Hey everyone, we up in the Shrine Auditorium to give you complete live coverage of Microsoft's Xbox 360 E3 event. We know they formally announced the device last week on MTV, but hopefully we'll all get some of these burning questions answered this evening. Stay tuned: we're live!
While we're waiting to get this show on the road, here's a quick recap of what's gone down. Today's Sony PS3 unveiling has opened up a world of questions regarding how Microsoft expects to maintain a competitive edge against a system that will supposedly have more than double the raw processing power, a next-gen media drive (Blu-ray, in this case), two-generation backwards compatibility, and even support for 1080p hi-def. We also still don't know how much the Xbox 360 is going to cost, an exact release date, what kinds of configurations it will have, and, of course the big question: will it have backwards compatibility?
Ok, we're getting started. Let's roll!
Kim's here to "start us on a journey". Man, Microsoft, hyping this at all?
They're showing what appears to be a commercial for the device. A commercial eh? Feels a bit like that's what this whole event happens to be.
We've got three execs up on stage, including Xbox posterboy J. Allard. They're calling this the "most powerful entertainment system in the world". Ok, we'll let them prove it to us then, yeah? They're talking up their successes with the original Xbox—"over 20m customers", and a $125 million in sales in one day with Halo 2. Yes, yes, we know. Now they're chatting up new Xbox 2005 titles. Can we hit the 360 yet, s.v.p.?
Two words: backwards compatability! That's right, everyone. It'll play Xbox games! (Well, some of them, anyway)
They still aren't giving up any specific date, but we can apparently expect the Xbox 360 to hit stores this year. The interesting part? It'll be a simultaneous launch for the US, Europe, and Asia—something we've never really seen anyone attempt (successfully) before.
They're showing off a rather long, elaborate demo of Dead or Alive 4 for the 360. Showing off cutscenes and video shots this way makes it hard to tell how much is prerendered—so we're assuming it all is. But if most of it isn't, well, we're more than a little impressed by these visuals.
J. Allard's back up. He's claiming that we can expect between 25 and 40 game titles for the 360 this year, and there are more than a hundred additional titles yet in development. He's talking up "the HD-era", and how they're going to "reach one billion people with our medium."
J's showing off the new dashboard system, and talking up Xbox Live Silver, their free level of out-of-box service. This will include the bread n' butter online gaming, as well as video messages, player matching, tourneys, music and photo sharing, the gamercard and gamer achievements, the Live marketplace, and more.
He's talking about Xbox Live Arcade, targeted at "non-gamers", which is a simplified "old school/retro" gaming experience. It appears to be free to Xbox 360 owners. Hmm, hardware margin.
They confirmed it! iPod and PSP integration! How much? We dunno, but we're definitely going to find out for you exactly what we can expect.
Uh, they're showing a total nonsequitur video of Gates and Ballmer hanging out in line in the Star Wars line to try and understand their demographic. Ballmer says, "HD! HD! HD!" Man, no one else here found that funny. But Allard got it right: "Billionaire software moguls attempting to be funny." Um, yeah.
Peter Moore comes on to yammer on about the zen of running. He wants to deliver "the Zen of gaming", and he's
introduced a demo vid of Lost Odyssey, Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi's latest masterpiece. Looks totally
hot, very classic Japanese RPG drama. They're also showing off in-game vids of Ghost Recon 3, which looks unbelievably
hot. They are also showing off NBA 2K6 and Kameo. Their Call of Duty 2 demo was a little choppy, which is a little
unexpected. Oblivion—the sequel to Morrowind—is being narrated by none other than Patric Stewart. Patric freaking
Stewart, dude. Now Gears of War, which will apparently "literally make you afraid to lift up the controller."
Don Mattrick, Pres of EA studios worldwide came onstage. He looks a lot like a (very) poor man's Tom Cruise—let's say Risky Business era—and he also brought with him Oakland Raider Robert Gallery, who's only about 800 times larger than both of them put together. He's claiming this is the largest EA dev commitment in their history with 25 titles in development. At least 6 will be out this year, including Need For Speed: Most Wanted, The Godfather, Fifa 06, NBA Live 06, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 06, and, of course, Madden 06.
Microsoft brought out Yoichi Wada, President of Square Enix, to announce their partnership and in developing for the Xbox 360, specifically Final Fantasy XI with Xbox Live integration.
Well, that's it! They're wrapping up here, so be sure to get up early (if you're on the left coast, anyay) for our live coverage of what Nintendo's got up their sleeves. We out!
FYI indie rock nerds: they're outroing with the Kaiser Chiefs. FYI everyone else who was soo excited last week about the Killers playing music in promotion of the new Xbox 360. They're playing live here tonight, and yeah, we're gonna heckle them like bigs. "Play Worked Up So Sexual!" Ok, maybe not.