Microsoft at E3: SmartGlass, Halo 4 and More

At its big press event at the E3 conference, Microsoft boasted a tricked-out stage ideal for demoing games and invited a gaggle of celebrity guests that included Joe Montana, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, and Usher.

The company unveiled a slew of new games from a variety of developers, so let’s just list the lot of them, shall we?

Halo 4
Splinter Cell: Blacklist--Includes single player, coop, and spys versus mercs (spring 2013)
FIFA 13--Uses Kinect to let players control certain events with voice commands
Madden 2013
Fable: The Journey (holidays 2012)
Gears of War
Forza Horizon (October 23, 2012)
Nike Plus Kinect Training--On Xbox Live, gives players feedback about form, workout times, and the like (holidays 2012)
Tomb Raider
Ascend: New Gods

LocoCycle (coming 2013)
Matter--A Kinect game wherein you guide a ball through a shifting landscape (coming 2013)
Resident Evil 6
--A game for Xbox Live and Kinect; it seems something like a castle defense game on steroids
South Park--An RPG called “The Stick of Truth” (March 5, 2013)
Dance Central 3--Featuring Usher
Call of Duty: Black Ops II

Screenshot of Halo 4

There you have it, seventeen new games coming soon for the Xbox, many of which will debut on Microsoft’s console. There were plenty more announcements, however, including some new tweaks to the platform and additional content providers.

For starters, Bing’s voice search is expanding. Users will be able to search by genre, and voice search will be debuting in a dozen additional countries this fall and will include increased language support.

More providers are landing on Xbox, too, including Nickelodeon, Paramount Movies, Machinima, and Univision. Users will also be able to enjoy NBA GameTime League Pass, NHL GameCenter, and 24/7 live ESPN HD programming.

Example of SmartGlass; the tablet on the right is tracking with the game on the TV on the left

Microsoft is also jumping into the music service business with Xbox Music, which will offer up 30 million tracks to users on Xbox, tablets, phones, and PCs.

Finally, Microsoft announced SmartGlass, which will unify all your screens. You can start watching a movie on your tablet while traveling, send it over to your TV with the touch of a button, and finish it on your couch. While playing your Xbox, you can use a tablet to track game movements or adjust events. SmartGlass will also turn phones and tablets into elaborate remote controls and will work on your existing devices.

Such a feature would only be so hot without a Web browser, so Microsoft is introducing Internet Explorer to the Xbox this year, too--possibly around the same time SmartGlass launches worldwide.

Xbox for Windows 8 is also launching soon, and will bring with it four apps: Video, Music, Games, and the aforementioned SmartGlass.

Microsoft is clearly gunning for something here, and that something is making the Xbox the entertainment hub of your home, with phones, tablets, and PCs working as fully interactive peripherals. Coming up with an excuse to buy an Xbox 360 has never been easier.