New Need For Speed Most Wanted Gets Demoed at E3 2012; Release Date Announced

Few days ago, I had written about a new Need For Speed: Most Wanted coming soon. At this year’s E3, EA gave a demo of Need For Speed: Most Wanted and showed us what can be expected from it.

Being developed by Criterion, the sequel to Most Wanted looks like a Burnout Game in Need For Speed clothing. Each race will have a start and finish line; how you reach the line is completely up to you. You can take the tarmac roads, go hunting for shortcuts or even go offroad. Autolog will be available as well and you and your Autolog friends should be able to jump into the race at any point of time. Need for Speed Most Wanted will be released on October 30th in North America and November 1st in Europe for all major consoles (PS3, Xbox 360), PC and portable and mobile devices.

Till then, there’s a short gameplay video of what you can expect

Microsoft’s E3 2012 Press Conference Highlights

Microsoft kicked off this this year’s E3. Here’s what they showcased

Splinter Cell:Blacklist

Sam Fisher makes a comeback with a new Splinter Cell game. Being developed by Ubisoft Toronto, the demo shows that the game’s strayed a bit from its stealth roots.

Gears of War

Gears of War was the next game to be demoed. The game is being developed by People Can Fly studios, creators of games like Bulletstorm and is expected to include co-op gameplay.


Microsoft also showcased a new Forza being developed by a new developer, titled Forza Horizon. Unlike previous Forza games, this one looks to be open world with street and dirt roads.

Kinect, Smart Glass, Xbox Music

There were quite a few Kinect titles being showcased, including Fable,  FIFA 13, NFL and Dance Central. My colleague Paul takes a deeper look at Xbox Music and Smart Glass.

Gameplay Demos

Besides trailers, Microsoft also had some gameplay demos of some of their most popular franchises

Halo 4

Halo 4 seemed like just another Halo title, there wasn’t anything groundbreaking that I could notice.

Tomb Raider

Lara Croft and Tomb Raider looked pretty good – if not for Lara’s constant moaning which sounds fairly disturbing.

Resident Evil 6

Also on display was Resident Evil 6 featuring what seems like hint of cell-shaded graphics.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2

Rounding off the press conference was Call of Duty Black Ops 2, which had cinematics, guns, flying aircrafts and still managed to look more boring and repetitive than watching a painter paint a fence.

Overall, quite a disappointing E3 showcase by Microsoft. What’re your thoughts? Drop in a comment and let us know.

Microsoft Announces Xbox Music (RIP Zune)

It looks like it’s time to finally hold a funeral for the Zune brand (it’s too late to do an open casket viewing, though; the body is already far too decomposed.) Microsoft has finally unveiled Xbox Music, the successor to the Zune Pass streaming service (and entire Zune brand, for that matter), rumored to have been codenamed “Woodstock”. During a very brief teaser that showed dramatic flashes of a Metro-style music app, Microsoft only shared two tidbits about the service today: It will pack a library of over 30 million songs, and it will be available on Windows 8 and Windows Phone devices as well as on your TV screen via Xbox.

The service — and subsequent phasing out of the Zune brand — has already been mentioned on the website. On a Q&A format page that explains Xbox Music and what’s going to happen to Zune, we finally have word from the horse’s mouth indicating that the brand will be killed off:

The Zune music and video service has been a key component of Microsoft’s entertainment offering. We’re using our expertise from Zune to launch a brand-new music service under the Xbox Music brand.  When we launch, Xbox Music will bring you a world-class music library, and great new ways to enjoy, share and discover new music. We will release Xbox music on Xbox 360, Windows Phones and Windows 8 PCs and Tablets. Click HERE to watch the video from our E3 announcement.

Again, Microsoft is yet to really share any details about this service, so its differences and improvements from its predecessor remain unknown. There is chatter, however, claiming that it’s more than just a Zune rebranding.

I do hope that Microsoft makes this a cross-platform service. Music streaming has been really gaining ground with mainstream users lately through services like Spotify and Rdio, and if they’re making an awesome service, it could be a great way to get more people to use Metro and sort of familiarize themselves with the Microsoft ecosystem.

We can expect Microsoft to share more on Xbox Music throughout the coming months.

Microsoft Demonstrates SmartGlass “Airplay-Esque” Technology At E3, Brings Three Screens Closer Together

As of late, Microsoft has been working hard to better unify its ecosystem. The company is in a unique position as it owns a living room entertainment device, a desktop operating system, and a mobile phone OS. With E3 taking place today, the spotlight was placed on the entertainment device, and Microsoft took that opportunity to unveil a product that would better integrate the company’s other two screens with their entertainment device. Dubbed SmartGlass, the app transcends screens to allow users to utilize their tablets and phones to indulge in and interact with content on their TVs.

The first thing that the company demonstrated was the ability to watch a movie or show on a TV using your Xbox, stop the movie, and continue watching it — from where you left off — on your tablet, and vice versa. As Microsoft intends to compete with Apple in the living room, it was only a matter of time until they’d implement this AirPlay-esque feature.

This isn’t all there is to SmartGlass. You can also utilize it to view relevant bonus content on your “secondary screens” while watching something on your Xbox; this was demonstrated on stage with Game of Thrones. The same applies to bonus content with games; they showed a user playing Halo 4 being able to view information and schematics on a ship on their tablet. Users will also be able to actually interact with some games using their tablets as well: They showed off the ability to make a play in a football game on your tablet then execute/play it on the Xbox, scoring a touchdown.

