Engadget & Joystiq live from Microsoft's E3 2007 keynote

Ok, we're live from Microsoft's E3 2007 keynote! The event officially kicks off at 8:30PM PDT, but we'll be doing our usual pre-game coverage here.

8:06PM PDT - Ok, so the event is being held at -- get this -- a high school? It's a damned fancy one if you ask us, full coliseum style seating. More after the break.

Nope, it's not gray. Trust us.

8:19PM PDT - Hip hop and Chemical Brothers blasts out amid the green neon lights and giant silver balls. Microsoft's decision to hold the event outside is taking its toll on us. The chilly breeze is making us wish we wore jackets. Pants too.

8:20PM PDT - The intensity of the green stage lights seems to be increasing. It's somewhat disconcerting to view the people next to us turning a bright shade of green in the resulting glow. We're surrounded by aliens...or very ill people.

8:23PM PDT - "Ladies and gentlemen, the show will begin in ten minutes." A mysterious fog is appearing on the edges of the stage. Did a 360 just overheat? LOLZ!

8:28PM PDT - Two white 360s and a black Elite are up on stage. If there's a gray system around we don't see it.

8:30PM PDT - There's a low object covered in a black shroud on the left side of the stage. What could it be? Maybe the return of the original Duke controller?

8:32 PM PDT - "Please turn off your cell phones and pagers." We're pretty sure nobody here has a pager.

8:34 PM PDT - Five Halo fans from Libertyville, Illinois, are playing Halo 3 music. Two guitarist, a violinist, and a drummer -- there's even an electric fiddle. The audience is drooling profusely.

8:36 PM - The violinist is flipping out to a hard rock version of the Halo theme. Well, flipping out as much as she can. It is a violin, after all.

8:38 PM - Peter Moore steps out and thanks the band, Capareal. "These fans represent the people who will be playing Halo 3 in just 11 weeks."

8:40 PM PDT - Every demo shown tonight will be released this year. "It's the greatest lineup in video game history." A giant Rock Band logo appears on screen and Peter starts playing.

8:42 PM PDT - He's singing now. Somebody get us out of here! The drummer is thoroughly abusing his fake drum set. Moore accidentally pauses the game. "It's me." he cries.

8:44 PM - "The Strokes, Black Sabbath, Nirvana, The Who and more bands coming later this week." You can build bands online too ...

8:45 PM The Viva Pinata crew appears on screen. "The party animals are coming." A series of mini-games with the Viva Pinata animals. It's... Viva Pinata: Party Animals.

8:47 PM PDT - Moore goes from cuddly critters to Mass Effect. A video with large cities and characters discussing a disgruntled alien plotting to wipe out the galaxy.

8:48 PM PDT - Mass Effect will be coming in November. On to the numbers. "Xbox 360 has the largest installed base with 5.6 million units in the US. ... We're outselling PS3 by nearly two to one."

8:50 PM - Moore: "Since November, Xbox 360 third party games have cracked the top 10 list 18 times. Number of Wii and PS3 titles in the charts in the third-party top selling sales charts: zero, nil."

8:52 PM PDT - Half of all consumer spending in this generation is on the Xbox 360. The top five games of the last gen were all Halo and Grand Theft Auto or Madden.

8:53 PM PDT - The only console that has GTA, Halo and Madden this holiday is ... well, you know. Take out Halo though ...

8:56 PM PDT - A crapload of video demoes on screen. Project Gotham Racing 4, Dynasty Warriors: Gundam, Call of Duty 4,Stranglehold, Guitar Hero 3, Beautiful Katamari, Lost Odyssey, NBA LIVE 08, Mass Effect, Fatal Inertia, Medal of Honor Airborne, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08, Ace Combat 6, NHL 08, Assassin's Creed, Spider-Man: Friend or Foe, The Simpson Game, Splinter Cell Conviction, Nascar 08, Eternal Sonata, BioShock, Madden NFL08, Tony Hawk's Proving Ground, Crash of the Titans, Harry Potter Order of the Phoenix, The Orange Box, Bee Movie Game (YEAH!), Rock Band, Naruto: Rise of a Ninja.

