SANTA MONICA, Calif. — Microsoft boldly strutted its stuff for video game reviewers Tuesday, only days after announcing it would take a $1 billion charge to cover the cost of extending the warranties on its Xbox 360 gaming consoles.
Microsoft officially opened this year’s E3 Media and Business Summit by showcasing upcoming games for both the Xbox 360 and personal computer and touting a new deal that will bring Disney movies to its Xbox Live online service. The show hardly looked or sounded like the work of a company that just took a major hit because of hardware issues.
Corporate Vice President Peter Moore trotted out a collection of statistics that showed how the Xbox 360 has held its own even in the months since the release of the Sony PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii. Consumers have spent $2.4 billion on Xbox 360 games — nearly as much as they spent on Wii and PS3 games combined.
He expected the trend to continue with a slate of highly anticipated games that will be released before Christmas.
“This is the greatest lineup in video game history,” Moore said.
A few examples:
“Halo 3,” which will follow the rugged Master Chief as he wages war on alien invaders once again.“Madden NFL 08,” the latest edition of the very popular football franchise.“Grand Theft Auto IV,” yet another in the line of be-a-criminal games.Moore pointed out that the last time games from those three franchises hit the stores in the same Christmas season, in 2004, it was the best year ever for video game sales.
Several other games are likely to prove quite popular if the crowd’s response is any indication. Those include:
“Rock Band,” which follows the popular “Guitar Hero.” It will allow gamers to simulate playing the drums, guitar and bass at the same time — as well as to sing along.“Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare,” which will focus on a modern fictional conflict.“Assassin’s Creed,” a role-playing game set in the Crusader days.Microsoft also pushed a solid collection of games for its Game for Windows initiative, as well as new online offerings for the Xbox Live Arcade.
Amid the collection of aliens, warriors, criminals and athletes is also a steady stream of family-friendly elements. The biggest initiative involves a partnership with Disney that will offer high-definition movies for rental via Xbox Live. In addition to such cartoons as “Hercules” and “Tarzan,” viewers can check out such recent flicks as “Bridge to Terabithia,” “The Queen” and “Déjà Vu.”
Microsoft has also created a new version of the movie trivia game “Scene it?” that will involve a new style of controller for the console. Other family titles will include a party game based on the colorful character in “Viva Pinata” and an updated version of “Naruto,” a child-friendly martial arts game.