This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
ADVERTISEMENT
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
TheStreet Open House

E3 Notebook: Xbox 360

Staff Reporter Troy Wolverton is in Los Angeles to attend the Electronic Entertainment Exposition -- better known as E3 -- which is the video-game industry's giant annual gathering. He's filing occasional dispatches on news, rumors, sights and thoughts from the show.

Thursday

My last day at E3 began with a meeting with J. Allard, a vice president at Microsoft (MSFT - Get Report), who heads up Xbox development. A more extensive question-and-answer article with Allard will run in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, here are some excerpts:

  • Allard and Microsoft believe that timing will be a key factor in the Xbox 360's success. Microsoft didn't release the Xbox until 19 months after Sony (SNE - Get Report) put out the PlayStation 2, he noted. And even then, the device was a kind of rush job, Allard suggested. The Xbox team hadn't yet jelled by the time the device launched, the company didn't have a big relationship with industry titan Electronic Arts (ERTS) at the time, and the company was essentially forced to go with off-the-shelf hardware, Allard said. All that combined to give Sony an insurmountable lead.

    But this time, Microsoft has had years to develop its console and design it with custom parts, and it will have the first next-generation hardware on store shelves, Allard said. Along with relationships forged with most key game publishers, those factors will help Xbox 360 fare better in the marketplace, he said.

  • At Microsoft's press event on Monday, Allard boldly stated that 1 billion people would play Xbox 360 games in the coming years. Considering that Microsoft has sold fewer than 30 million units of its original Xbox, the comment raised more than a few eyebrows. In our interview, Allard backpedaled a bit from the prediction, saying it was more of a "challenge to the industry" than a specific company target.
  • Like a latter-day Paul Masson, Microsoft will sell no version of Halo before its time, Allard said. Microsoft-owned Bungie Studios, which developed the uberpopular, first-person shooter game, is cooking up "some interesting stuff," Allard said. But a new Halo has not been mentioned as one of the 25 to 40 Xbox 360 titles that Microsoft expects to have available at or near the launch of the console.

  • I was able to take a look at some of the games in development for the 360. Microsoft, for instance, showed off a video that featured a number of upcoming games that highlighted some of the Xbox 360's features. Among the game clips aired were Quake 4, developed by Id and published by Activision (ATVI - Get Report), and Dead or Alive 4 from Tecmo.

    I also had in in-depth look at Gears of War, which will be an Xbox 360-only title developed by Epic Games. The game, a third-person shooter, uses Epic's Unreal Engine technology, which is behind such titles as the Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell series from Ubisoft.

    Gears of War doesn't appear to break much new ground in terms of game play; you follow a series of missions that typically involves getting into firefights with denizens of evil. But the game did show off the high-definition resolution of the Xbox 360. And one cool feature: Players can interact with inanimate objects in the environment, shooting out windows or even using a bazooka-like weapon to blow through walls.


    One of the interesting things about the video-game industry is that having a game available "at launch" means different things to different people. Sometimes, companies truly mean that the games will be available on the same day that a particular console goes on sale.

    Other times, companies use the more slippery "launch window." EA, for instance, is saying that many of its Xbox 360 games will be available within the device's "launch window," which their developers defined as within about six weeks after the Xbox 360's actual launch date.

    1 of 4

    Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

    Action Alerts PLUS

    Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

    Product Features:
    • $2.5+ million portfolio
    • Large-cap and dividend focus
    • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
    Quant Ratings

    Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

    Product Features:
    • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
    • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
    • A custom stock screener
    Stocks Under $10

    David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

    Product Features:
    • Model portfolio
    • Stocks trading below $10
    • Intraday trade alerts
    14-Days Free
    Try it NOW
    Only $9.95
    Try it NOW
    14-Days Free
    Try it NOW

    Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

    Dividend Stock Advisor

    David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

    Product Features:
    • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
    • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
    Trifecta Stocks

    Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

    Product Features:
    • Model Portfolio
    • Intra Day Trade alerts
    • Access to Quant Ratings
    Options Profits

    Our options trading pros provide over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

    Product Features:
    • Actionable options commentary and news
    • Real-time trading community
    Try it NOW
    Try it NOW
    Try it NOW
    To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
    Submit an article to us!
    SYM TRADE IT LAST %CHG
    THQI $0.31 0.00%
    ATAR $0.03 0.00%
    ADBE $73.31 0.00%
    ATVI $22.76 0.00%
    MSFT $40.97 0.00%

    Markets

    DOW 17,712.66 +34.43 0.19%
    S&P 500 2,061.02 +4.87 0.24%
    NASDAQ 4,891.2190 +27.8570 0.57%

    Partners Compare Online Brokers

    Free Reports

    Free Newsletters from TheStreet

    My Subscriptions:

    After the Bell

    Before the Bell

    Booyah! Newsletter

    Midday Bell

    TheStreet Top 10 Stories

    Winners & Losers

    Register for Newsletters
    Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs