Xbox @ E3 Overview
Illustrating a bold vision to expand video game entertainment by
embracing what it calls the Digital Entertainment Lifestyle,
Microsoft Corp. today unveiled its lineup of new games and
experiences for the Xbox® video game system, setting the stage for
this week's Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). With ambitious new
games - "HaloTM 2," "Project Gotham Racing® 2" and three new titles
from renowned developer Rare Ltd., to name a few - and an impressive
list of industry firsts, including "Music Mixer," XSN Sports and new
features for the Xbox LiveTM online game service, Microsoft
demonstrated how Xbox delivers social gaming experiences that
promise to redefine the video game industry forever.
"At the core of everything we do are great games, and in looking to
the future, our vision is to expand the definition of video game
entertainment by expanding gaming content and merging it with
services that will build the gaming community," said Robbie Bach,
senior vice president of the Home and Entertainment Division and
chief Xbox officer at Microsoft. "The convergence of content and
services is being embraced by people whose lifestyle is all about
being connected - the Digital Entertainment Lifestyle. Serving this
lifestyle, and the gamers who are part of it, is absolutely required
for success, and we intend to take a leadership position to grow
Ambitious Xbox Games Lineup
Ed Fries, vice president of Microsoft game content, provided a sneak
peek at the most-anticipated Xbox games in the portfolio, including
the hottest new Xbox exclusives:
"Halo 2" (Microsoft® Game Studios, Bungie Studios). "Halo 2" is the
sequel to one of the greatest games of all time. It promises to
surpass the original with revolutionary breakthroughs in the way
people play games, including engine and artificial intelligence (AI)
enhancements, and an unsurpassed team-based multiplayer experience.
It will ship the first quarter of 2004.
"Project Gotham Racing 2" (Microsoft Game Studios, Bizarre Creations
Ltd.). The sequel to the million-unit seller, "Project Gotham Racing
2" is the ultimate test of racing skill, style and daring, rewarding
drivers for not only how fast they drive, but for how they drive
fast - both offline and competing using Xbox Live. It will ship
First titles from Rare (Microsoft Game Studios, Rare):
- "Grabbed by the Ghoulies." Rare's first Xbox-exclusive game since
Microsoft acquired the company in September 2002, "Grabbed by the
Ghoulies" is a fun and chaotic beat-'em-up game that pits the brave
and endearing Cooper against the Ghoulies that have captured his
girlfriend. It ships holiday 2003.
-"Conker: Live and Uncut." Rare's "Conker" is back in an all-new
Xbox Live-enabled team-based shooter focused on story-driven
scenarios. With a wide variety of customizable multiplayer
scenarios, teamwork (and fun) is what "Conker" is all about. Each
scenario has its own objectives, rules, environment and back story,
adding emotional context to the genre. It ships in 2004.
- "Kameo: Elements of Power." This is an action-adventure game set
in a fantastic kingdom of monsters and magic. Players become "Kameo,"
a princess on a mission to rescue her three Elemental Ancestors from
the Dark Troll King, who has plans to dominate the fantasy planet's
wildlife. It ships in 2004.
"Fable" (Microsoft Game Studios, Lionhead Studios). From renowned
developer Peter Molyneux, "Fable" puts the choice squarely at
gamers' fingertips: Will they be good, evil or somewhere in between?
In "Fable," players choose their identity, determine appearance and
abilities, feel effects of reputation, and thus create their own
interactive experience. It will ship holiday 2003.
"Counter-Strike" (Microsoft Game Studios, Valve/Ritual). Designed by
Valve and Ritual Entertainment, two of the world's most renowned
game developers, "Counter-Strike" is one of the world's most popular
PC action games, with more than 75,000 simultaneous gamers playing
at any given time. It is the winner of numerous awards and ships
"Crimson SkiesTM: High Road to RevengeTM" (Microsoft Game Studios,
FASA). "Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge" is an Xbox Live-enabled
flight combat action game that immerses players in the life of a
swashbuckling air pirate, bringing the thrills of aerial dogfighting
exclusively to Xbox. It ships holiday 2003.
