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E3 Coverage - Microsoft Press Conference

The press conference was held at the Chinese Theater and began with a demo of Gears of War. Someone played a level from the beginning of the game and it looked great. Very dark and futuristic, lots of realistic blood splatter, tons of shooting, and even a chainsaw. Spectacular graphics.

Then Peter Moore took the stage and talked about how Microsoft is delivering the most powerful HD gaming to date. For the first time ever, all of MS gaming is under a single organization unit. Games drive entertainment at MS. Fastest start in console history 5 million Xbox 360 sold by end of June, 4.5 games and 3 peripherals per unit sold. These are great numbers. It’s about the games, the friends, and the lifestyle.

Xbox Live – a unique online experience, friend’s lists, achievements, etc. 6 million members by this time next year. Evolving beyond a shared game space to a true entertainment venue. Xbox Live Arcade has something for everyone. Classic arcade games from Namco, Konami, Midway, SEGA. More than games, a shared heritage. Created a space for independent developers where innovation can thrive. Lumines Live with exclusive Warner Bros content.

Xbox 360 games – Lost Planet Extreme Condition, Mass Effect, Moto GP 06, Saint’s Row, John Woo Presents Stranglehold, Test Drive Unlimited, DDR Universe, Prey, Superman Returns: The Videogame, by this holiday there will be over 160 360 games. 825 titles currently available on Xbox.

Fable 2 announcement Peter Molyneaux and Lionhead Studios

Forza Motorsport 2 – more customization, 300 cars to tune and paint, 12 player races through xbox live, available this holiday season matched with wireless steering wheel

Wireless headset

Xbox Live Vision Camera

Working on building better games for Japanese market

Splinter Cell Double Agent to be released Sept 06

Viva Pinata – whole new world that kids can jump into anytime and anywhere this game is about what happens to piñata when they’re not at a party holiday 06

Xbox Live Marketplace – digital distribution, 1000 pieces of content available today. Changes the way people try and buy games. Provides true episodic content keeping your favorite games fresh for years. Opens new worlds of digital entertainment – music videos, movie trailers. All in HD.

Xbox 360 HD DVD Player – roughly 2/3 the size of 360. Available this holiday. $499

Grand Theft Auto IV – 360 on October 2007. Exclusive episodic content via Xbox Live

Windows Gaming – revitalized marketing effort, latest in graphics technology, Windows Vista is game friendly. “Games for Windows” Vista is where it’s at for gaming, Direct X 10, it does look good, parental controls, more horsepower, more stability, more joint release titles that will come out on 360 and PC such as Shadowrun. There is talk of a single "Live Anywhere" interface so you can be on the equivalent of Xbox Live from an Xbox, a PC, or a mobile phone. There will be seamless interaction between platforms, so someone on a 360 could message someone on a PC and then they could play Shadowrun against each other.

Bill Gates came on stage and that was pretty cool.

I was struck by something Peter Moore said. There could very well be 10 million Xbox 360s out there by the time PS3 ships. That's a lot of Xbox 360s. And then I start thinking, "and the PS3 is going to be so expensive no one will buy it." So now my theory is that the minute people read the press release about PS3 costing $600 they're going to go out and buy an Xbox 360. Is Microsoft beating Sony, or is Sony beating itself?

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