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Old 10-12-05   #1
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Games Microsoft Unveils Games for Its New Xbox 360

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AMSTERDAM, Oct. 5 - Trying to take an early lead in the race to dominate the next generation of video game systems, Microsoft has unveiled a broad range of richly detailed games that the company hopes will propel millions of consumers to buy its new Xbox 360 console.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, more than 1,000 journalists, retailers and game industry executives at Microsoft's X05 game show here had the first public opportunity to play the games that will provide the 360's foundation. Sony and Nintendo, the two other major makers of game consoles, intend to introduce new systems next year. By introducing the 360 next month, Microsoft hopes to take an early lead. (A bare-bones model will cost $300 and a version with basic accessories will cost $400.)

Yet Microsoft's drive to get the system into stores for the holiday season has prompted some developers to complain that they have not had enough time to fine-tune their games to take advantage of the 360's hardware. With this week's presentations, Microsoft tried to quash that concern by demonstrating highly anticipated games like Perfect Dark Zero and Project Gotham Racing 3 from its own studio while also introducing projects from respected third-party developers.

For serious gamers and industry insiders, perhaps the most intriguing news came from Id Software, creators of the Doom and Quake franchises. Id announced here that it was not only making a new installment of its Castle Wolfenstein series for the 360, but was also creating much of the game with the 360's software-creation tools rather than with more traditional tools used to make games for PC's. Id has been associated with PC gaming rather than with game consoles that plug into a television, like the Xbox and the PlayStation 2 from Sony.

"The Xbox 360 is the first console that I've ever worked with that actually has development tools that are better for games than what we've had on PC," John Carmack, Id's technical director and one of the most respected programmers in the game industry, said in a videotaped announcement.

In all, roughly a dozen game publishers, including Microsoft, showed off playable versions of about 30 games that are on their way to the 360 in coming months. (Exactly how many will be available on Nov. 22, when the 360 goes on sale, remains unclear.) In addition to the playable titles, publishers offered previews of another half-dozen games in early stages of development.

"The big takeaway thought is that Xbox 360 has the games for the next-generation," Robert J. Bach, president of Microsoft's entertainment and devices division, said in an interview. He said that in addition to showing off the system's vivid graphics systems, it was important for the company to demonstrate that the 360 will support a broad range of games.

"You want people to see that we have the right mix of franchises," Mr. Bach said. "You have to have European football and American football. You have to have basketball, some action-adventure, some shooting games, some driving games, some character-driven games. So showing that we have that mix is important."

Peter Moore, Microsoft's top Xbox marketing executive, described the array as "the best game lineup ever in the history of video games."

Of all of the games at X05, none were scrutinized more closely than Perfect Dark Zero, a game to be published by Microsoft that has been under development for five years. Like games in the popular Halo series, it is a first-person shooter. And just as Halo became the most important driver of sales of the original Xbox, Perfect Dark Zero was heralded earlier this year as the torchbearer for the 360. The consensus among representatives of game industry publications here seemed to be that Perfect Dark Zero was engaging, but not the jaw-dropping experience that Halo was when it came out in 2001.

"As a broad stroke I don't think that this is the greatest launch lineup of all time, as Peter put it," said Andy McNamara, editor in chief of Game Informer magazine, which is owned by GameStop, one of the top specialty video game retailers in the United States. "I think this is a very good lineup and it fills in some gaps, but it seems to be missing some things, like a true star. Perfect Dark Zero is certainly competent; it's good. But it's not triple-A Halo-type material, and when people go out and spend $400 on a new system that's what they're looking for."

The graphics on the 360 appeared significantly more vivid and detailed than those on current consoles. But indeed, for some Xbox owners, those advances alone may not merit trading up. "I'm satisfied with the way it is now," said Veyis Kayadibi, a 28-year-old taxi driver who said he had had an Xbox since 2003. "How much better can they make the graphics? I don't believe they can make so much progress in two years, so why should I go spend so much money on it?"

Microsoft hopes that the games demonstrated here this week will provide the answer.
Personally, I think $400 for "better graphics" isn't worth it for me

I'm looking forward to the nintendo revo because its some thing different and new. I'll try them all out first obviously.
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Old 10-12-05   #2
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if a system comes out over $200, i ignore it till i can get it under $100.

and you're right about the Revo. i really wanna know what that controller can do. that promo pissed me off, yet facinated all at the same time.
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Old 10-12-05   #3
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Then you'll be ignoring every system that comes out for the rest of your life

And the Xbox 360 isn't just "better graphics." It's about total immersion, my friends... being *in* the game, not of the game. Chew on that for a few moments.

But yes, I'm very intrigued by the Revolution.
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Old 10-12-05   #4
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Some of the games look really amazing. I'm going to buy one, most definitely. I'll have to go with Perfect Dark as my first game, with Project Gotham coming in a close second.
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Old 10-12-05   #5
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i may buy a revolution when they come out.

i've been on the preorder list for the 360 for a few weeks now. i've ordered the big package and perfect dark zero and FFXI. the list of the games i want for my 360 is very long.
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Old 10-14-05   #6
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I pre-ordered Perfect Dark, Condemned, Gun and Call of Doodie 2
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Old 10-14-05   #7
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Maybe you should wait for some real screenshots instead of the marketing screen shots.
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Old 10-14-05   #8
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I've watched many an hour of gameplay footage from E3 and various hands-on demo testing. Super-hawt.
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Old 10-14-05   #9
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The e-3 vids are rocking.

I saw some game play in a game store here as well.... looks really really impressive.
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