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Microsoft's game plan for E3 2013: Damage control

Microsoft has some explaining to do. Here's what we're expecting from team Xbox at E3 2013.


Microsoft's pre-E3 Xbox One reveal event in Redmond, Wash., wasn't a presentation targeted at gamers. In fact, most gamers hated it. Why? Because Microsoft used the opportunity to boast about the Xbox One's live TV integration and the seamless experience it will supposedly provide.

That mantra won't fly at E3 2013 in Los Angeles, where the priority is always games. The company teased with some details about what the Xbox One's gaming future will look like, but as of now it's still mostly unknown.

Here's a preview of what Microsoft needs to accomplish at E3 2013 and what's expected:

Damage control
Say what you will about the actual Xbox One reveal, but it certainly packed in a lot of information. The problem, though, is that it left us asking more questions than before it started.

The most controversial of them all has got to be the confusion surrounding the console's used game policy and the dreaded "always-on" debacle. Microsoft has already begun putting out a few PR fires by releasing a series of rules and restrictions on how the reselling of used games will operate, even though you may need the help of a lawyer to fully explain them. Problem is, this new set of guidelines seems to have spawned even more confusion.

Bottom line, the conventional way of selling and buying used games will be forever changed with the start of this new generation. This doesn't solely impact Microsoft, even though they seem to have become the scapegoat for world's rejection of this policy. Knowing that, the company needs to ease the white-knuckled masses in a way that soothes the transition into this brave new world.

If it's any indication, some recent developments have us scratching our heads. Just days before the company's E3 presser, Microsoft has preemptively canceled all post-conference media appointments and roundtable Q&A.

What does that mean? Well, the door swings both ways here. You can interpret the cancellation two ways. Either the company is confident that the press conference will be self-explanatory enough to ease anxious minds, or Microsoft simply does not want its executives to find themselves in another precarious round of Q&A.

James Martin/CNET

The games
This one's a layup. Show us the games. Better yet, show us the games but only highlight the exclusives. How many times will Microsoft lead its presser with a 20-minute demo of the next Call of Duty game when every last frame is something that can be played on the competition's platform as well?

Microsoft said that 15 new exclusive franchises will launch within the first year of the Xbox One. What are they? Who is making them? What are they about? I'm also expecting a deeper dive on achievements and more on the Xbox One's interface. Only the tip of the iceberg saw the light of day at the reveal event.

James Martin/CNET

Re-pitch Kinect
I'm not sold on Kinect. I never use it. And I'm not the only one. Microsoft needs to resell the world on why Kinect 2.0 is light-years ahead of other camera technologies and why it'll be something gamers cannot live without.

Just claiming that "there's some rocket science-level stuff here" does absolutely nothing for me. I need to see what Kinect will bring to the next generation of consoles outside of fancy hand gestures that will change the input on my television.

I'm also expecting to get some definitive clarification on why I shouldn't be terrified of an HD camera constantly pointed in my direction. I'm scared of the next Kinect right now, and come Monday afternoon, I'd like to have my fears of personal privacy invasion squashed.


Explain TV integration
The collective eyes of the gaming world watched as Microsoft kicked off last month's Xbox One reveal with a demo of live TV and voice-activated mode switching. I need to know more about this trickery.

How's this all working? Will it support more than just Xfinity from Comcast? How will it control my cable box? Do I need to attach those clumsy IR blasters like I already do with my Slingbox? Inquiring minds need to know.


Don't forget about Xbox 360
I don't think Xbox 360 is in the rearview mirror just yet, regardless of the fact that the Xbox One won't support its older brother. I think it's safe to assume that the Xbox 360 will get a price cut at E3, though it may come at the cost of a presentation bragging about how well it has sold.

There's plenty of gas left in its tank, so I'm expecting to see Microsoft attempt to make a compelling argument for why 360 owners should still be heavily invested in the platform.

Microsoft finds itself in another unique situation leading up to the company's E3 press conference on Monday. It was the last to speak coming in, and now it's getting first crack at following up.

It's simple. Transparency is something that consumers -- especially gamers -- appreciate above all else. Be honest with us and we'll listen to what you have to say.

Join us live on Monday for a special CNET Live event to watch the action as it goes down and for live blog commentary.

Updated most recently on June 7, 2013, at 1:02 p.m. PT: This post has been updated to include information about used games and always-on necessity.

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