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.
My last day at E3 began with a meeting with J. Allard, a vice president at Microsoft (MSFT), 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:
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), 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.
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