Gamers Catch Their Breath as Xbox 360 and Xbox Live Reinvent Next-Generation Gaming
LOS ANGELES â May 9, 2006 â The Xbox 360â¢ video game and entertainment system has created a global phenomenon with its record-breaking performance and fervent consumer response. Now, Microsoft Corp. hits the turbo button for gamers, announcing the next wave of games and accessories for Xbox 360 and new world-class Xbox LiveÂ® entertainment experiences.
At the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles, Peter Moore, corporate vice president of the Interactive Entertainment Business in the Entertainment and Devices Division at Microsoft, announced that gamers can expect more than 160 high-definition games by the end of 2006 for the Xbox 360 platform. In addition, Moore unveiled several new Microsoft Game Studios titles in development for Xbox 360 including âAlan Wake,â âFableÂ® 2,â âForza Motorsportâ¢ 2â and the next installment in the critically acclaimed âHaloÂ®â franchise, âHalo 3.â
Xbox 360 continues to evolve and feed the imagination of gamers everywhere. This week at E3, the following Microsoft Game Studios exclusives will showcase the breath and depth of Microsoftâs next-generation lineup:
Â· âAlan Wakeâ (Remedy Entertainment Inc.). âAlan Wakeâ is a psychological action thriller. Cited as one of the best titles of E3 2005, âAlan Wakeâ introduces a deeply engaging and suspenseful storyline in a free-roaming open world that invites players to unravel the riveting plot and experience intense combat that combines the use of light with more conventional weapons. âAlan Wakeâ will be released on Windows Vistaâ¢ and Xbox 360. Timing is not yet announced.
Â· âBlue Dragonâ (Mistwalker/Artoon Co. Ltd.). From famed game producer Hironobu Sakaguchi comes âBlue Dragon,â a unique, epic role-playing game (RPG) that centers on a young boy named Shu and several of his friends who must harness the power of their phantom shadows in their fight against an eminent evil. âBlue Dragonâ will launch later this year in Japan.
Â· âCrackdownâ (Real Time Worlds). Dave Jones, creator of âGrand Theft Auto,â brings his brand of unprecedented, open-ended gameplay to the next-generation with âCrackdownâ¢.â âCrackdownâ sets players loose in a free-form, persistent playground where a citywide fight against crime requires a new kind of hero who evolves into a bigger, stronger, faster, more efficient weapon of justice through continued gameplay. âCrackdownâ will launch in 2006. Timing is not yet announced.
Â· âFable 2â (Lionhead Studios). âFable 2â is the highly anticipated sequel to the best-selling âFable.â Set 500 years after the original game, âFable 2â will offer even more choices and features, while building on the core gameplay theme of âFableâ where every choice continually defines who you become, allowing you to truly live the life you choose. Timing is not yet announced.
Â· âForza Motorsport 2â (Turn 10). âForza Motorsport 2â roars into the next generation with more than 300 customizable cars and 60 frames per second of head-turning, high-definition gameplay that creates the most stunningly realistic racing simulation ever experienced. Timing is holiday 2006.
Â· âGears of Warâ (Epic Games Inc.). âGears of Warâ thrusts gamers into humankindâs epic battle for survival against the Locust Horde, a nightmarish race of creatures that surface from the bowels of the planet. Blending the best of tactical action games with the best of survival horror titles, âGears of Warâ features cinematic, beautifully rendered interactive environments with high-definition visuals. âGears of Warâ will launch on Emergence Day 2006.
Â· âHalo 3â (Bungie Studios). The epic saga continues with âHalo 3,â the hugely anticipated sequel to the highly successful and critically acclaimed âHalo 2.â In this third chapter of the âHaloâ trilogy, Master Chief returns to finish the fight, bringing the epic conflict between the Covenant, the Flood and the entire human race to a dramatic, pulse-pounding climax. Timing is 2007.
Â· âMass Effectâ (BioWare Corp.). âMass Effectâ is an RPG trilogy developed by BioWare, set in a massive, living universe waiting for exploration and discovery. Gamers travel to distant, uncharted worlds â and uncover the past to save the future â in a richly detailed story where playersâ actions, sometimes morally challenging, will determine the fate of civilization. Timing is not yet announced.
