Gamasutra is attending E3 in Los Angeles this week, and is bucking the trend by bringing you the highlights of the Microsoft press conference in easy to read, single-post fashion.
Though we'll be following up with a more in-depth dive on some of the key points in Microsoft's Los Angeles presentation, here are the major announcements from the conference in one place, easily structured for you to read.
- This Fall, a new Xbox Dashboard update will radically redesign the user interface with new 'channels' replacing 'blades, including a new 'My Xbox' channel that will feature customizable avatars designed by Rare.
- As part of the new system, players can form 'Live Parties', new 8-player chat groups where all players involved can seamlessly jump between sharing photos, videos, and playing games without ever dropping out of the party.
- Also added in this update is 'Xbox Live Primetime', rolling out this Fall, where users 'can star in their own game shows' - through a partnership with reality show giant Endemol, the company behind 1 vs 100, Deal or No Deal, Big Brother and Fear Factor. Microsoft says competing in the games will bring "real prizes," but no further details were yet offered.
- Xbox Live Arcade is adding a host of titles including Geometry Wars 2
and Galaga Legions
, the latter redesigned by the team behind Pac Man Championship Edition
, both debuting next month, plus a new South Park
- In addition, Valve's Portal: Still Alive
will debut on Xbox Live Arcade this fall with new levels and achievements.
- A partnership with Netflix and its 'Watch It Now' program is coming to Xbox 360, allowing Xbox Live Gold users who subscribe to the system to watch movies and TV shows on demand if subscribed to Netflix.
- Other new Xbox Live Marketplace partners include NBC/Universal, which, effective immediately, will bring a number of new TV shows including The Office, Battlestar Galactica, Heroes, and 30 Rock to the service. MGM International and Constantine have also joined the service in the UK.
- Bethesda's Fallout 3
, due out on both Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 as well as PC, is now promising exclusive and substantial downloadable content for the Xbox 360 version of the game.
- As well as bringing known title such as its new iterations of Banjo Kazooie
and Viva Pinata
to Xbox 360, Rare will also be debuting the original Banjo Kazooie
on Xbox Live Arcade. The new Viva Pinata
will utilize the Vision Camera to let players add new pinatas to their game through the use of physical trading cards.
- Resident Evil 5
, demonstrated on stage during the Microsoft press event, will debut in March 2009 for Xbox 360 (as well as PS3), and will include a full online co-operative mode.
- New casual oriented titles include a new Scene It
title called Box Office Smash
, developed by Krome, which uses the avatars from the My Xbox area of Xbox Live, as well as You're In The Movies
, from Codemasters and Zoe Mode, which sees players competing in short minigames with the Vision Camera, and stitches the results together into a using the Xbox Live Vision camera and minigames to create short campy B-movies.
- Elite Beat Agents
creators Inis are debuting Lips
, a karaoke title using a wireless microphone controller which works with your iPod or Zune plugged into your Xbox 360.
- Square Enix's Final Fantasy XIII
will simultaneously release on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in North America and Europe, making it the first ever major Final Fantasy
installment to arrive simultaneously on Microsoft and Sony consoles.
- Another forthcoming Square Enix RPG, The Last Remnant
has been confirmed not only as an Xbox 360 title, but will also see release on PC through Games For Windows.
- With earlier news
that Rock Band 2
would see content from AC/DC, Bob Dylan and Guns 'n' Roses, Guitar Hero World Tour
will see the first three tracks from the new REM album, retain Van Halen and the Eagles as exclusive to the title, and see simultaneous release of Metallica's forthcoming Death Magnetic album alongside its retail debut -- both for Guitar Hero 3
and World Tour
Look for more detailed in-depth coverage from Gamasutra on this event and others in the near future.
: In a statement released online
following the press conference, Microsoft's Marc Whitten has revealed further updates coming later this year to Xbox 360:
"Here is a look at some additional features you will find interesting:
- Play from hard drive. Copy your games from the game disc and play directly from the hard drive. Not only will the drive not spin, but load times are quicker, as well. Of course, you will still need the disc in the tray to prove you own the game.
- Access Xbox LIVE Marketplace on the Web. Browse and purchase Marketplace content whenever you want from Xbox.com and it downloads automatically to your console. Purchase that new map, television episode, the latest Xbox LIVE Arcade game or set up a movie to watch when you get home from work.
- Dashboard built into the new Xbox Guide. For everyone who loves the blades interface, it's not going away; they are now built directly in to the new Xbox guide. Every feature and option is available right from the guide. You can even access your full games library at all times. No matter where you are (in dash or in game), immediately call up your games played list and directly launch a game.
- New display support. Because you asked for it, we are adding 16X10 over VGA or HDMI, and support for 1440x900 or 1680x1050."]