sunday night launch party, and we expect it to remain a focal point at today's press conference (10:30 a.m. PDT/1:30 p.m. EDT).
10:09 a.m. PDT: Good morning, everyone. We're here at the Microsoft Xbox 360 E3 press conference. Everyone's still filing in, so it will be a little while before this thing gets going. So please stay tuned.
10:10 a.m. (from reader TyFrank): How many people are at this press conference?
10:11 a.m.: It's hard to say how many people are here, but I'd say right now there are probably about 2,000...And I can't see the upstairs seating. So probably half again that many.
10:12 a.m.: Last year at the Xbox briefing, they were talking up Beatles Rock Band, and they brought out Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. It's going to be hard to top that star power this year. Especially since MSFT already announced the Project Natal (I mean, Kinect) news last night.
10:12 a.m. (from reader Guest): What color is the ceiling?
10:13 a.m.: Well, the ceiling is many colors because they are flooding it with multi-colored lights. But it's a beautiful art deco ceiling. Really ornate and wonderful.
10:14 a.m. (from reader Santellan): Not too impressed with Kinect demos so far.
10:15 a.m.: My sense, having seen the Kinect stuff last night, is that it's got a LOT of potential. But that potential is not yet realized. It's very clear to me, though, that they are aiming directly at Nintendo and all the staple Wii things: Wii Sports, Balance Board, Wii Fit, etc.
10:15 a.m. (from reader Guest): How do you pronounce Kinect?
10:16 a.m.: Kinect. How to pronounce? Good question. It's clearly a conglomeration of "kinetic" and "connect" so I'd say "kin-nect."
10:19 a.m. (from reader Santellan): Do you think we will actually see a console re-design announced today?
10:20 a.m.: @Santellan: It's hard to know for sure, but that's the scuttlebutt, that they'll announce a 360 Slim or something along those lines today. I've heard it could have a cheaper processor, so they might be able to lower the price. All speculation of course.
10:20 a.m. (from reader Zack): Did the Star Wars game look like an actual game or just pre-canned footage to get people excited after showing off all the other more generic Wii-esque titles?
10:21 a.m.: @Zack: I'd say it was a future real game, but they didn't show it at the showcase last night. I'd guess it's a ways off. Still, you don't do actual Star Wars stuff--given all the legal wrangling with LucasFilm that entails--without having something real in the hopper. That's my speculation.
10:21 a.m. (from reader Rob G): How many CNET folks are there, Daniel?
10:22 a.m.: @Rob G: I think there are probably six of us here: myself, Josh Lowensohn, a photographer (who's actually shooting for Gamespot), and a couple of others. Plus the Gamespot folks, who I'm not counting, because I have no idea how many of them are here.
10:22 a.m. (from Josh Lowensohn): Pics coming in a sec guys. The Internets here are getting hammered.
10:23 a.m. (from reader jjcaparzo): Has Microsoft mentioned how they plan to allow for simultaneous multiplayer with Kinect? I've only seen them showcase one player at a time.
10:24 a.m.: @jjcaparzo: They did show a little bit of the multiplayer stuff at the Kinetic/Cirque du Soleil event last night. I can't recall exactly how it went, but it was definitely on display.
10:25 a.m.: "Ladies and gentlemen, please take your seats. The briefing will begin in five minutes."
10:29 a.m.: "The briefing is about to begin."
10:29 a.m.: To all those asking if there will be a live video feed, my understanding is that it will appear on the live blog page.
10:30 a.m.: Loud music! We're about to begin.
10:31 a.m.: Welcome to the Xbox 360 2010 global media briefing...
10:32 a.m.: We open with footage...from Call of Duty: Black Ops.
"We live in a world where everything you know is wrong."
10:33 a.m.: This is the next COD, from Treyarch...now Mark Lamia, studio head from Treyarch...
10:33 a.m.: Lamia: going to take you far behind the lines...into the world of Call of Duty: Black Ops.
10:34 a.m.: I'm sure everyone wants to know what Treyarch will do with the COD franchise now that it's taking it over from Infinity Ward.
10:35 a.m.: In the interest of time...Bang, bang, bang. There appears to be a little shooting in this demo. ;-)
10:36 a.m. (from Josh Lowensohn): Now they're in a helicopter blowing up the jungle like crazy. This is all very Crysis-like. But in a good way.
10:39 a.m.: COD: Black Ops will be out November 9, 2010.
Don Mattrick, MSFT Xbox senior vice president now taking the stage.
10:39 a.m.: I'd like to begin today [announcing] exclusive multiyear agreement between Microsoft and Activision
10:40 a.m.: All COD game add-ons and map packs will launch first on Xbox.
"First on Xbox in 2010, 2011, 2012. So when you plan to play COD in the next three years, you'll want to play it on Xbox 360."
