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Xbox for Families Editors

The Xbox 360 is trying to break outside the realm of the hardcore gamers this year, with trivia games and Disney movies available for download. Jeff Bell, Microsoft's vice president of marketing, is hoping that the latest batch of family-friendly titles will promote "family date night" among Xbox-owning families.

Microsoft's Jeff Bell

"For the first time, we're starting to gain some traction outside the shooter, the core audience [of gamers]," he said.

To that end, the company has a new controller to go with an upcoming trivia game called Scene It designed for people who aren't used to the traditional button-laden game controller.

"It allows us to get past the intimidation factor for non-gamers," said Jim Merrick, a marketing director at Microsoft, who just started at the company after working at Nintendo for a dozen or so years.

But that's not to say the industry is turning its back on those of us who already like video games. One upcoming feature that grabbed my attention is one developed by Electronic Arts, that will take some of the time-consuming nature out of playing some games online with your friends. Don't have time to play 18 holes of Tiger Woods? This new time-shifting feature will let you break it down into separate challenges. You play one hole, then, whenever he or she gets around to it, your friends can play the same hole.

It's sort of like an Xbox 360 version of chess-by-mail.

Halo 3 has a cool feature that will let players automatically record their games to a video game file, and then go in and watch their performance, and their opponents' performance, from any possible camera angle. The game's developer Bungie thinks this will be a way for serious fans to develop their skills. It's also just kind of cool to watch, for those of us who are less serious about our Halo performances.

--Mike Musgrove

By Mike Musgrove  |  July 13, 2007; 6:55 AM ET  | Category:  E3 2007 , Mike Musgrove
Previous: What Nintendo Wants | Next: The E3 Grind Continues

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It's amazing that these new concepts are just rehashing things that have already been done. Nothing against MS, I think it's all for the better of the industry, but it's nothing new.

The idea of a new controller is a direct response to the Wii. The time-shifting game-playing was done long ago in the days of the BBS games. And one of my favourite games of all time X-Wing for the PC (along with many many other games) had the ability to store your game for viewing afterwards.

Posted by: phreekk | July 13, 2007 9:42 AM

Any info or rumors on more studio deals w/ MS for movie downloads over XBOX 360? This is a great feature of their console (especially HD availability), but let down by, at my last count, less than 300 movie titles for rent.

This seems significantly less than any of the other movie download sites, though perhaps more competitive to video on demand from cable / satellite.

Theoretically it seems that if you can access your Media Center PC via the XBOX you could also subscribe to & view on the XBOX 360 content from some other download movie provider. To me though the interface, speeed, quality and simplicity of downloading a movie through the XBOX video marketplace beats just about everything other movie download or video on demand I've seen. It just seems a shame that the content catalog ain't there yet.

Posted by: Archer | July 16, 2007 1:59 PM

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