8:57 PM PDT - MS VP Jeff Bell steps out to show of an Xbox Live version of the DVD game "Scene It!" It's a hideously mutated remote with an enormous red button. "Four controllers and the game are included for the price of one Xbox 360 game."

8:58 PM PDT - "I'm pleased to announce that our friend at Ubisoft will be bringing Naruto: Rise of a Ninja exclusively to the Xbox 360." OK!

8:59 PM PDT - Naruto demo shows on-screen. Hyper-kinetic fighting is the order of the day. The graphics capture the anime quite well.

9:01 PM PDT - Jeff Bell pimps out the fact that this year's EA Sports games will be "twice as fast" as last year's games. Reggie Bush comes out and proceeds to wallop Bell, running four gazillion yards for a touchdown.

9:06 PM PDT - Xbox Live has more than 7 million members. "We've added a new member every eight seconds." New games for XBL Arcade: Bomberman Live!, Undertow, Hexic 2, Sonic the Hedgehog (finally!), War World by Ubisoft, Sensible World of Soccer, Every Extend Extra Extreme, Geon by Eidos, Wing Commander Arena, Feeding Frenzy 2, Track and Field, Spyglass Board Games, Golden Axe, Space Giraffe, Super Puzzle Fighter II HD Turbo Remix, Marathon: Durandal, Poker Smash, Switchball, Tetris Splash, Puzzle Quest.

9:08 PM PDT - The video store is the fastest growing part of Xbox Live. Two thousand hours of entertainment in the last year, 500 in HD. $125 million has been spent on this content. Disney movie titles are coming to Xbox Live!

9:10 PM Disney movies will be available tonight and in high-def!

9:12 PM PDT - Elite is coming to Europe on Aug. 24. VP Shane Kim comes on stage. He runs down a list of some of the same games we saw earlier. Yawn.

9:15 PM PDT - The Project Gotham Racing 4 team comes out to show off the game. "For the first time ... bikes will be introduced to PGR4 ... Honda, Suzuki, Ducati, and more."

9:16 PM PDT - Dynamic weather effects are shown off. There's fog in Shanghai. You can share photos and videos online when the game comes this September.

9:18 PM PDT - Alan Wake, Too Human, Fable 2 and Halo Wars show how MS has "given game creators the resources to shoot for the stars, take risks, and go for things other creators can only dream of."

9:19 PM PDT - Lost Odyssey is next up. "What is the cost of my immortality?" asks the protagonist.

9:20 PM PDT - Intimidating architecture and loud noises aplenty in the trailer.

9:22 PM PDT - Games for Windows now. Gears of War coming to PC ... big surprise (not!). New content, a game editor, and "some very big surprises are in store." Cliffy B comes out to show Gears on the PC.

9:23 PM PDT - Co-op will be in the Windows version. Marcus Phoenix goes against a massive Brumak in a typical dilapidated Gears environment.

9:25 PM - Five new single player levels in the PC version. The game is clearly running at 60 FPS. Cliffy leaves and Moore comes back on stage.

9:27 PM Sega, Eidos and THQ are delivering a dozen Games for Windows Live games this year. Epic is building GFW Live into Unreal Engine 3.0.

9:29 PM PDT - Nearly ten million gamers have moved to Vista. Games like Crysis, Hellgate: London, and Conan: Hyborian Advenures on Windows are all joined by: Thrillville: Off the Rails, the Bee Movie Game
(YEAH x2!) Age of Empires 3: The Asian Dynasties, Stranglehold, Bioshock, Universe at War: Earth Assault, Blacksite: Area 51, World in Conflict, Lost Planet, Kane and Lynch: Dead Men, Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts, Zoo Tycoon 2: Exctinct Animals, Juiced 2: Hot Import Nights, Viva Pinata, Spider-Man Friend or Foe

9:31 PM PDT - Call of Duty 4 gets shown off. A scary (and obscenely loud) voice talks about honor and economies. Probably a villain of some sorts then.

