Microsoft at E3 2012: what was said... and what wasn't

Microsoft at E3 2012: what to expect
Xbox SmartGlass steals the Microsoft show

While the much-anticipated Xbox 720 didn't make an appearance at the E3 2012 games conference, Microsoft showed off a slew of new titles, content partnerships, even more Kinect compatibility, and new technology called Xbox SmartGlass.

Microsoft opened its presentation with a trailer for Halo 4 that the was well received by the crowd. After the trailer it began the presentation in earnest, announcing that the Xbox 360 is now the no.1 selling console worldwide.

This fact alone may be why the company wasn't compelled to even talk about the rumored Xbox 720. But rather, the many ways that current Xbox 360 owners will be able to use the consoles they already own.

Given that Windows Phone 8 is critical for the success of Windows Phone (and in particularly Nokia's Lumia series), Microsoft announced their cross-platform strategy called Xbox SmartGlass.

Easily the most significant announcement at the press conference, Xbox SmartGlass looks to be the company's answer to Apple TV.

While details about Xbox SmartGlass are few, it appears that this new technology will let users access their content on any devices they currently own, from mobile phones and tablets, to Windows PCs and Xbox connected TVs.

But back to the gaming side: after the Halo 4 trailer Microsoft showed off a bevy of new games including Splinter Cell: Blacklist (due out in the Spring of 2013), Fable the Journey (due out in the Fall of 2012), Halo 4 (available November 6) and Forza (available this October), Tomb Raider, Ascend: New Gods, two Kinect only titles called Matter (due out in 2013) and Wreckateer, Resident Evil, South Park: The Stick of Truth (due out in 2013), Dance Central 3 and Call of Duty: Black Ops II (available November 13).

While the game announcements weren't necessarily surprising or all of that exciting, Microsoft really played up Kinect integration in already popular titles like FIFA 13 and Madden Football NFL 13. NFL Hall of Famer Joe Montana showed how gamers can use Kinect to call plays before the snap and similarly with FIFA 13 you can use Kinect to manage your team during play.

Since Microsoft didn't announce the new Xbox 720 it spent the lion's share of the press conference talking about the myriad ways that current Xbox 360 users can enjoy their consoles.

It showed how gamers can use Kinect to interact with Bing to find media content using the services you already use: Netflix, Hulu+, ESPN, MLB, Nickolodeon, Machinima, etc. While the Playstation 3 using PSN has always been a step ahead of Xbox Live when it comes to sports content, many in attendance were disappointed that Microsoft didn't announce support for NFL Sunday Ticket.

Prior to E3 2012, rumors were swirling about the fate of Microsoft's underrated Zune Marketplace. To that end, Microsoft announced a new service called Xbox Music that will work on all of your Windows-based devices, like cell phones, upcoming Windows tablets and Xbox 360. The interesting thing about Xbox Music is that it looks a lot like the current Zune interface, albeit with new branding.

Forza Horizon

Forza Horizon has been teased but will be shown fully at the show

Xbox and Kinect

Integrating Internet Explorer into the Xbox user experience was well received. Using Kinect integration, gamers can you use voice commands can surf the internet from the comfort of a couch.

Given their desire to replicate the Wii success, another announcement for Kinect was health-related. In a better-thought through follow-up to the Wii Fit, the new Kinect Play Fit system for Kinect will track player's exercise across all games. An additional accessory, the "Joule" monitor will track users' biometrics, letting players track their health more accurately.

Apart from that, Microsoft announced an awful lot more new TV packages and non-games entertainment deals.

Editor-in-chief (US)

Wil (Twitter, Google+) is a technology editor and journalist who has written for a variety of outlets over the last 16 years, including CNET, Computer Gaming World and Incite. Wil also spent two years as the on-air gadget correspondent on G4TV's live daily show, Attack of the Show. Before joining TechRadar, Wil was the editor-in-chief of @GAMER, The Official Games Magazine of Best Buy.