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Microsoft E3 Press Conference 2008

This year’s series of press conferences started off Monday, July 14, 2008 at 10:30 a.m. with Microsoft. The annual E3 press conferences headline the week with major announcements ranging from new hardware, price cuts and games. To start things off, Microsoft showed a trailer of Fallout 3 (also coming to PS3) and announced that Final Fantasy XIII will be coming to Xbox 360 alongside the PS3 version of the game. Resident Evil 5 will release on March 13, 2009 with online co-op.

Another game that most Xbox 360 users are looking forward to is Gears of War 2. Gameplay footage was shown of it, as well as of Fable 2. Peter Molyneux told the crowd at the press conference that the game was finished to applause. The two games will be released this fall, exclusively on the Xbox 360 on November 7 and in October 2008, respectively. Gears of War 2 will feature online co-op with up to five other players.

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This is where Microsoft starts to delve into the numbers a little bit. They tout that they are ahead of PS3 by five million units worldwide (but fail to mention the larger lead that Nintendo has over them). Further, they lower their expectations from last year by saying that they now intend to lead PS3 by the end of the generation. They also say that Xbox Live will be the undisputed leader in the online realm for console gaming.

Microsoft then pivots to community oriented features. The new Avatar system will replace the gamer pics currently in place. These Avatars oddly resemble Miis that Nintendo introduced at the launch of the Wii. Nonetheless, Microsoft plans on using them in games just as Nintendo does with Miis. A game show, 1 vs. 100, is used to demonstrate how the Avatars could be used in a game. You can also group up your Avatars with friends to share pictures, chat and so on.

A new slew of Xbox Live Arcade titles were presented. These included the new Geometry Wars 2, Uno Rush, Galaga Legions, and Portal Still Alive. Grand Theft Auto IV episodes will be launching in the fall as well. Finally, the much expected Netflix deal was announced. Microsoft is teaming up with the movie distributor to allow Netflix subscribers to watch movies over Xbox Live. Rock Band will premiere on Xbox 360 in September with a set list of 86 songs (see the full list on blog.gamefreaks365.com).

That’s all for Microsoft. For complete coverage of E3 2008, visit our E3 blog at blog.gamefreaks365.com