Â· âShadowrunâ (FASA Studio). Bringing the Microsoft vision of âLive Anywhereâ to life, âShadowrunâ¢â is the first cross-platform game for Xbox 360 and Windows Vista. âShadowrunâ is a multiplayer, first-person shooter that propels team-based combat into a new dimension with a revolutionary blend of modern weaponry and ancient magic. âShadowrunâ will be available at the launch of Windows Vista.
Â· âToo Humanâ (Silicon Knights). âToo Humanâ is the first installment in a fast-paced action trilogy, where players assume the role of Baldur, a cybernetic god charged with defending mankind from an onslaught of monstrous war machines. In âToo Human,â players are treated to a nonstop barrage of action powered by the seamless integration of melee and ranged firearms combat and fueled by breathtaking visuals. âToo Humanâ will launch in holiday 2006.
Â· âViva PiÃ±ataâ (Rare Ltd.). âViva PiÃ±ataâ is a window to a fantastical world full of wild-roaming PiÃ±ata animals. Players customize their world to attract PiÃ±atas, handle relationships among the more than 60 species, and protect their PiÃ±atas from the dangers that threaten to break them open. âViva PiÃ±ataâ will launch in holiday 2006.
Gamers can also expect to see amazing second- and third-party Xbox 360 titles at E3 this year:
Â· âNinety-Nine Nightsâ (Q Entertainment Ltd./Phantagram Co. Ltd.). âNinety-Nine Nightsâ is a fantasy action game that invites gamers to experience an immersive and emotional story though the eyes of both good and evil, while fighting among hundreds of fellow soldiers through an epic adventure. âNinety-Nine Nights,â exclusive to Xbox 360, will launch in summer 2006 in the U.S.
Â· âLost Planetâ (Capcom Entertainment Inc.). Keiji Inafune, the creator of âMega Manâ and âOnimusha,â brings to life a riveting sci-fi action shooter with intense cinematic gameplay set within the merciless frozen tundra of a hostile planet. âLost Planet,â an Xbox 360 exclusive, features online multiplayer gameplay via Xbox Live and will launch in the first quarter of 2007.
Â· âSaints Rowâ (THQ). An Xbox 360 exclusive, âSaints Rowâ is an explosive, third-person action/driving hybrid developed by Volition Inc. and is the only game in its genre that offers players unrivalled character customization options and a multiplayer experience through Xbox Live. This title will launch in fall 2006.
Â· âDead or Alive: Xtreme 2â (Tecmo Inc.). Get wet with Team Ninjaâs newest graphical masterpiece, the Xbox 360 exclusive âDead or AliveÂ®: Xtreme 2.â All the favorite DOA girls are back and ready to battle it out in the tropical waters of Zachâs Island on their high-performance personal watercraft, compete in assorted and alluring activities, sunbathe on white sand beaches, and go all-in at Zachâs Casino. This title will launch during the 2006 holiday season.
Â· âPreyâ (2K Games). An Xbox 360 console exclusive, âPreyâ is a groundbreaking first-person shooter that raises the bar and turns the genre upside-down with awesome new gameplay features and next-generation graphics. This title will be available in July 2006.
Â· âTom Clancyâs Splinter Cell Double Agentâ (Ubisoft). Sam Fisher makes his next-generation debut on the Xbox 360 with âTom Clancyâs Splinter Cell Double Agentâ¢.â The best-selling âSplinter CellÂ®â franchise takes an entirely new direction, allowing gamers to play as a double agent for the first time ever in the sagaâs history. The game launches in September 2006.
Â· âMadden NFL 07â (EA Sports). With the exclusive video game license of the NFL and PLAYERS INC., âMadden NFL 07â continues to be the No. 1 football franchise in history with more than 51 million copies sold. In its 17th installment, gamers can control the running game like never before. For the first time ever, they can step up as the lead blocker to create a hole, and then take control of the tailback and smash through, overpower or slash away from would-be tacklers as they fight for every yard. Innovative rushing controls give players a game-breaking ground attack featuring all-new jukes, cutbacks and the distinct running styles of their favorite backs. Developed by EA-Tiburon, Madden NFL 07 will launch in August on the Xbox 360 and XboxÂ® systems.
