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About Rainier

PC gamer, WorthPlaying EIC, globe-trotting couch potato, patriot, '80s headbanger, movie watcher, music lover, foodie and man in black -- squirrel!

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Xbox Pre-E3 Event - Upcoming Blockbusters & New Xbox Live Features

by Rainier on Jan. 1, 2006 @ 1:30 a.m. PST

Microsoft Corp. debuted its lineup of ambitious new games for the Xbox® video game system at a pre-Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) media briefing today, wowing a packed house at the Grand Olympic Auditorium with titles that redefine innovation and plug an ever-expanding audience of gamers into the Digital Entertainment Lifestyle.

Sensationally rendered thrillers such as "Halo 2," one of the most ambitious video games ever; the first three Xbox games from Rare Ltd., "Conker: Live and Uncut," "Kameo: Elements of Power" and "Grabbed by the Ghoulies"; and the highly anticipated sequel "Project Gotham Racing® 2" showcased the depth, breadth and quality

Microsoft Corp. debuted its lineup of ambitious new games for the Xbox® video game system at a pre-Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) media briefing today, wowing a packed house at the Grand Olympic Auditorium with titles that redefine innovation and plug an ever-expanding audience of gamers into the Digital Entertainment Lifestyle.

Sensationally rendered thrillers such as "Halo 2," one of the most ambitious video games ever; the first three Xbox games from Rare Ltd., "Conker: Live and Uncut," "Kameo: Elements of Power" and "Grabbed by the Ghoulies"; and the highly anticipated sequel "Project Gotham Racing® 2" showcased the depth, breadth and quality of the Xbox title portfolio.

In addition to its showstopping game titles, Microsoft announced new portfolio additions that seek to redefine what it means to play and compete in the video-game universe. XSN Sports, the new brand moniker for Microsoft-published sports titles, allows players to connect to real people in real leagues with real rivalries using XSNsports.com, a Web-based service that complements the Xbox Live experience. By linking gamers to a variety of wireless devices and PCs, XSN Sports moves the Xbox experience beyond the box.

"Great games are at the heart of our Digital Entertainment Lifestyle vision," said Ed Fries, vice president for game content at Microsoft. "And at Xbox, we're committed to the most ambitious expansion ever of what video games can be."

More than 50 Xbox Live games are scheduled to be available this holiday, with more amazing Xbox Live-enabled games scheduled to be available in 2004, including the highly anticipated "Halo 2." In addition, more games will feature downloadable content, allowing gamers to continue to extend their game experiences for months after a game's release.

Upcoming blockbuster Microsoft Game Studios games for Xbox include "Project Gotham Racing 2," the first Xbox title from Rare, "Grabbed by the Ghoulies," "Counter-Strike," "Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge" and "Fable."

  • "Halo 2" (Microsoft Game Studios, Bungie) is the sequel to the award- winning, sci-fi action, first-person shooter game, "Halo: Combat Evolved." In "Halo 2," the saga continues as Master Chief, a genetically enhanced supersoldier, is the only thing standing between the relentless Covenant and the destruction of all humankind. Featuring Xbox Live capabilities, "Halo 2" will be released in the first quarter of 2004.
  • "Conker: Live and Uncut" (Microsoft Game Studios, Rare) finds Conker back in an all-new Xbox Live-enabled team-based shooter. Conker, the cartoon rodent with a penchant for booze, wild women and lewd conduct, enters seven scenario-based modes, each with its own story. "Conker: Live and Uncut" will be available in 2004.
  • "Grabbed by the Ghoulies" (Microsoft Game Studios, Rare) is a humorous, beat-'em-up adventure game that takes place in a haunted house full of crazed ghoulies. Gamers take the role of Cooper, a young boy on a mission to rescue his girlfriend, who has been "grabbed by the ghoulies." Players will venture through haunted and ominous Ghoulhaven Hall, battling a variety of monsters while trying to escape the many tricks, traps and shocks awaiting them along the way. "Grabbed by the Ghoulies" will be available for holiday 2003.
  • "Kameo: Elements of Power" (Microsoft Game Studios, Rare) is an action- adventure game set in a fantastic kingdom of monsters and magic. Players become Kameo, a princess on a mission to rescue her three Elemental Ancestors from the Dark Troll King, who has plans to dominate the fantasy planet's wildlife. "Kameo" will be available in 2004.
  • "Project Gotham Racing 2" (Microsoft Game Studios, Bizarre Creations Ltd.) is the ultimate test of racing skill, style and daring, rewarding drivers not only for how fast they drive but for how they drive fast. Drivers will earn Kudos and gain recognition for cornering on two wheels around the Sears Tower in Chicago, power sliding through the ancient streets of Florence, Italy, or maneuvering along the racing line through the slick streets of Edinburgh, Scotland, all while racing some of the most exotic high-performance vehicles available. Players also can challenge friends and other gamers online utilizing the Xbox Live online game service or through multiplayer System Link. "Project Gotham Racing 2" will be available for holiday 2003.
  • "Fable" (Microsoft Game Studios, Lionhead Studios), from renowned developer Peter Molyneux, puts the choice squarely at gamers' fingertips: Will they be good, evil or somewhere in between? In "Fable," players choose their identity, determine appearance and abilities, feel effects of reputation, and thus create their own interactive experience. "Fable" will be available for holiday 2003.
  • "Counter-Strike" (Microsoft Game Studios, Valve/Ritual) makes its console debut exclusively on Xbox and Xbox Live. The world's most popular game and first-person shooter for the PC features single-player missions taking place all over the world. Gamers can challenge other players in team-based multiplayer games on Xbox Live using System Link. "Counter-Strike" on Xbox will be the most graphically advanced version of the series to date. "Counter-Strike" will be available for holiday 2003.
  • XSN Sports (Microsoft Game Studios, XSN Sports) is the first lineup of Xbox games in which sport fans compete beyond the game. For the first time, gamers will challenge real people to create their own leagues and build their own rivalries. XSNsports.com will offer a Web-based service that intricately links XSN Sports gamers to the new digital entertainment lifestyle of wireless devices and PCs so the Xbox experience moves beyond the box.
  • "Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge" (Microsoft Game Studios) combines thrilling aerial combat with the swashbuckling style of a Hollywood action-adventure movie. Set in an alternate 1930s world of gunship diplomacy and sinister intrigue, "Crimson Skies" lets gamers pilot powerful aircraft against nefarious air pirates and behemoth war zeppelins. "Crimson Skies" will be available for holiday 2003.