And finally, they showed off how SmartGlass can help with using the Internet on your TV. As using a keyboard and mouse in the living room is something that nobody does, they demonstrated that you can easily browse the web using your smartphone and a few robotic Kinect commands. With SmartGlass, you could use your phone as a touch trackpad to control a cursor on screen, panning, scrolling, tapping to click, and even using gestures such as pinch to zoom. While I’m sure people will continue to avoid browsing the web on their consoles as much as possible, this at least helps to smoothen the experience.

SmartGlass will also be available on Android and iOS on top of Windows 8 and Windows Phone.

Here’s a video that showcases SmartGlass, Xbox Music, and Kinect voice commands:

Microsoft Touts Xbox 360 Worldwide Sales Dominance, Announces New Content Partnerships

During the E3 keynote in which Microsoft Ushered in their vision for the future of entertainment, the company also proudly pointed out that the Xbox 360 has gone beyond being the top-selling console in North America to having its foot on the throats of Sony and Nintendo worldwide. Now, their global reign didn’t just begin this month; not only was the Xbox 360 the best-selling console of 2011, but Xbox yearly sales surpassed that of the PS3 and Wii back in February, so it seems that the king of the living room is only maintaining its worldwide sales reign.

Today’s announcements of SmartGlass, Xbox Music, Internet Explorer on Xbox, and numerous hit titles should only act to bolster sales. Microsoft is rightfully pretty enthused about it:

“Xbox is on a mission to make the entertainment that you love even more amazing,” said Don Mattrick, president of the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft. “With Xbox SmartGlass, we are lighting up entertainment across your phone, tablet, PC and TV in a completely new way. If you love to play games, watch TV and movies, surf the Web, or listen to music, there has never been a better time to be on Xbox.”

Microsoft has also announced a multitude of new media partnerships and content that will be coming to the Xbox within the next 12 months. Here are 35 such partnerships that the company announced today:

Absolute Radio (U.K.), Ameba TV (Canada, U.S.), BreakMedia (Australia, Canada, India, Ireland, Singapore, South Africa, U.K., U.S.), Comedy Central Stand Up (U.S.), Comoyo (Denmark, Norway, Sweden), Corus Entertainment’s Franklin the Turtle (Canada), GameSpot TV (Australia, Canada, U.K., U.S.), Headweb (Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden), Indie Flix (U.S.), Machinima (All Xbox LIVE markets), Napster (Germany, U.K.), Nickelodeon (U.S.), Paramount Movies (U.S.), Picturebox (U.K), Quickflix (Australia, New Zealand), Rakuten ShowTime (Japan), Revision3 (Canada, U.K., U.S.), Rhapsody (U.S.), RTL XL (Netherlands), Slacker Radio (Canada, U.S.), SnagFilms (U.S.) Terra Sunday TV (Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico), The AOL On Network (Australia, Canada, Netherlands, U.K., U.S.), The Weather Channel (U.S.), The Whistle (U.S.), TOU.TV (Canada), TV3 (Spain), Twitch TV (U.S.), Univision (U.S.), Wuaki (Spain), and Youzee (Spain).

And for you sport fans, Microsoft has the following content providers in store for you:

  • NBA Game Time with League Pass Broadband (U.S.) and NBA League Pass (outside of the U.S.). Fans who subscribe to League Pass Broadband will have access to hundreds of out of market live games (blackout restrictions apply in the U.S. and some international markets), plus highlights from around the league and up to the minute stats of your favorite players.
  • NHL GameCenter LIVE™ (Worldwide except Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden). Hockey fans will be able to enjoy every moment of the live action as it happens on the ice, with live games (out-of-market and blackout restrictions apply), more in-game interactivity, and replays and highlights on demand any time.
  • ESPN (U.S.). Later this year fans will enjoy 24/7 live programming through WatchESPN from ESPN Networks – ESPN, ESPN 2, ESPN 3 and ESPN U. All the favorites, including “SportsCenter,” “SportsNation,” “The Mike and Mike Show,” as well as ESPN’s coverage of the NFL, MLB and the NBA, will be live on Xbox.

In conclusion, Kinect voice search will be expanding to 12 additional countries: Australia, Austria, Brazil, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain and Switzerland. It’s definitely been a big day for the Xbox. Stay tuned as we delve further into today’s various announcements from the Xbox E3 keynote.

Image Source: Josh Ferris (Flickr)

Watch EA, Sony, Ubisoft And Nintendo’s E3 2012 Press Conferences Live

E3 or Electronics Entertainment Expo 2012 is here upon us. EA, Microsoft, Nintendo, Sony and Ubisoft – each have their own press conferences demonstrating their products and keynotes. While Microsoft’s keynote just concluded half hour ago, the rest will be livestreaming their keynotes. Here’s a summary of press conference timings and livestream links, if you don’t want to miss them

Electronic Arts




Thanks to Sameer from MCV India for collating the links!

New Need For Speed: Most Wanted Is Coming Soon

Ask any gamer who likes Racing genre of games what their favorite game is and you’re bound to hear about Need For Speed: Most Wanted a lot of times. Need For Speed: Most Wanted was an absolute blast of a game, combining what most people crave – open world racing, car customization, street racing and cop chases.

IGN reports that a new New Need For Speed: Most Wanted is coming soon, and this was outed by TwitchTV’s E3 gaming schedule.  Whether the new Most Wanted will be a reboot of the series or a sequel remains to be seen; there’s no news on what the new game’s going to be like. Come E3 2012, however, this should be clear.

E3 2012 begins June 5th, 2012. And in case you don’t know what Most Wanted is all about, here’s Most Wanted’s trailer to bring you up to speed.