Â· âSonic The Hedgehogâ (SEGA). Sonic is re-born for the next generation! Sonic blazes his way onto Xbox 360, melding top-tier animation production values with next-generation art, physics and game design to create the most intense, high-velocity Sonic adventure yet. Featuring real-time interactive 3-D environments, a large cast of new and returning characters, and a blistering sense of speed, get ready for the reinvention of Sonic The Hedgehogâ¢. Timing is not yet announced.
Xbox Live Arcade
Xbox Live, surpassing 3 million connected members, continues its commanding leadership position in the online unified gaming and entertainment space. Since launch, nearly 60 percent of Xbox 360 owners have joined the Xbox Live community. In addition, over 90 percent of connected members are downloading content from Xbox Live Marketplace, driving more than 18 million downloads in the first six months.
Xbox Live Arcade provides quick fun experiences for gamers of all interests, skill levels and budgets. This mainstream favorite provides the most sought-after downloadable games in high definition supported by integrated friends list, achievements, leaderboards, and voice and video communication.
In addition, Microsoft today announced a power-packed lineup that will be added to the already significant library of Xbox Live Arcade titles. Gamers can expect the following nostalgic favorites and original, innovative gaming experiences by end of year:
Â· NAMCO BANDAI Games America Inc. NAMCO BANDAI Games America Inc. is bringing legendary coin-op favorites âPac-Man,â âGalaga,â âDig Dugâ and âRally-X,â all complete with Xbox Live features such as leaderboards and achievements.
Â· Konami. Konami revives classic franchises including âFrogger,â âContraâ and âSuper Contra,â âTrack & Field,â âTime Pilot,â and âScramble,â each offering updated graphics and Xbox Live support.
Â· Midway. Midway Games Inc. brings a new suite of classic arcade titles to Xbox Live Arcade, including âDefenderÂ®,â âPaperboyÂ®,â âRoot Beer Tapperâ¢â and âUltimate Mortal KombatÂ® 3,â complete with graphical upgrades and multiplayer play over Xbox Live.
Â· âSonic The Hedgehog High Speedâ (SEGA). Microsoft and SEGAÂ® join forces to bring some of the best console classics to Xbox Live Arcade including âSonic The Hedgehog High Speed.â Everyoneâs favorite blue hedgehog makes his high-speed debut in high definition with full leaderboard and achievement support.
Â· âLumines Live!â (Q Entertainment). A fresh new installment to the original puzzle action hit titles series, âLumines Live!â will debut exclusively on Xbox Live Arcade. It features frenetic puzzle action married with video, music and themes from todayâs hottest pop culture icons. Whatâs more, âLumines Live!â features full multiplayer play over Xbox Live, an exclusive Duel mode and an all-new Puzzle mode, downloadable puzzles, and music and skins from Xbox Live Marketplace, including the hit Madonna single, âSorry.â
Â· Indie Game Lineup. For the first time in history, Microsoft has opened the world of video game consoles to independent game developers. Some of the worldâs most creative independent game talents are developing games for Xbox Live Arcade, including PopCap Games (the creators of award-winning games such as âZumaâ), which brings its first action shooter title, âHeavy Weapon,â to the platform. Additional Xbox Live Arcade titles featured at E3 include âCloning Clydeâ (Wahoo Studios/NinjaBee), âRoboBlitz,â (Naked Sky Entertainment Inc.) and âMutant Storm Empireâ (PomPom).
Xbox 360 Accessories: More Ways to Play
The suite of Xbox 360 accessories continues to expand to give gamers more ways to experience their favorite games and movies and to stay connected with friends. Microsoft announced new, cross-platform accessories that will enable gamers to take the thrill of wireless gaming one step further on the Xbox 360 console and WindowsÂ®-based PC, while providing additional details on other new accessories coming to the Xbox 360 system this holiday:
Â· The Xbox 360 Wireless Racing Wheel uses the latest wireless and force feedback technology to bring new realism to racing games such as âProject Gotham RacingÂ® 3â and âForza Motorsport 2.â From drifting to power sliding, feel the intensity of every turn.