We're live in New York's Times Square!
10:41 a.m.: This year marks 10 years for Xbox..."A year of transformation. ...transforming the way you enjoy entertainment, and the way you enjoy entertainment with your family."
Halo, Gears of War, and Call of Duty...three of the biggest franchises in video gaming.
We've given Project Natal a name: Kinect for Xbox 360...Kinect brings your living room to life.
10:42 a.m.: "We're going to world premiere an impressive collection."
10:42 a.m.: Hideo Kojima, creator of Metal Gear Solid, now taking the stage.
10:43 a.m.: "I feel it was important for my team to come out with something new and unique for the new Xbox 360 project. Today, we will premiere the very first footage of the new game (MGS: Rising)."
10:43 a.m.: Now: Shigenobu Matsuyama, producer, Kojima Productions.
10:45 a.m.: Cut. Cut at will. Cut what you will. Big cheers from the audience.
10:46 a.m.: Not only is it good for cutting up people, but also watermelons, apparently.
10:46 a.m.: Now: Corporate Vice President of Microsoft Game Studios, Phil Spencer.
10:47 a.m.: Halo: Reach, Fable III, Crackdown 2...New ways to play with Kinect for Xbox 360. You choose Kinect and Xbox Live to play exclusive experiences you cannot get anywhere else.
10:48 a.m.: Spencer says everything else they'll show today will be exclusive for Xbox 360.
Now: Cliff Bleszinski, from Epic Games. "What's up guys? How are you doing?"
Will give you a live demo of four-player co-op.
10:49 a.m.: Gears of War 3, of course, is a very big title for Xbox. I wonder if it will incorporate Kinect.
10:51 a.m. (from Josh Lowensohn): I don't know about Kinect, but it's definitely incorporating exploding bodies.
10:53 a.m.: Bleszinski back on now. "We'll be unveiling a new mode called Beasts."
10:54 a.m.: Now, Peter Molyneux, the creative director of Microsoft Game studios. He's here with Fable III....Five years after Fable II.
10:55 a.m.: Fable III will ship on October 26, said Peter Molyneux. The game takes place five years after Fable II.
"The quest to save Albion begins."
10:56 a.m.: Applause for the Fable III demo, but definitely not as loud as for Metal Gear Solid: Rising.
10:57 a.m.: Phil Spencer: here's Microsoft Game Studios' newest partner: Crytek. Codename Kingdoms.
10:58 a.m.: Spencer: Nearly a decade ago, one game changed everything. It transcended video games to define entertainment...Of course, I'm talking about Halo. Now, after 34 million games sold...a new chapter of this amazing story is about to be told.
Now Bungie creative director Marcus Lehto. "Last month, 2.7 million fans helped make the Halo: Reach beta the biggest in console history."
Halo: Reach will ship in September, Lehto said.
11:00 a.m.: It's interesting to me that Microsoft has put so much of its hardcore games at the front of the E3 press conference. They clearly want to make sure the hardcore gamers know they're not being abandoned. Then, later, they'll talk Kinect (nee Project Natal) and the hardcore gamers will have to grit their teeth and recall that there was an hour or so of serious shooters shown first.
11:04 a.m.: And now the Halo: Reach demo is over. Big applause, but still not as big as for Metal Gear Solid: Rising.
Now Microsoft Corporate Vice President Marc Whitten is on stage. He's here to talk about Xbox Live.
Today, 25 million members "comes together to play and interact on Xbox Live."
11:05 a.m.: Detects movement and sound in very sophisticated ways, Whitten said about Kinect for Xbox 360.
11:06 a.m.: Imagine a world where you can watch a movie without a remote, play a game without a [controller].
Kinect for Xbox 360 brings this vision to life. "This is what happens when technology gets out of the way."
Now, Ron from the development team. "All you have to do is wave, and Kinect recognizes me."
11:07 a.m.: Games, Netflix, Zune, Facebook, friends and Last.fm are all available. "All I have to do is say 'Xbox' and Kinect is listening."
11:07 a.m.: Today: you can see how Zune is transformed by Kinect.
11:08 a.m.: Movies, TV shows, music, it's all there. And all you have to do is wave your hands.
Kinect lets you control playback of movies with your hands. You would just move your hand to the left to rewind, Ron explains.
11:09 a.m.: "Xbox: Pause." "Xbox: Play." "This is what we mean by controller-free play...It just works for me."
"Xbox: Play music." Argh, it's Justin Bieber.
Over 7 million songs are now instantly available in my living room, Ron said.
11:10 a.m.: Whitten: This is our vision for entertainment with Xbox Live. Controller-free, simpler, and more social than ever before.
11:10 a.m.: Kinect will be in every country where Xbox Live is sold, Whitten said. And also bringing Xbox Live to Windows Phone 7. Your friends and your achievements will be with you wherever you go.
