Latest Microsoft Interactive Entertainment Gaming News

Two weeks ago, on Tuesday, November 7, Peter Moore took the stage at the BMO Capital Markets – Interactive Entertainment Conference in New York, where he confirmed Microsoft’s continuous force in the interactive entertainment industry and shared exciting news about truly breakthrough experiences that are coming to Xbox 360 this month.

As we near the anniversary of the Xbox 360 launch, we are on track to have sold 10 million units by holiday, and have delivered on the plan to offer a console that revolves around “you” - your choices, your friends, and your entertainment. In New York, we outlined our new one-stop digital marketplace for high definition content in addition to our full lineup of 160 game titles by holiday 2006. Add to that a suite of accessories that enable gamers to customize their own entertainment experience to fit their lifestyle; Xbox 360 is the console of choice for gamers who want to have choice.

What they want, when they want it

Beginning November 22, Xbox 360 will be the first gaming console to bring standard and high definition TV shows and movies via digital distribution directly to consumers. We announced agreements with CBS, MTV Networks, Paramount Pictures, Turner Broadcasting System Inc. (TBS Inc.), Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment to bring an initial lineup of more than 1,000 hours of hit TV shows and movies to Xbox 360 owners by the end of 2006.

The current lineup of content includes but is not limited to:

o “Robot Chicken” and “Aqua Teen Hunger Force” from Adult Swim

o “CSI,” “Survivor” and “Star Trek” from CBS

o Emmy and Peabody award-winning “South Park” and “Chappelle’s Show” from COMEDY CENTRAL

o “The Real World” and “Pimp My Ride” from MTV

o “Avatar: The Last Airbender” and ”SpongeBob SquarePants” from Nickelodeon

o “Skyland” and “The Nicktoons Network Animation Festival” from Nicktoons Network

o “M:i:III,” “Nacho Libre” and “Jackass: The Movie” from Paramount Pictures

o “Carpocalypse” and “Raising the Roofs” from Spike TV

o “Race Rewind” provided by NASCAR.COM

o Select episodes of the original season of “The Ultimate Fighter” reality series and the “UFC: All Access” shows from the UFC

o “Breaking Bonaduce” and “Hogan Knows Best” from VH1

o “The Matrix,” “Superman Returns” and “Batman Forever” from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

Making it their own experience

This holiday season nothing pairs with the library of Xbox 360 entertainment experiences quite like our accessory lineup. With the Xbox 360 wireless Headset, Xbox 360 Wireless Racing Wheel, Xbox 360 HD DVD Player, or the Xbox Live Vision Camera gamers can choose how to create their own experience, whether they want the most realistic race they’ve ever driven, or the most realistic movie they’ve ever seen.

On November 7, the Xbox 360 HD DVD Player, packaged with Peter Jackson’s “King Kong” and the universal media remote, began shipping to North American retailers and is making its way to store shelves. This accessory allows Xbox 360 owners to experience “the look and sound of perfect” with such films as “Serenity,” “V for Vendetta,” and “Batman Begins.”

Gamers can get the most mileage out of their accessories with the Xbox 360 Gaming Receiver for Windows, which lets the Wireless Controller, Wireless Headset and Wireless Racing Wheel work on the Windows PC. For those who want to build their ultimate interactive entertainment system, the best accessories, the most games, and the greatest experiences are on Xbox 360.

Revolving around great games

With accessories that customize gameplay, to a colossal game library that brings action, excitement and thrills, this holiday season we are set to bring forth a myriad of fun from friendly Piñatas to battles of epic proportions to bite-size action, pick up and play fun.

Earlier this month, “Gears of War” (Epic Games) emerged to a successful – and enormous – launch, expected to sell more than one million copies worldwide this holiday season, setting a new mark for the fastest-selling original game for Xbox. The frenzy continues this Sunday November 12th, “Emergence Day,” with online tournaments, including a 24-hour marathon event, bringing gamers more of the hyper-realistic and intense combat graphics and immersive beauty of the cinematic story that has sparked such a furor among consumers. The review scores are pouring in and this is the highest rated next-gen game to date with multiple perfect scores from around the world.

“Gears of War” (Epic Games) is just the beginning of the holiday excitement. “Viva Piñata” (Rare) bursts onto store shelves with its launch on November 9. With more than 60 piñata species to attract to your garden and engaging characters to interact with, Viva Piñata is sure to be the game played by kids of all ages on the Xbox 360. Brand momentum continues to build, following the success of the Saturday morning TV show, “Viva Piñata,” which airs on 4Kids TV (FOX) -- having quickly become a Saturday morning “must watch” for many kids. Licensing efforts are also well underway with the recent partnership announced with Playmates as the master toy licensee and American Greetings to create a social expressions line of products (greeting cards, gift wrap, etc.)

This month has also brought great titles to store shelves including: “Need for Speed Carbon” (EA) which hit November 1, “Call of Duty 3” (Activision) and “Tony Hawk’s Project 8” (Activision) were released November 7. The thrills don’t stop there, later this month we will also see: “WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2007” (THQ) on November 14, “Superman Returns: The Videogame” (EA) on November 20 and “Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Vegas” (Ubisoft) on November 28. For a full list of upcoming titles check out: http://www.xbox.com/en-US/games/calendar.aspx?WT.svl=nav

For gamers looking for a quick gaming fix, Xbox Live Arcade has a diverse library with more than 40 independent, original development and classic retro titles slated to be on the service by end of year which has driven more than 12 million game downloads to date. Not to mention, next year Atari fans can revisit old favorites like “Centipede/Millipede,” “Battlezone,” “Asteroids/Asteroids Deluxe,” “Missile Command,” “Tempest and Warlords” - with high-definition graphics, enhanced sound, leaderboard, multiplayer and a variety of achievements.

While on the casual games front, Microsoft Casual Games (MCG) is now touching 120 million players around the globe every month. MCG is the go-to provider of casual arcade-style gaming offering these 120 million players more than 400 titles across MSN Games, Windows Live Messenger, XP “in box” operating system games and Xbox Live Arcade.

Windows Vista went gold on November 8, whetting the appetite of Windows gamers. The first available DirectX 10 hardware was also announced by NVIDIA on November 8, making the countdown to Windows Vista truly tangible for gamers around the world.

What the numbers say

This holiday, we will have more than 160 high definition titles available for Xbox 360. October’s NPD data, the industry standard for tracking US momentum and market share, continues to illustrate the breadth and depth of the console’s services and features.

o Our record setting software attach rate is soaring at 5.2 games per console, which reflects the enthusiastic consumer response to the depth and breadth of our software library keeping the record for this period in the lifecycle.

o With our lineup of accessories it is clear why the Xbox 360 accessory attach rate rose this month to 3.0, setting another record for this stage in the lifecycle.

“Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Double Agent,” (Ubisoft) released last month, has soared its way to the top of the charts. Since its debut, gamers have been carefully living the life of double agent Sam Fisher and his international espionage adventures, making the title # 2 across all consoles on the U.S. sales chart.

Top Five Selling Xbox 360 Titles for October:

1) “Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Double Agent” (Ubisoft)

2) “Tiger Woods 2007” (EA)

3) “Marvel: Ultimate Alliance” (Activision)

4) “Madden 2007” (EA)

5) “NBA 2K7” (Take-Two)

The weather may be cooling down, but we are just warming up. Stay tuned as we gear up to spread a little interactive entertainment cheer across the globe in December!

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