Â· The Xbox 360 Wireless Headset integrates seamlessly with the Xbox 360 console to provide wireless voice chat, stylish ergonomic design and superior voice quality to chat over the Xbox Live network.
Â· The Xbox 360 HD DVD Player, available this holiday, delivers a superior digital audio and visual experience to consumers, enabling them to enjoy blockbuster movies in stunning high definition through their Xbox 360 system. It includes the Xbox 360 Universal Media Remote.
Â· The Xbox 360 Wireless Gaming Receiver for Windows connects existing and future Xbox 360 wireless accessories to the PC, allowing gamers to enjoy the Xbox 360 Wireless Controller, Xbox 360 Wireless Headset and Xbox 360 Wireless Racing Wheel on a second platform.
Â· The Xbox Live Vision video camera will allow gamers with Xbox Live Gold to customize their gamer picture, send photo messages, and video chat with friends and family over Xbox Live. Featured titles include âPinball FXâ (Zen), âTom Clancyâs Rainbow SixÂ® Vegasâ (Ubisoft), âTotemBallâ (Freeverse) and âWorld Series of Poker: Tournament of Championsâ (Activision). Xbox Live Vision launches in North America and Europe on Sept. 19 and the rest of the world on Feb. 10, 2007.
Â· Xbox 360 Memory Unit (256MB). With four times more capacity than the original, gamers can easily store and transfer even more Xbox 360 saved games, Xbox Live profiles, full Xbox Live Arcade titles and other entertainment content downloaded from Xbox Live Marketplace.
Xbox Continues to Deliver
Xbox gamers have even more to celebrate. With more than 825 Xbox games available and more than 24 million Xbox consoles sold worldwide, the community of Xbox gamers continue to have superb videogame experiences.
This year at E3 top-tier Xbox games such as âMortal KombatÂ® 3â (Midway Games), âJustice League Heroesâ (Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment), âDisney/Pixarâs Carsâ (THQ Inc.), âDestroy all Humans!â¢2â (THQ) and âLEGOÂ® Star Warsâ¢ II: The Original Trilogyâ (LucasArts) will all be highlighted at this yearâs E3.
About Xbox and Xbox 360
Microsoft revolutionized the gaming industry with the November 2001 launch of Xbox (http://www.xbox.com), its first-generation video game and entertainment system, now sold in 26 countries. Microsoft introduced its next-generation system, Xbox 360, in the 2005 holiday season in Europe, Japan and North America, and launched the system in Australia, Colombia, Hong Kong, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore and Taiwan in 2006. Xbox 360 (http://www.xbox.com/xbox360) is the most powerful video game and entertainment system, delivering the best games, the next generation of the premier Xbox Live entertainment network, and unique digital entertainment experiences that revolve around gamers.
About Microsoft Game Studios
Microsoft Game Studios is a leading worldwide publisher and developer of games for the Xbox and Xbox 360 video game systems, the Windows operating system, and online platforms. Comprising a network of top developers, Microsoft Game Studios is committed to creating innovative and diverse games for Windows (http://www.microsoft.com/games), including such franchises as âAge of EmpiresÂ®,â âFlight Simulatorâ and âZoo TycoonÂ®;â Xbox and Xbox 360 (http://www.xbox.com), including such games as the upcoming âGears of Warâ and franchises such as âHalo,â âFable,â âProject Gotham Racingâ and âForza Motorsportâ; and MSNÂ® Games (http://www.games.msn.com), the official games channel for the MSN network and home to such hits as âBejeweledâ and âHexicÂ®.â
About Xbox Live
Xbox Live is the first and only unified online entertainment network seamlessly integrated throughout the entire console experience, making it easy for people to find the friends, games and entertainment they want from the moment they power on their Xbox 360 system. Xbox Live connects more than 3 million members across 24 countries to enjoy hundreds of multiplayer games, downloadable games via Xbox Live Arcade, free and premium playable game demos, music videos, and movie trailers, as well as new game levels, characters and vehicles for all their favorite retail games. More information can be found online at http://www.xbox.com/en-us/live.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq âMSFTâ) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.