That's it. Microsoft have laid themselves bear at E3 for another year and let us all know what to expect from Camp Xbox in the coming months.
Now begins the torrent of the information, news and opinion on its starring slot at the LA expo.
After the Natal/Kinect conference in the early hours of this morning where cute and cuddly family friendly titles were showcased, we were hoping for some hard hitting, action titles to whet our appetites and get us reaching for our wallets in pre-order pandemonium.
And it started well. An extended trailer and gameplay demo of Call of Duty: Black Ops featured some tasty helicopter dogfights and tunnel fight scenes. Following swiftly was an announcement that Activision and Microsoft have entered into an agreement to have all CoD DLC made exclusive on the Xbox 360 first... before the PlayStation 3, obviously.
We're sure that got fanboys all over the globe boasting at their PS3 owning buddies. Little did they know that the Xbox's death rattle would ring out loud and clear in the following 90 mins.
After appearances from Fable III and Halo: Reach, which in all fairness was the Xbox exclusive of the show (it just looked so fluid, a worthy addition to the flagship series) saw the return of Kinect to the stage and a overview of how the dashboard will work.
Kinect's appearance was the poorest of the day, for hardcore gamers that is. Hearts must have sunk when we were treated to highly awkward and totally embarrassing demonstrations of some unashamedly casual games. There was sugary animal petting in Kinectimals, Rare's Kinect Sports (see Wii Sports), the last-generation looking Joy Ride, Total Wipeout clone Kinect Adventures, plus others.
But these were all overshadowed by the cheesy appearance of Dance Central. Yes, a dancing game for a HD hardcore gaming system. It didn't help that where Beyonce should have been pulling shapes they had a poor dev chap who looked like a rabbit in the disco lights.
Cynics. Narrow minded. Partisans. Impartial. Call us what you will. We've already accepted that there could be a market for this type of titles and for the Kinect itself but as we watched the trailers and demo sessions for some of the motion controller's 15 launch titles we realised, 'they all look pretty substandard.' Or an adjective of the same ilk.
It would seem that analysts were right where they predicted that such a peripheral would look and play likes an HD Wii. There wasn't a lot to get excited about from this briefing unless you're a pre-teen or an older female gamer looking to stretch your limbs from the comfort of your own living room.
However, if the only games worth buying for the fit looking new machine are fitness games and virtual river rafting titles, we're not sure it'll be a sound purchase. More core games please MS.
We do appreciate their efforts with Halo and Gears though. Really we do.