NEWS - Sunday, May 14, 2006

E3: 2006 Recap

PRESS CONFERENCE Microsoft’s E3 press conference was the biggest Xbox event of the entire show. From new hardware announcements, to exciting new games, Xbox fans have good reason to be exited for the future of Xbox 360. - More on the Microsoft press conference THE GAMES Microsoft announced an impressive new wave of games for the Xbox 360 console and Xbox Live Arcade. Below are a few of the titles that had impressive showings at E3 2006. - Next Wave of Games Halo 3 Announced at the conclusion of the press conference, Halo 3 was displayed in the form of a trailer. Very few other details have been revealed about this title and things still seem under wraps. Halo 3 is expected to ship sometime in 2007; we are guessing it will be March 9th, 2007. Gears of War Gears of War is Microsoft’s killer app for 2006 and will finish off the year with a bang for Xbox 360. Gears of War is an action third person shooter Forza 2 Forza Motorsport 2 will be the most realistic racer on the Xbox 360 when it releases later this year. With realistic car physics, complete customization, and online play, Forza Motorsport 2 should be the best racing game available when it launches later this year. Fable 2 In addition to Forza 2, Microsoft announced another second game to one of Xbox’s greatest hits: Fable. Fable 2 is set 500 years after the original Fable, and should turn out to be one of the best RPGs on the Xbox 360. Announcement Trailer Grand Theft Auto 4 As announced by Peter Moore, GTA4 will be on the Xbox 360 at the exact same time it launches on the Playstation 3. Additionally, GTA4 on the Xbox 360 will feature exclusive episodic content through Xbox Live. Many other impressive titles include: Too Human, Crackdown, Splinter Cell Double Agent, Lost Planet, Mass Effect, Shadowrun, Prey, and more. Expect hands on previews of many of these titles in the weeks to come. THE HARDWARE Since the Microsoft’s next generation console is already in the market, unlike Sony and Nintendo, there wasn’t much new hardware to show off. However, more was talked about the upcoming HD-DVD drive and a few other peripherals were announced. HD-DVD Microsoft’s external HD-DVD drive was on show; it looked somewhat like a smaller version of the 360 console. There will be around 50 HD-DVD movies by Christmas time, which is also the estimated release for the drive itself. No price was revealed for this accessory. Xbox Live Vision Xbox Live Vision is a webcam like device that will be used by numerous new games. The camera allows gamers to personalize their gaming experience with their own unique gamer picture, send photo messages, and chat by video with friends and family over Xbox Live. No Handheld Xbox Rumors about Microsoft developing an Xbox handheld system have been out in force, but sadly it was a no show at E3 2006. The rumor was originally published in an Xbox 360 book, saying that an entire team at Xbox is developing the product. However, this rumor has just recently been debunked and it doesn’t seem like we will be seeing a handheld Xbox anytime soon. Other new and upcoming hardware of Xbox 360 includes: Wireless racing wheel, wireless headset for Xbox Live, wireless gaming receiver for Windows, and a 256MB memory unit. THE OUTLOOK With Sony and Nintendo heading into the next generation marketplace before the end of this year, Microsoft is going to have a lot to compete against in a relatively short amount of time. Bill Gates claims that 10 million Xbox 360 units will be sold before either competitor will sell a single unit. Microsoft is definitely getting a head start...but will it really make a difference? The Xbox 360 launch was far from a rosy picture due to extremely low supply. Still, none the less, Microsoft is in a very good position for competition. With almost a year under its belt already and a whole host of all star games coming down the line, Xbox 360 gamers won’t be disappointed! Report Card The Games - 8.5 The Hardware - 7 The Outlook - 9 Overall Xbox E3 Score: 8.5


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