More on E3's Microsoft Opener
The new, scaled-down version of the E3 trade show began last night as Microsoft threw a press conference to promote upcoming games for the Xbox 360 and Windows.
"This holiday will be unlike anything that's come before it," for video game fans, said Microsoft vice president Peter Moore.
And why's that? Well, mostly it's because this year's holiday line-up includes Madden, Grand Theft Auto and the latest version of Halo, the same games that gave the video game industry a record-breaking year in 2004.
Moore's argument, designed to win attention away from Nintendo and Sony, who will give their own press conferences this morning, is that gamers will only get all this fun on the Xbox 360. Halo 3 is an Xbox-only title, since it's published by Microsoft. And even though Grand Theft Auto IV will be available on the PlayStation 3, only owners of the Xbox 360 version will be able to download fresh content that will be available for the Xbox 360 version next spring.
And sure, there's other cool stuff on the way, too, he said, such as a game called Rock Band, which is being developed by the makers of Guitar Hero.
Moore pointed to research firm stats that say this year will be the first time that people spend more money on video games than on music. But, even so, this year's E3 is a bit toned down from previous versions.
Over the last few years, Microsoft has thrown its annual press conference at some glam settings, the Orpheum Theater, the Shrine Auditorium, and Grauman's Chinese Theater. Last night's event was thrown at a Santa Monica high school. A shindig thrown at a sushi bar by Sony last night was a cozy affair compared to events the company has thrown in the past where the company rented out a hilltop near Dodger Stadium or had famous artists such as Beck perform.
The video game industry trade group that hosts E3 is hoping that a smaller version of the show will be more effective than the lavish, expensive blowouts of years past. With Sony's recent price cut for the PlayStation 3 and with Microsoft announcing it is expanding its warranty for the Xbox 360 to three years, I wouldn't be surprised if these companies are just as happy to be saving a few million dollars or so.
One thing sure hasn't changed, at least. As always, everybody's eyes are on the continuing battle for supremacy between game console makers Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony.
Entertainment Software Association president Michael Gallagher is too diplomatic to weigh in very deeply on that one. But his answer, when I asked him about that yesterday, was true enough.
"It's a little early in this race to declare a winner or a loser," he said. "All it takes is one compelling title."
-- Mike Musgrove
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Posted by: juniorinaz | July 11, 2007 10:50 AM
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