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Sometimes a project is so big that it just can’t be kept secret.  Call of Duty: Black Ops II leaked out weeks before its official TV ad hit the airwaves; Assassins Creed III was rumored long before its official unveiling; and so on.  The same could be said for Microsoft’s mystery press event, which happened earlier today, as several people thought that it would be all about a tablet.  And indeed it was, as Steve Ballmer and company officially unveiled the Surface.  However, despite the lack of surprise in announcement, there was still plenty to be shocked – and enthused – about.


Yesterday, Sony held its annual CES press conference, and attendees both physically at the event and watching virtually through Sony's site got a look at a bunch of new technology, as well as a surprise visit from Will Smith, who came by to talk Men In Black III.  But it was also the place for new information on the PlayStation Vita, which launches at retail next month.  And Sony had a nice new feature to introduce for those who like watching movies.


Nintendo may not have had the greatest of years with its 2011 outlook, but 2012 could be an interesting turnaround for them between the 3DS' rising popularity and the prospect of the Wii U, despite its price rumors.  But Satoru Iwata, president of Nintendo of Japan, is ready to send the company out of the year on a high note, as he will host a "Nintendo Direct" web conference the day after Christmas.


Nintendo has seen better times.  The company is preparing to report its first quarterly loss in quite some time, and it's still trying to put faith back into its Nintendo 3DS user base, despite its botched launch earlier this year.  But things are on the mend, and along with the promise of a Wii U final build coming to E3 next year, the company will be updating the 3DS with new features, starting with a firmware update this November.  What can we expect?


Why anyone would hold a press conference so early in the morning is beyond us, aside from the fact that maybe they want to reach an international audience a little sooner.  Nevertheless, Nintendo held one earlier today, and discussed some new features for the Nintendo 3DS that are bound to get some attention from owners of the innovative handheld.  And yes, it's actually good news.


Hot on the heels of our speculation article wondering what services would be available for it, Larry "Major Nelson" Hyrb revealed the first official details on the streaming TV channels that would be coming to Xbox Live as part of next month's dashboard update.  And though the services may not be to everyone's liking (like ESPN), there's still plenty here to watch.


There have been rumblings over the past few weeks in regards to Xbox's proposed streaming TV service, which is supposedly part of its latest system update that's taking place later this year.  Today, we talk about what possible services could be coming to the system, along with the possibilities of it becoming a replacement to your conventional cable box, and, best of all, a date when it could all happen.


For quite some time now, Microsoft has been looking to expand the media services for its Xbox 360 console.  So far, it's done a good job, between the availability of programs on Zune, the Netflix streaming service, ESPN and the recent addition of Hulu Plus.  But it now it looks as if the company is serious about taking the next step, as it's talking with two major companies about possibly using its game system for something bigger -- in the form of a cable box.


Both Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 have their fair share of streaming services available, including NHL GameCenter (just wait till next season!), ESPN, Hulu Plus and Netflix.  But HBO is about to join the fray, as HBO CEO Jeff Bewkes has announced that the HBO Go service will be coming to consoles sometime in the near future, along with high-definition televisions.  Several users out there are complaining that this plan doesn't make much sense, but in the long run, it really does...just as long as HBO performs one small move to solidify its plans.


When it was first announced last year at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, Nintendo heralded its 3DS gaming system as the next big thing in handheld gaming.  Many users were excited, with images of Mario dancing around in 3D and games such as Mario Kart and others getting new life breathed into them.  The system's launch in March, however, told a different story.  The launch turned out to be one of the most lackluster for a system in recent memory (perhaps outdone by the Sega Saturn's rush to stores years before) and, months later, it still feels like it's running behind.  But some new warning signs indicate that the once-promising handheld is in all kinds of trouble.


So we've got some good news this morning if you have a Nintendo 3DS -- you're no longer limited to playing The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D in order to get the most out of your system.  As part of its weekly update, Nintendo has finally released a free Netflix app for the device, enabling you to access movies and shows from your Instant Queue anywhere you want to go -- provided you can reach a Wi-Fi point, obviously.  But is this enough to keep 3DS fans happy?

Now that E3 has come to an end and the dust has finally settled, it's time to look back at the press conferences this year to see how well each company did. First up on the list is Microsoft. After focusing a lot of their press conference last year on the Kinect, it would be fair to think that Microsoft would shift its focus back on core titles and possibly see the Kinect being featured in some, if not all, of those titles. For the most part, Microsoft did that and did it well, yet it still felt like something was missing in the end.