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Wednesday July 11, 2007 12:59 am

E3 2007: Live Notes From Microsoft Media Briefing

Xbox E3 2007

We hope you guys are ready, because while E3 may be quite a bit smaller this year, the announcements coming from all the game companies should still prove to be large. The Microsoft briefing is right about to start, and we expect to see and hear some fairly exciting announcements. Halo 3 anyone? Fable 2 FTW? Any unannounced exclusives? Check back here in 30 minutes for the full scoop.

UPDATE: Alright guys, hit the break for the news!

8:30: Lights out, and we are asked to welcome five Halo fans from Illinios…and then the cryptic Halo theme start playing. Freaky…Ah, apparently it’s some sort of band who I, unfortunately, can’t name. Fantastic.

8:35: Okay, well at least they are doing Halo some justice with their instrumental!

8:36: I thought they were done! Teases! This has gone on way too long…

8:37: Peter Moore hits the stage, so now we can say we have officially begin. He intros the band, and apparently they are just five teenagers from Illionois. Sweet, I don’t suck as much as I thought I did. Peter says they represent the millions of fans who love Halo, and Halo 3 is just 11 weeks away.

8:38: Wow, Peter just said that each and every game shown in this briefing will hit the Xbox 360 this calendar year. Time for a Rock Band demo via Harmonics. Peter is going to give it a shot. Aw yeah, he’s getting down with that wireless guitar controller! Two guitars, a drum kit, and vocal mic all going at once.

8:42: Now Peter’s singing?! He’s so into it, he paused the game by accident!

8:45: Mass Effect trailer being shown, and it looks off the hook.

8:46: Peter says Mass Effect will be on retail shelves this November. “This year people will spend more on games than they will on music. Xbox 360 is selling more games than PS3 and Wii combined, since their launches.;

8:49: “Since November, consumers have spent $2.4 billion on Xbox 360 hardware and software, which is more than Wii and PS3 combined.”

8:50: GTA IV, Madden 08, and Halo 3 will all be available for Xbox 360 this holiday, and are the foundation of the Xbox 360 holiday lineup. We must say, that is damn impressive, when you mix Mass Effect into the equation.

8:52: We have a series of trailers now, which gives us sneak peeks at Project Gotham Racing 4, Dynasty Warriors: GUNDAM, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, Stranglehold, Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock, Beautiful Katamari, Lost Odyssey, NBA Live 08, Mass Effect, Fatal Inertia, Medal of Honor Airborne, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08, Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation, NHL 08, Assasin’s Creed, Spider Man: Friend or Foe, The Simpsons Game, Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Conviction, NASCAR 08, Eternal Sonata, BioShock, Madden NFL 08, Tony Hawk’s Proving Ground, Crash of the Titans, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, The Orange Box, Bee Movie Game, Rock Band, and NARUTO: Rise of a Ninja.

8:56: Jeff Bell hits the stage to show us why Xbox 360 is for the whole family. He is showing Scene It for the Xbox 360, which includes a new controller for the console which makes playing the game super simple for anyone, what with the big red button and all. Scene It ships with four of these controllers for the price of a normal Xbox 360 game.

8:59: We get a longer look at NARUTO. Yippee!

9:01: Reggie Bush of the Saints hits the stage to talk about Madden 08. He goes one on one with Jeff in a quick game of Madden. They keep talking about how they shouldn’t look at the plays that the other is choosing. Has EA not fixed that yet? Naturally, Reggie destroys Jeff and scores a touchdown.

9:04: We get an update on Xbox Live, which now has over 7 million members. In the last year, they added a new member every 8 seconds. They forecast that by E3 2008, they will reach 10 million. Of course, this doesn’t say if it is just Gold members, or anyone with Silver. As for Live Arcade, they have had over 45 million game downloads. There will be over 100 available by years end, time for more previews!