Xbox Live Is Evolving and Growing the Gaming Community
"With a community of over 500,000 gamers worldwide, the Xbox Live
service is growing strong and helping us learn a lot about how
gamers want to interact with Xbox," said J Allard, vice president of
the Xbox platform. "We're continually innovating and expanding the
Xbox Live gameplay experience, leveraging what we've learned about
what gamers want and allowing the most-talented developers in the
industry to take advantage of the endless possibilities that Xbox
As Xbox Live continues to evolve over the next year, the growing
worldwide community of online gamers will be enticed by a host of
Xbox Live Alerts. Gamers can receive invitations to play on their
personal digital assistant (PDA), cell phone or PC with MSN®
Xbox Live Web. Xbox Live stats and friends lists will be available
to view through a new Xbox site that links to the service.
Xbox Live Aware Games. More games will allow users to be "logged on"
while playing, even as a single player, so they can receive
invitations and keep up with what their friends are doing.
Teams and Competition. New features on Xbox Live will make it easy
for gamers to form teams with friends, and create and participate in
structured competitions on the Web and in games.
Xbox Live Now. Gamers will have a place to meet and can use voice
chat to determine where to begin their gaming experience. They can
decide which game to play and how to team up, and chat after the
By this time next year more than 100 Xbox Live games are forecasted
to be available, including the most-anticipated game in the
industry, "Halo 2," as well as games such as "Counter-Strike,"
"Project Gotham Racing 2" and every sports game from Microsoft Game
Innovative Digital Entertainment - XSN Sports and "Music Mixer" -
Microsoft unveiled XSN Sports from Microsoft Game Studios, the first
lineup of Xbox games in which sports fans compete beyond the game.
For the first time ever, gamers will challenge real people to create
their own leagues and build their own rivalries. Launching in
August, XSN Sports will change the way the industry develops sports
games. XSN Sports features include these:
Virtual leagues. Teams, leagues and schedules can be organized
easily from a centralized Web site, XSNsports.com.
Check stats on a virtual sports page. Xbox Live will automatically
broadcast up-to-date scores, standings and stats to XSNsports.com
every 15 minutes. For the first time, gamers can scout the career
stats of their next opponent.
Competition for the digital lifestyle. XSN Sports will keep gamers
plugged in - on the Web, on their cell, on their Xbox - where their
game is the center of the action.
Train to be a multisport champion. The XSN Sports lineup will enable
gamers to be a one-sport star or even an eight-sport superstar.
Combining the power of Xbox, Xbox Live, PC and mobile devices to
redefine the way sports gamers compete, the XSN Sports network will
include "NFL Fever 2004," "NBA Inside Drive 2004," "Top SpinTM," "AmpedTM
2," "Links® 2004" and "NHL Rivals."
"'Music Mixer' unlocks the digital entertainment capability of
Xbox," Allard said. "'Music Mixer' demonstrates how we can use the
Xbox to connect gamers to other favorite activities of the Digital
Entertainment Lifestyle, enabling players to access DVD playback,*
CD playback, photo viewing, gaming, music storage, online gameplay,
enhanced party visualizers and even karaoke."
"Music Mixer" expands the way people play, share and interact with
music, allowing any player to be a producer, VJ or American idol.
Features include the following:
With digital lyric-stripping technology, "Music Mixer" will provide
a limitless karaoke experience, letting Xbox players sing along to
millions of songs.
Players can mix, match, shuffle and customize soundtracks, setting
the mood for any situation. Players can enhance the music experience
with the addition of interactive 2-D and 3-D on-screen visualizers.
With PC media sharing, Xbox players will be able to easily transfer
their digital music and photos from their PC to their Xbox system,
creating the ultimate multimedia library to be enjoyed in the social
center of the home: the living room.
Xbox "Music Mixer" will debut this holiday in the United States for
an estimated retail price of $39.99.