9:34 PM PDT - Two Infiinity Ward developers come out. They're promising "variety" in their next game. A real-time demonstration begins with the character inching his way through a bleak field, shadows bouncing off a very detailed rifle. He scans the grass for enemies, takes aim and kills an enemy from a far. "He's down. Goodnight."

9:35 PM PDT The shadowing is impressive, with seemingly every branch of a nearby tree casting an inky shadow on the soldier's weapon, and his comrade.

9:38 PM PDT - Exclusive multiplayer beta of CoD4 coming to Xbox Live. Check the Call of Duty web site for more details. Back to Peter!

9:41 PM PDT - Now we've got Grand Theft Auto 4. Real time footage is all from the 360 version, Moore notes. Episodic content coming sometime in Spring 2008.

9:42 PM PDT - Resident Evil 5! It won't be out this year, unlike every other game shown today.

9:43 PM PDT - The RE5 protagonist seems to be in a creepy, dusty African town. Oh, and crazy sickle-wielding citizens? Yeah, they're back. Full trailer on XBL marketplace July 26.

9:44 PM PDT Assassin's Creed. Jade Raymond comes up, accompanied by hooting and whistling. A new sprawling city is shown, with the protagonist high atop a tower. He leaps into a passing hay cart. "Luckily no one saw that."

9:46 PM PDT - The city is Jerusalem. "Part of your experience in the game is getting to know the city, and getting to know the people. They may help or hinder you. ... Last year we showed you the monks as one way to get in, but tonight we're going to show you a different way to get in."

9:47 PM PDT - Altair (the protagonist) distracts some guards with a well-placed, err, corpse. He dispatches another feeble guard and enters a dusty home. He then runs into a trap and is surrounded. "So now since we're cornered ... it's a good time to fight."

9:48 PM PDT - Altair's perforating his enemies with deadly efficiency, hurling an enemy through a set of nearby shelves. Animation seems a little rough in parts. "No two chase animations are the same," says Raymond. Altair pushes people out of the way as he chases someone across the rooftops. They still slow him down a bit.

9:50 PM PDT - November '07 for Assassin's Creed. Peter Moore returns. "Now each generation brings with it a few select stories that are groundbreaking and define storytelling. For many, that story was Star Wars. Thirty years later, a new generation is claiming a new story, and a new title ..."

9:51 PM PDT - Moore: "I'm very pleased to present to you a unique partnership between Bungie Studios, Weta down in New Zealand, and director Neil Blomkamp. This live-action trailer gives you a chance to see what they've been working on, and a new chance to believe."

9:52 PM PDT - Green text on a computer screen. "Re-armament initialized." Machinery in a large factory is manufacturing UNSC helmets, a young man is getting his head shaved. A huge array of Warthogs and weapons are shown, with a Pelican rising from beneath a cargo door.

9:53 PM PDT - The gray console is back! It's a new console for the "Halo Nation" (read: you). A Halo 3 special edition with a gray controller and other accessories.

9:54 PM PDT - The special edition is out this holiday as part of the greatest holiday lineup in history, sez Moore. Reaction in the crowd is lackluster.

9:58 PM PDT - A voiceover warns that "your world will BURN." A wide variety of locales is shown: underground caverns, a murky swamp, a desert. We see Cortana clutching her head and falling to her knees. Glimpses of a large space battle, Master Chief firing a stationary turret from within a Pelican. He seems to have a violent disagreement with the Arbiter at one point (oh, those two!)

9:59 PM PDT - The conference is done. The band from earlier returns to play us off to our appointment at the chiropractor (this ampitheatre is not comfortable).