At its press event at the Leipzig game conference, Microsoft did not debut any major new titles for the Xbox 360, but did nonetheless make the unexpected announcement that both Electronic Artsí FIFA 07
and Konamiís Pro Evolution Soccer 6
would be next generation console exclusives to Microsoft for twelve months.
This appears to imply that there will be no PlayStation 3 version of either franchise until late 2007, with the company commenting that this made "the exclusive home to next-generation soccer this holiday season," a major boon to Microsoft in the soccer-mad territory.
The company also confirmed the specific bundle deals and release dates for the Xbox Live Vision camera, for which consumers can chat via video, send photo messages, put their own face in a game, and customize their gamertag for the benefit of their friends on the Xbox Live network.
The camera will be available in the U.S. on Sept. 19 and in Europe on Oct. 6 in two packages, firstly the standard Xbox Live Vision packag, featuring the camera, one-month Xbox Live Gold Membership, Xbox 360 Headset, and free downloads of Uno
for $39.99 U.S./ euro 49.99. Secondly, the Xbox Live Video Chat Gold Kit includes a camera, a 12-month Xbox Live Gold Membership, an Xbox 360 Headset, free downloads of Uno, TotemBall
, and Robotron
, and 200 Microsoft Points for $79.99 U.S./ euro 89.99.
Officials also announced that the Xbox 360 would be launched in Eastern European countries such as a Poland, Hungry, The Czech Republic and Slovakia from November 3rd, 2006, further expanding the console's global reach.
Microsoft additionally followed up on a partnership with ten major universities to place the XNA development platform in the curriculum, the European part of a U.S. announcement already made
during the company's GameFest last week. Five of these universities will be in Europe, with Hull, Nottingham and Bradford in the UK and Karlsruhe and Munich in Germany.
Finally, one other minor announcement in the company's relatively uneventful Leipzig press conference was the revelation that classic German board games Settlers of Catan, Carcassonne
are to debut on Xbox Live Arcade in the near future.