We’re here in LA and liveblogging the Microsoft presser today at 10:30 PDT. Mark Wilson and I will be covering the hell out of the hardware announcements, but if you’re interested in the new game announcements, Kotaku will be the place to go. What announcements will there be? A motion-controlled interface? A karaoke controller? We’ll find out soon. The liveblog will be here, in this post, so bookmark it and keep checking back! Update: It’s started. Update 2: Lots of good news like new Xbox Dashboard.
9:25 We’re here in line waiting for the doors to open. An interesting observation: If you compare the games journalists to the tech journalists we usually see at Apple, games journalists are much younger.
10:05: We’re inside. Microsoft’s playing some much funkier electronic music than we’re used to at Apple’s Coldplay-featured events.
10:16: The pre-game show is a bunch of man-on-the-street interviews with kids, teens, Xbox players and non-gamers. No new hardware leaked during the videos, but there is a big emphasis on more casual gaming like Rock Band.
10:21: Post your top 3 predictions for announcements today in the comments. Ours: Karaoke accessory, new Xbox Live/Xbox Live dashboard, Xbox 360 Wiimote announced, called the JiggleJiggle.
10:27: It’s getting close to starting.
10:30: Maybe it’s because we’re getting old, but this loud music is giving us a headache. Can we turn it down slightly? No need to go EXTREME all the time, Microsoft.
10:31: Don Mattrick is coming on stage. It’s started.
10:32: Don’s talking about their game lineup for the last year, and their upcoming games for this year. “Welcome to the fun”, he says. “These are intense games, and many are not for the faint of heart.”
10:34: There’s an ad for Fallout 3 complete with post-apocalyptic robots. Robots!
10:37: A developer is showing off the gameplay of Fallout 3, but what we’re interested in is the tech inside that they imagined people would use after a nuclear strike and 50-100ish(?) years inside a radiation vault. Apparently one of those is a wrist-mounted computer.
10:42: Now the producer of Resident Evil 5 is on stage. For more on this game, hit up Kotaku.
10:46: Graphically, it looks like this next-generation of Xbox 360 games are losing the whole glossy-plastic skin texture problem that launch and first-gen games suffered with.
10:48: Peter Molyneux from Fable 2 is now on stage.
10:52: The trend that many games are taking now is adding co-op on Xbox LIVE, which is something we’d love to see even more of if it’s possible.
10:55: Cliffy B of Gears of War is on stage, showing off Gears of War 2. Uh oh, the game froze! They had to restart the section!
10:56: Another trend we’re seeing more of is drop-in-drop-out co-op gaming, meaning your friends can come in at any time and join your game, then leave it at any time without affecting your progress.
10:58: The main character is still voiced by John DiMaggio of Bender fame, which is nice.
11:04: Don Mattrick from Xbox is back on, talking about how how well the Xbox 360 is doing.
11:05: Don threw down a gauntlet. He said the Xbox 360 will sell more consoles this generation than the PS3. Bookmark this page for future reference, because you’ll want to know where you were when he made this prediction.
11:06: They’re also focusing on downloaded content as opposed to Blu-ray.
11:07: Microsoft also has new content partners for the console, starting with NBC, Sci-Fi and USA Network.
11:08: This also includes Universal Movies, which belongs to NBC Universal.
11:09: John Schappert, head of LIVE Software and Services is on stage.
11:10: He says the Xbox Live dashboard will be completely re-invented through software. New Xbox Live Dashboard, complete with Nintendo Mii-like avatars.
11:11: The update is coming in the fall, which includes the My XBox channel, and encompases Games, Photo and Video. Also a gamercard.
11:12: Avatars are called…Avatars. Dress up your guy with clothes, hairstyles, and lipstick. Mini John Schappert actually looks like John.
11:12: RARE, the Microsoft-owned company, is responsible for the Avatar scheme. They’re also importable into other games as well, if they want to use them (like Nintendo Miis).
11:14: Avatars: instead of a friends’ list, you have a community of people online that represent your friends that are currently connected.
11:15: There’s also a “party” option of up to 8 people so you can chat with 7 of your friends no matter where you go.
11:16: There are also game shows like 1 vs. 100 that you can play as a “party” with your friends, using your avatars. This is called “Primetime”.
11:18: You can drag your party around into regular games (XBLA) games as well. They just demoed taking a 4-player party into UNO.
11:20: Sneak teaser of Portal: Still Alive for Xbox Live Arcade as well, later this year.
11:21: South Park XBLA game in 2009.
11:22: Netflix! Xbox 360 will let people use the Watch Now feature (which is actually already possible if you have a Media Center). You can also share your Netflix movies WITH your Xbox Live party so you can watch stuff together. Neat.
11:26: Whether or not everyone in your party needs Netflix is unknown. We’ll try and find out.
11:29: They’re also showing a new Scene It? Game using the Scene It? controller.
11:32: Another game called You’re In The Movies uses the Xbox Live Vision Camera to capture video of you acting like a clown, which are then edited into clips of yourself on screen doing funny things.
11:37: Now Microsoft is talking about Guitar Hero 4. Being able to create music and 8-player band battles are some of the features.
11:42: Microsoft’s playing a demo video of the Lips Karaoke game accessory. It’s Karaoke and looks a whole lot like Singstar for the PS2/PS3. There’s Zune integration somehow!
11:43: Confirmed: It’s called Lips and it’s coming this holiday.
11:44: Why is this special? Because you can sing from your own music collection. Wireless mics that let you play the ta
mbourine when you’re not singing because they’re motion-sensitive.
11:45: A singer is on stage singing her song (sorry, didn’t catch who it is), but she might not be using the lips Mic. I think it’s just a regular mic. We don’t see any glowing rhinestones on the bottom.
11:48: Duffy is the name.
11:49: Alex Rigopulos of Harmonix is coming on stage for Rock Band 2. They’re going to have 82 songs on the disc, and this image is the full tracklist of the game.
11:50: Some notable songs: Guns N’ Roses debuting a track here. Dylan is also giving up one of his tracks. AC/DC as well with Let There Be Rock.
11:53: President of Square Enix Yoichi Wada is coming on stage.
11:56: It doesn’t seem like there’s any Xbox 360 Wiimote news today, but the Lips accessory is very cool. We can’t think of any other Karaoke game that lets you plug in any song you own and sing it. I guess you’ll have to have Lyrics support somehow? We’re not sure exactly how it’s going to work and how it’ll be scored.
12:00: The Square guy is pulling out a “One More Thing” of his own, and it’s…
12:02: Final Fantasy 13!
12:03: Final Fantasy 13 is coming to Xbox 360 at launch, simultaneously with the PS3 version.
12:05: It’s a pretty historic announcement that Final Fantasy is going non-Sony Exclusive.
12:06: That’s it! Thanks for reading. We’ll have more information on Xbox Live and the new dashboard improvements later today. See you then!