The E3 trade show began last night as Microsoft threw a press conference to promote its holiday offerings for the Xbox 360 console and Windows PCs, in what they are calling the “greatest holiday lineup in video-game history” which includes record-breaking titles such as Grand Theft Auto IV, Madden NFL 08, and Halo 3 – only Halo 3 is a console exclusive.
Microsoft VP Peter Moore mentioned other Xbox exclusive games, such as Mass Effect and Lost Odyssey, along with multi-platform titles Rock Band, BioShock, Call of Duty 4, and Assassin's Creed. All these titles are set for retail release by the end of 2007.
On the hardware side, Microsoft announced it will sell a Halo-themed version of its Xbox 360 console to go along with the September 25 launch of Halo 3. Also, in a move to make the 360 more accessible to a broader audience, the company unveiled a new simplified wireless controller with four buttons that will come bundled with an Xbox version of the movie-trivia board game ‘Scene It?’ aimed at casual gamers.
Xbox Live, for its part, saw new downloadable content from Disney and a set of new casual games for Xbox Live Arcade, plus further integration with Windows Live, which allows cross-platform PC / Xbox play in select titles.
Despite speculation after a recent price drop for the PlayStation 3 console, Microsoft’s announcements didn't include an Xbox 360 price cut. Robbie Bach, president of the entertainment and devices division at Microsoft, didn’t completely rule out the price cut as an option though.
"July is the worst month to do something like that," he said. "It's the slowest time in every market in the world. We'll decide what we'll do in the future when we get there."
The company wrapped up the show with two announcements that were widely expected, the release of the 360 bestseller Gears of War for Windows XP and Vista this fall, and Capcom's Resident Evil 5 available next year for the Xbox 360.