Wednesday, May 10, 2006


Microsoft's Press Conference

Microsoft's conference was not as exciting as Nintendo's, but still better than Sony's.

They opened up with an amazing demo including a play-through of the first level for Gears of War. This game could be a system-seller, it looks flat out amazing. It's a third-person shooter, with lots of cool gore and amazing damage and weapon effects. You use cover a lot, popping out to shoot, then back to cover, etc. This will be a pure adrenaline-junkie game, fast and furious action.

They announced a bunch of titles but many of them we'd heard of already. They did show a Halo 3 trailer, but it had no gameplay footage. They announced Grand Theft Auto 4 which will debut on the Xbox 360 (but possibly other systems as well). They showed a trailer for Alan Wake, which looks to be a great action/adventure title, but should also get a PC release. They showed some Brothers In Arms: Hell's Highway footage. Some Blue Dragon footage that I'd already seen before, but they said this game would hit Japan first, so all the Japanese players can buy it before the US players. Yes, both of them. They showed a trailer for a new Shadowrun game which will also get a PC release, and this was the most exciting news for me, an RPG fan and a big fan of the Shadowrun setting.

They talked a lot about Xbox Live Arcade and announced some games for that. This really is a cool part about the 360, and I'm sure I'll have a lot of fun with it, when I finally get my free Xbox 360. Probably the most exciting title mentioned was Lumines Live, a multiplayer version of the PSP hit puzzler.

The biggest news, however, was the changes to the Xbox Live system. They are calling it Live Anywhere, because you will be able to hook up with Live subscribers via your Xbox 360, your Windows Vista PC, or even your mobile phone. Download a puzzle game from Xbox Live Arcade, and you'll be able to play it on your 360, on your mobile phone, or on your Vista PC. Hook up for a game of Shadowrun and play it on your PC while others are playing on their 360's. It should be an amazing thing if Microsoft does it right. The only downside I see is they didn't say they'd support Windows XP, yet they were bragging about an installed base of hundreds of millions of PC users. Well, yeah, Bill, but we aren't all on Vista yet, and many of us won't even have Vista-ready hardware for a while. Hint hint.

Bill Gates was a terribly boring speaker, mostly because he talked more about the business side of things. It was fun to listen to Peter Moore talk, however, because he pronounced things so funny, like RENAY-saunce, and FRON-chises. Overall though, Microsoft put on a good show, and it was well worth watching if you have any interest in PC gaming or Xbox gaming.

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