11:11 a.m.: Now, Whitten unveils videoKinect.
Kinect: not just about video games, said a woman Whitten brought up on stage to talk about videoKinect.
11:12 a.m.: She brings up windows with all of her friends, some on Xbox Live, some on Windows Messenger.
11:13 a.m.: She holds up her hand and starts a video chat with her twin sister. The woman, by the way, is going by the gamertag Lollip0p.
11:13 a.m.: She shows how Kinect allows her, by hand, to choose a movie, and share it with her sister, over videoKinect.
11:14 a.m.: VideoKinect can track you as you move around. And the demo shows that it is following her sister as she moves around.
11:15 a.m.: Whitten: As you can see, videoKinect lets friends talk to friends, and families talk to families....This is your living room, more social than ever.
11:15 a.m. (from Josh Lowensohn): A little Bing in my Xbox Microsoft? Where's the browser?
11:15 a.m.: VideoKinect will also be available on Windows Live Messenger.
Whitten: For many people in the house, we're missing one really important thing.
Sports is obviously what he's talking about, and now it's a demo of ESPN on-demand sports programming.
11:16 a.m.: ESPN has signed an exclusive agreement to provide more than 3,500 live and on-demand events to Xbox Live.
Josh Elliott and Trey Wingo from ESPN are now on-stage.
11:17 a.m.: "Playing Xbox 360 on our break, that's not just for fun anymore. It's research."
11:18 a.m.: Soccer, Major League Baseball, NBA, College football. Most of them in HD.
Oh, and college basketball, too.
11:19 a.m.: "Kinect is going to make taunting even easier."
Real-time polls, trivia.
11:21 a.m.: "That in a nutshell is ESPN for Xbox Live."
11:21 a.m.: "ESPN is being redefined on Xbox 360."
Whitten back on stage now. "All of this is being made available to our Xbox Live gold members at no additional cost."
11:22 a.m.: Whitten is done now. And now, Kudo Tsunoda, creative director for Kinect.
Tsunoda: We set out to build entertainment that everyone can enjoy...With no controller to learn, anyone can jump in and play.
11:23 a.m.: "The people playing, they're the stars of our games...Just be yourself and do what comes naturally."
"Kinect brings people together, whether in your living room, or across the world on Xbox Live."
And now he's going to show six launch games.
Kinectimals is up first. This is where you control a collection of small animals, like a baby tiger, which you use your hands--without a controller--to scritch and interact with the tiger.
11:24 a.m.: Actually, you use your whole body. A little girl on stage shows how the tiger will do whatever she does. And when she went to hide, the tiger began wondering where she was.
11:25 a.m.: She says "now, go get your jump rope," and off it went.
By the way, in case you missed it, we've moved beyond the hardcore part of the briefing.
11:26 a.m.: This is clearly Microsoft's Kinect version of Nintendo's Nintendogs. As a cat fan, I'm happy they've chosen to go with cats.
11:27 a.m.: And now we're looking at Kinect Sports.
11:27 a.m. (from Josh Lowensohn): That name sounds familiar...
The guy demonstrating the game shows how, just by raising his arms in the air, he can get the stadium full of fans to raise their hands and cheer.
11:28 a.m.: Now he and a woman who is also on stage are going to show off the racing part of Kinect Sports.
Actually, this is hurdles.
11:29 a.m.: Kinect Sports is clearly Microsoft's answer to Wii Sports, much as Kinectimals is its answer to Nintendogs.
Boxing, Soccer, Beach volleyball and more.
11:30 a.m.: Tsunoda: Now let's look at how Kinect can be used to completely redefine the world of cart riding.
Now it's Kinect Joy Ride, the launch driving game. To drive, all you have to do is mime a steering wheel and steer with your hands. You can lean forward or move your body in other ways to do tricks and stunts.
11:32 a.m.: Now, Kinect Adventures. "It's designed to get you and your group up and off the couch," said Tsunoda. With this game, players ride a platform down a rail track. They use their body to hit all kinds of coins/targets that are floating in the air.
11:33 a.m.: When a second player shows up, the game automatically splits to split screen. It's actually Kinect Adventures! I forget the exclamation point before.
11:34 a.m.: One nice element is that the game produces instant action shots from while you're playing.
11:34 a.m.: Now, two women are on stage showing the river rafting part of Kinect Adventures!
11:35 a.m.: Here, the two women's avatars are in the same large round raft, and they're working together to get the maximum number of coins/targets. River Rush is what it's called, by the way.
11:36 a.m.: You can post the pictures the game takes to Facebook or anywhere else on the Web, Tsunoda said.
11:36 a.m.: Tsunoda: The best developers in the world are working on launch games. We're now looking at what's going to be available.
First up is an exercise game, clearly Microsoft's answer to Wii Fit. This game is called Your Shape.
