The most exciting part of E3 is now over. Each of the major players has hosted a conference, giving everyone a look at their gaming line-up over the coming months. Here we look at what we saw and rate each of them out of 10. First up is Microsoft.
Tom Orry - Editor
The negative reaction to Microsoft's E3 conference has been so great that it's hard not to think anything but bad thoughts. Having said that, while I didn't like the way Microsoft showed off its titles (or didn't show them off), there's no denying that its exclusive line-up is strong. In Halo 4, Forza Horizon, Gears of War: Judgment (and even Fable: The Journey), the company has sequels to firmly established heavy hitters that should all do significant numbers at retail.
I'm all for showing off third-party games at conferences - Tomb Raider looked great and Black Ops 2 looked like CoD - but those games got more time than most of Microsoft's offerings. The fact that Forza Horizon and Gears of War Judgment weren't demoed was baffling, and the lack of new game announcements for the core market couldn't be papered over by a bizarre stage demo for Kinect XBLA game Wreckateer.
The SmartGlass app was presented in such a clinical way that I failed to get even remotely excited, and it's hard to see it becoming anything more than a failed attempt to try and offer a service similar to what Sony and Nintendo can do with their Vita/PS3 and Wii U respectively.
Still, I genuinely believe that with Halo 4 and Forza Horizon, Microsoft could have the strongest first-party line-up this holiday. I just wish we'd seen some proper new announcements and a stronger emphasis on games - but hey, next year is going to be about the Xbox 720 and will be amazing, right? Right?
And if the cash thrown at Usher to get him to attempt to sing and dance came out of the PGR5 fund, I'm going to do something bad - like send an angry tweet to someone important at Microsoft.
Martin Gaston - Reviews Editor
Wow. What an odd one. And with a presentation like that, it's no wonder the Xbox 360's core audience are feeling hard done by. The Halo 4 demo was strong, admittedly, but it was barely discussed during the conference - presented as an olive branch to gamers, before telling them about sports and athleticism for yonks. It's completely mystifying that Microsoft didn't do an in-game demo of Forza Horizon, too, because Forza Horizon looks brilliant. So it goes, I suppose. Welcome to the future.
Services like SmartGlass may prove fascinating and important, but they were presented almost entirely without charm. But, hey, this conference proves that a predominantly American audience will literally clap for anything, including Internet Explorer on a console. Really, my American chums?
I was also a big fan of Usher's performance. I especially liked the bits where he told the audience to get up and dance. You might not have seen this when watching from home, but I didn't see a single person standing up.
David Scammell - Staff Writer
Xbox. Not Xbox 360. That's the message. Count how many times Microsoft used the full name of its current-gen console during its press conference and I can almost guarantee you'll be able to do it on just a single hand.
Microsoft is clearly winding down the Xbox 360 brand to prepare for the imminent unveil of its next-gen platform, then. But as such, Microsoft's 2012 show felt like one of those odd transitional years where no one was prepared to say all that much.
Still, it's clearly learnt from its mistakes with the last couple of E3s. To my surprise (and to my delight) Kinect played significantly less of a role than it has done in recent shows, and opening with a spectacular showing from Halo 4 drew us in from the very get go. SmartGlass' announcement also intrigued, although I remain slightly reserved on the concept. The technology is undeniably excellent, but if it isn't embedded directly into the gameplay experience a la Wii U, how am I expected to juggle a tablet with a controller and a Kinect? Nonetheless, it still seems a somewhat more exciting way for Microsoft to muscle into your living room than Kinect has ever seemed.
But with that having been said, those flashes of mainstream mediocrity occasionally still reared their ugly head. Ushering in Usher was a clear PR win for earning column inches, but a lowlight on a show otherwise geared back towards the core crowd. And why provide throwaway XBLA Kinect title Wreckateer with a good multi-minute segment when you're only prepared to show a CGI trailer for your console's last first-party hurrah Gears of War: Judgment?
Microsoft clearly has a lot of secrets. Back at Redmond and across the globe, it's fairly obvious that the first and third-party 'A-teams' are knuckling down on some next-gen stunners behind the scenes that we all can't wait to see.
But as a result, this year's show felt like a bit of a non-event. As Usher says repeatedly during one of his many hip-popping beats, Microsoft, 'Can U Get Wit It'?