E3 2012: Microsoft shows off ‘Halo 4,’ Smart Glass and more

Microsoft just dropped a whole bunch of announcements from its E3 Media Briefing, including its take on the smart TV.

The presentation may have kicked off with footage of some of the console’s most popular and highly anticipated games, such as “Halo 4,” “Splinter Cell:Blacklist,” “FIFA 13,” “Madden NFL 13” and others.

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But the most important announcement is probably the new Xbox Live functionality the company unveiled.

Smart Glass, as rumored, will be a streaming service that will take Xbox content to tablets, smartphones and computers — and vice-versa. Microsoft’s Marc Whitten said in the presentation that the service will work with smartphones and tablets that “you already own,” hinting that the program will even support platforms other than Windows tablets and Windows phones.

Users will be able to use their smartphones to control the Xbox content as well.

“I can now take my phone and use it as the world’s fastest remote control,” said Microsoft’s Marc Whitten.

The company also addressed one major complaint from Xbox users: Internet Explorer is finally coming to the Xbox, giving users the ability to browse from their consoles. Microsoft also announced that it would be adding more content partners, including Nickelodeon, Paramount, Machinima, Univision videos as well as the NBA and NHL for Xbox.

Tablets can also be used to interact with games on the screen, a feature that’s a main selling point for Nintendo’s Wii U. That’s bad news for the Japanese gaming giant, which needs a very successful expo to recover from lukewarm 3DS sales and flagging Wii sales.

But the focus of the show, of course, was the games.

Halo fans were excited to get a glimpse of the next chapter of Bungie’s classic series, in which your trusty AI guide, Cortana, appears to go a little bit, well, insane. Fans of “Tomb Raider” got a peek at the newest title, along with the news that Xbox owners will get an early crack at the downloadable content. “Call of Duty: Black Ops II” wrapped up the show, which featured a terrorist attack on the leaders of the G20 and, of course, plenty of urban combat. A new version of Just Dance, it was announced, will come with a new single from Usher.

Other developers such as Signal Studios and Twisted Pixel were also featured in the presentation, with sneak peeks at “Ascend:New Gods” and a title called “LocoCycle.” Microsoft also showed off a few frames of a new game, “Matter,” which will have Kinect controls.

One surprise from the conference was the introduction of a game from South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone. In the game, “South Park: The Stick of Truth,” players will have the role of the new kid in town and will have to work with the South Park cast to save the town.

Making the game, the creators said, was the first time that the creators have ever had to think about how the town is laid out.

“After 15 years of doing this show, it was the first time that Matt and I were like, ‘Where is Kyle’s house?’ ”Parker said. “Because we could always just cut to Kyle’s house.”

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