11:37 a.m.: Your Shape is from Ubisoft, and now Felicia Williams from Ubisoft, is on stage.
11:38 a.m.: It's your own personal gym, Williams said.
11:39 a.m.: The game scans her body..."Great, I can see you perfectly," the disembodied voice of the game says. "I'll use this data to tailor fitness routines...specifically for you," the game's voice says.
11:40 a.m.: You can choose a personal trainer tailored to your fitness goals. You can do martial arts. You can do "fun" gym activities.
11:41 a.m.: They're now showing "knee front," which tasks you with doing knee lifts. The idea is that the "personal trainer" directs users through a workout created for them.
11:42 a.m.: Now, combat training. This entails punching in the air at floating targets. They combine "real fitness moves" with a game element.
11:42 a.m.: And now a Zen class. "Our focus today it be conscious of the relationship between our breath and our movement," the game's voice says.
11:44 a.m.: Your Shape is "Fitness evolved." That's the game's tagline.
11:44 a.m. (from Josh Lowensohn): Namaste.
11:44 a.m.: The applause for Your Shape was almost as loud as it was for Metal Gear Solid: Rising.
Now, Dance Central, from Harmonix, for Kinect.
11:45 a.m.: I have to say, this is a cool-looking dancing game that requires players to keep up with full body dance moves, and judges you on just how accurate you are with your whole body.
11:46 a.m.: Alex Rigopulos, CEO of Harmonix, is now on stage, talking about Dance Central.
"For years, we've been eager to create a dancing game, but the technology just wasn't" up to par. Soundtrack: No Doubt, Lady Gaga, Beastie Boys, etc. Many genres.
11:47 a.m.: We worked with world class choreographers to make sure dance moves are as real as possible, and many are from the songs' original music videos, Rigopulos said.
11:48 a.m.: There's a training session which teaches players how to learn the moves, and then they string them all together.
11:49 a.m.: The game scores you on just how accurate your dance moves are. I can see this game being a hit in households that are already addicted to Dance Dance Revolution.
11:49 a.m.: Rigopulos: Thanks everyone, and we'll see you on the dance floor.
11:50 a.m.: Now, Phil Spencer is back on stage and summing up Kinect.
11:50 a.m.: Today, I'm pleased to announce that Kinect for Xbox 360 will launch worldwide...starting in North America on November 4, Spencer said.
There will be 15 launch titles.
11:51 a.m.: We're thrilled to announce an exclusive arrangement with LucasArts to create a Star Wars game, Spencer said. The game will come out next year.
11:52 a.m.: Uh-oh, it's Darth Vader.
11:52 a.m.: Now Bill Giese and Dan Greenawalt, from Turn 10 Studios, are on stage to show the latest in the Forza Motorsport franchise. This is also for Kinect.
11:53 a.m.: The game is in full HD and at 60 frames per second.
11:54 a.m.: Kinect allows "radical experiences" that until now could not be created.
11:55 a.m.: "Using Kinect, you can break through the screen and literally walk up to the car." They're showing how you can fully examine the digital Ferrari that's in the game. It's beautiful, of course, but I'm wondering how satisfying this experience will be.
11:55 a.m.: "When you go to a car show, you can't touch the Ferrari's. You certainly can't sit in one. With Kinect, you can." "Welcome to the future of racing."
11:56 a.m.: The new Forza Motorsports will come out in 2011. Don Mattrick, Xbox SVP, is now back on stage. A decade ago, we unveiled Xbox to the world, Mattrick said. This year: the year we introduce a whole new way for people to play, with Kinect.
11:57 a.m.: We believe interactive entertainment is the greatest form of entertainment, and it should be open and accessible to everyone, Mattrick said.
Today, we take our first step in that journey. We're launching a whole new era for Xbox 360, and Xbox Live.
11:58 a.m.: Ladies and gentlemen, this is your new Xbox 360. Completely re-designed for the future. 250 GB hard drive. Built-in Wi-Fi. All of this for the same price, $299.
11:59 a.m.: We're shipping the new Xbox 360 to retailers today.
11:59 a.m.: Surprising they aren't lowering the cost, though with the bigger hard drive and Wi-Fi, it makes sense.
Biggest applause of the day because Mattrick said they are giving a new Xbox 360 to everyone in the audience. People love free stuff.
12:00 p.m.: For everyone else, it will be in retailers later this week.
12:00 p.m.: "Thank you and have a wonderful E3."
12:00 p.m.: And that's it, folks. The Microsoft presser is over!
12:00 p.m.: I wonder how much it cost Microsoft to give away all those Xboxes.
12:01 p.m.: That was exhilarating. Thanks to Josh Lowensohn for quick work on photos.
Editors' note: The original, barebones version of this story was posted Friday at 1:30 p.m. PDT.