9:06: Xbox Live Arcade games previewed: Bomberman Live!, Sonic the Hedgehog, War World, Sensible World of Soccer, Every Extend Extra, Geon, Sensible World of Soccer, Wing Commander Arena, Feeding Frenzy 2: Shipwreck Showdown, Track & Field, Spyglass Board Games, Golden Axe, Space Giraffe, Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo HD Remix, World Puzzle, Marathon: Durandol, Poker Smash, Switchball, Tetris Splash, Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords, and Boku Sudoku. Tonight the original Sonic the Hedgehog and Golden Axe hit Live Arcade.

9:10: On to video downloads. Xbox 360 has more than 2,000 hours of content from 28 networks and studios, including 500 hours of HD content. That’s twice the size of the nearest cable provider. Live members have spent over $125 million on downloadable content. Tonight, Microsoft is announcing a deal with Disney that brings their content to Xbox Live, including: Tarzan, Atlantis, Hercules, Emperor’s New Groove, Armageddon, Sky High, The Waterboy, Bad Company, Unbreakable, The Brothers Grimm, Bringing Down the House, Coyote Ugly, Deja Vu, Primeval, The Queen, Venus, all in high definition.

9:14: Every movie listed will be available for download beginning tonight, and all in high definition. Starting this fall, Microsoft takes HD video downloads global to Canada and Europe. On August 24, the Xbox 360 Elite will launch in Europe as well.

9:16: Shane Kim of Microsoft Games Studios hits the stage next, likely to talk about Games for Windows. Shane lets us know that in the last two years, games published by Microsoft Games Studios received a higher average review score than any other publisher, the latest of which is Forza Motorsport 2. It will sell over 1 million units worldwide by the end of this month. On the Project Gotham Racing, we now will receive a look at PGR4. We have bikes and cars in this one, and again the graphics look insane, which is something that PGR got spot on in PGR3 at Xbox 360 launch. It launches in September.

9:22: We get a look at Halo Wars, Alan Wake, Too Human, and Fable 2. These are supposed to be examples of outside the box thinking in game development.

9:25: Cliffy B gives us a look at Gear of War for Games for Windows. Five new missions and what look to be improved graphics.

9:31: Peter Moore heads back out to tell us that companies like Sega, Eidos, and THQ have signed on to create Games for Windows titles that support Live. Also, Epic Games and Microsoft are announcing that Games for Windows Live platform will be built in to the Unreal Engine 3 - pretty big deal from where we sit.

9:33: We get a look at Call of Duty 4, which looks simply fantastic visually. A couple of Infinity Ward developers hit the stage to show off how deep the experience is. They are going for variety this time around, apparently. Wow, you wouldn’t believe how amazing the in-game graphics look without seeing it. Shadows are some of the best we’ve seen.

9:40: Get ready for another multiplayer beta, because Call of Duty 4 will be bringing the beta goodness to Xbox Live. You can get more details on that at www.charliealphadelta.com.

9:44: Moore is back, and now it’s time to talk about Splinter Cell. Ubisoft Montreal is releasing Splinter Cell Conviction this holiday. Next up, Grand Theft Auto IV, time for another teaser trailer. Moore alerts us to the fact that all the real-time footage from the trailers are captured from the Xbox 360 version of the game.

9:47: GTA IV hits stores on October 16 in North America, along with two new exclusive episodes for the Xbox 360 launched by Spring 2008.

9:48: Resident Evil 5 is coming to the Xbox 360, and it’s the only game not launching this year. All footage is captured from an Xbox 360. We will get a full trailer on July 26 on Xbox Live Marketplace.

9:50: On to Assasin’s Creed. We get a look at a scene set in old-school Jerusalem. The game environment has great interactivity as far as the environment and locals are concerned. This one hits Xbox 360 in November 2007. Seems that 4th quarter 2007 is going to squeeze the cash from our very souls.

9:53: We get a live-action Halo 3 short. Hey, how’s about that Halo movie? Where’s the trailer for that, huh Peter?! The short was fairly cool, but we could have done without it since it isn’t really leading to anything. Peter just broke out a new Xbox 360 SKU - the Halo 3 Special Edition console, along with Halo 3 themed accessories. No price point given.

9:57: 24 titles hitting the 360 for this holiday…and now we close with a Halo 3 trailer. That’s it!

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