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CES: Microsoft's Bach Talks Xbox's Plans For 2009

CES: Microsoft's Bach Talks Xbox's Plans For 2009

January 8, 2009 | By Staff

January 8, 2009 | By Staff
More: Console/PC

At Microsoft's Steve Ballmer-presided CES keynote, Microsoft's Entertainment & Devices Division head Robbie Bach discussed the state of Xbox 360, trailing the Xbox Live Primetime online game show service and LittleBigPlanet-like Xbox Live Community Game Kodu (formerly called Boku).

As part of the CES keynote, which also discussed Windows Live and Windows 7 in some detail, Microsoft' Bach re-iterated the recently revealed key statistics about Xbox 360.

The company claimed an 84 percent jump in online consumer spending on the service, and Bach noted: "With 28 million consoles sold worldwide, an active online community of 17 million members, and more than $1 billion spent on Xbox Live since the launch of the Xbox 360, it's clear that consumer demand for these great entertainment experiences has never been higher."

Elsewhere in the presentation, Bach trailed the two Halo titles shipping this year, with a demo of Ensemble-created RTS Halo Wars confirmed to appear on February 5th, ahead of the game's March 3 U.S. debut. Later this year, there's also Halo 3: ODST from Bungie itself.

Bach also threw out some notable statistics on Halo as a franchise, revealing that the franchise has now sold over 25 million copies, and that the average Halo player has dueled for more than 150 hours on Xbox Live.

In addition, the E&D president reaffirmed the date of "this spring" for the launch of the Xbox Live Primetime channel, described as "bringing together the best of TV and gaming." The previously delayed channel will debut with an online version of the popular TV show "1 vs. 100" that enables thousands of gamers to play together with real hosts and compete for real prizes.

Finally, Bach highlighted the achievements of Xbox Live Community Games to date, with over 100 Community Games available thus far since the November launch of the Xbox 360 service.

He particularly showcased an upcoming Community Game called Kodu, which is launching in the spring, and "designed to help anyone from age 7 to 70 create their own video games."

The Microsoft Research-created application, previously covered by Gamasutra when it was called Boku, appears to "bridge the gulf between Microsoft's more complex XNA Game Studio language and the user-created content of games like Media Molecule's LittleBigPlanet for PlayStation 3", as we noted in our earlier report.

Bach's demonstration of the application, with a 12-year old girl invited on-stage to demonstration her Boku-created application, may have been intended to counteract the more 'core' announcements about the Halo series, and ended the Xbox-related discussions on a family-oriented note.

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