E3 2012: Microsoft unveils Xbox Music and SmartGlass app
Microsoft's E3 press conference reveals it's set to take on Samsung and Apple with a Xbox Music service and a media streaming app
Microsoft followed up Nintendo's surprise Wii U GamePad announcement on Sunday by unveiling a new Xbox Music service and SmartGlass streaming app at its E3 press conference.
In its goal to make the Xbox 360 360 more than just about gaming, Xbox Music will give users access to over 30 million tracks with a unified app that works across the 360, PC, Windows 8 tablets and Windows Phone 7 smartphones.
Details of the SmartGlass app leaked earlier this week, and Microsoft confirmed its existence explaining how users will be able to watch a film on a tablet and then beam it to a TV to continue watching from where you left off. Users will also be able to access content like cast information on the tablet while watching the film on the TV. Microsoft also demonstrated its potential for gaming with a series of concept videos showing the app integrated into Halo 4 and Madden 13.
As well as Windows phones and tablets, the SmartGlass app is expected to be available on Android and iOS, however Microsoft did not name any specific devices as part of the announcement.
Xbox 360 games unveiled
On the gaming front, Microsoft kicked off proceedings with gameplay footage of Halo 4 and also gave us a taste of Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, Tomb Raider and Resident Evil 6.
New games previously unannounced included Splinter Cell Blacklist (out Spring 2013), Gears of War Judgement (out Spring 2013), South Park: Stick of Truth, Forza Horizon (out October 23rd 2013) and Dance Central 3 with Usher taking to the stage to show off one of the dance routines he had choreographed for the game.
Nike+ Kinect Training and FIFA 13 gets voice recognition support
On the Kinect front, Microsoft announced that more hardcore gaming integration was on the way with Madden 13 and FIFA 13 both set to support the motion-sensing peripheral. A demonstration of FIFA 13 showed the ability to make tactical changes and substitutions via voice recognition during a match.
In a potentially lucrative partnership with Nike, Microsoft also unveiled Nike+ Kinect training which will enable users to use workout programs designed for elite athletes and record exercise data. You can also challenge other Nike+ Kinect users over Xbox LIVE.
Other notable announcements included Bing Search now supporting search by genre, Internet Explorer browser launching on the 360 in the autumn and Xbox support for Windows 8 tablets to allow users to play and discover games.
Interestingly, there was no talk of a next generation console currently being dubbed the Xbox 720, but it feels as if Microsoft is setting things up nicely for the next console to be on the agenda at E3 2013.
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