Great games from Xbox publishing partners will include "Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Island Thunder" from Ubi Soft® Entertainment, "Ninja Gaiden" from Tecmo® Inc., "Deus Ex: Invisible War" from Eidos Interactive Ltd., "Full Spectrum Warrior" from THQ Inc., "StarCraft: Ghost" from Blizzard Entertainment, and "True Crime: Streets of L.A." from Activision.

Xbox Live Is Evolving and Growing the Gaming Community

"With a community of over 500,000 gamers worldwide, the Xbox Live service is growing strong and helping us learn a lot about how gamers want to interact with Xbox," said J Allard, vice president of the Xbox platform. "We're continually innovating and expanding the Xbox Live gameplay experience, leveraging what we've learned about what gamers want and allowing the most-talented developers in the industry to take advantage of the endless possibilities that Xbox Live enables."

As Xbox Live continues to evolve over the next year, the growing worldwide community of online gamers will be enticed by a host of new features:

  • Xbox Live Alerts. Gamers can receive invitations to play on their personal digital assistant (PDA), cell phone or PC with MSN(R) Messenger Service.
  • Xbox Live Web. Xbox Live stats and friends lists will be available to view through a new Xbox site that links to the service.
  • Xbox Live Aware Games. More games will allow users to be "logged on" while playing, even as a single player, so they can receive invitations and keep up with what their friends are doing.
  • Teams and Competition. New features on Xbox Live will make it easy for gamers to form teams with friends, and create and participate in structured competitions on the Web and in games.
  • Xbox Live Now. Gamers will have a place to meet and can use voice chat to determine where to begin their gaming experience. They can decide which game to play and how to team up, and chat after the game.

By this time next year more than 100 Xbox Live games are forecasted to be available, including the most-anticipated game in the industry, "Halo 2," as well as games such as "Counter-Strike," "Project Gotham Racing 2" and every sports game from Microsoft Game Studios.

Innovative Digital Entertainment - XSN Sports and "Music Mixer" - Debuts

XSN Sports

Microsoft unveiled XSN Sports from Microsoft Game Studios, the first lineup of Xbox games in which sports fans compete beyond the game. For the first time ever, gamers will challenge real people to create their own leagues and build their own rivalries. Launching in August, XSN Sports will change the way the industry develops sports games. XSN Sports features include these:

  • Virtual leagues. Teams, leagues and schedules can be organized easily from a centralized Web site, XSNsports.com.
  • Check stats on a virtual sports page. Xbox Live will automatically broadcast up-to-date scores, standings and stats to XSNsports.com every 15 minutes. For the first time, gamers can scout the career stats of their next opponent.
  • Competition for the digital lifestyle. XSN Sports will keep gamers plugged in -- on the Web, on their cell, on their Xbox -- where their game is the center of the action.
  • Train to be a multisport champion. The XSN Sports lineup will enable gamers to be a one-sport star or even an eight-sport superstar.

Combining the power of Xbox, Xbox Live, PC and mobile devices to redefine the way sports gamers compete, the XSN Sports network will include "NFL Fever 2004," "NBA Inside Drive 2004," "Top Spin(TM)," "Amped(TM) 2," "Links® 2004" and "NHL Rivals."

"Music Mixer"

"'Music Mixer' unlocks the digital entertainment capability of Xbox," Allard said. "'Music Mixer' demonstrates how we can use the Xbox to connect gamers to other favorite activities of the Digital Entertainment Lifestyle, enabling players to access DVD playback,* CD playback, photo viewing, gaming, music storage, online gameplay, enhanced party visualizers and even karaoke."

"Music Mixer" expands the way people play, share and interact with music, allowing any player to be a producer, VJ or American idol. Features include the following:

  • With digital lyric-stripping technology, "Music Mixer" will provide a limitless karaoke experience, letting Xbox players sing along to millions of songs.
  • Players can mix, match, shuffle and customize soundtracks, setting the mood for any situation. Players can enhance the music experience with the addition of interactive 2-D and 3-D on-screen visualizers.
  • With PC media sharing, Xbox players will be able to easily transfer their digital music and photos from their PC to their Xbox system, creating the ultimate multimedia library to be enjoyed in the social center of the home: the living room.

Xbox "Music Mixer" will debut this holiday in the United States for an estimated retail price of $39.99.

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