May 16, 2005 7:30 PM PDT

A gaggle of new games for Xbox 360

LOS ANGELES--More than 160 games are on the way for the Xbox 360, with up to 40, including best-seller "Final Fantasy XI," expected to be available by the end of the year, Microsoft announced on Monday.

Company representatives, speaking at a press conference leading up to this week's giant Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), also announced a partnership with Square Enix, the Japanese distributor of the "Final Fantasy" series, which has sold more than 60 million copies worldwide. (Click here to listen to News.com reporter Rick Shim's audio report from E3.)

Broad game support--and especially popular titles--is significant for any console. A console, after all, gets all the more appealing as more games can be played on it.

Xbox gallery

Microsoft learned this the hard way, analysts have said, because it was late to market with its first-generation Xbox console and thus unable to build up broad title support. This time around, with wide game support for the Xbox 360, the company expects to stand a better chance against market leader Sony, to which Microsoft has been a distant No. 2 in the game console market for several years.

At Monday's event, Microsoft also announced plans to make all games from its previous console compatible with the upcoming Xbox 360. However, few details were given regarding how, or when, updated support for Xbox titles would be achieved. Microsoft representatives did say they would start with more popular titles such as "Halo," then move down the line.

Well over a thousand people waited in the humid Los Angeles evening to attend the Xbox press conference at the Shrine Auditorium. Once inside the chilly and cavernous auditorium, they were briefed by Microsoft executives.

"We're gonna reach a larger audience than we ever have before," said Robbie Bach, chief Xbox officer. "We're gonna get there by attracting those people that didn't grow up playing games...We're gonna get there by deepening the social experience...We're gonna transform thought leadership to market leadership."

Pricing for the Xbox 360 will not be announced until after E3, which ends May 20.

Gamers who have purchased a library of games for the Xbox have been concerned about not being able to play those titles on the new console, but Microsoft representatives have said they didn't expect those worries to slow sales of the gadget.

"Backward-compatibility is not the reason people buy a new system," said David Hufford, Microsoft Xbox group product manager. "The perception is that it is significant. We've put all our energy into new titles, but since our consumers have asked for it...we've made it a goal to make all titles backward-compatible."

Xbox 360 starts name calling
Analysts have said they expect Microsoft and Sony to constantly swap the top console spot as they battle it out for supremacy.

Publishers have taken notice of Microsoft's momentum and are supporting the software giant as they seek to gain revenues on what is anticipated to be a popular console.

Game publisher Electronic Arts said it would support the Xbox 360 console with popular titles including "Madden NFL 06," "Need for Speed Most Wanted," "FIFA 06," "Tiger Woods PGA Tour 06," "The Godfather: The Game" and "NBA Live 06."

Games from other publishers include "Blue Dragon," "Call of Duty 2," "Condemned: Criminal Origins," "Dead or Alive 4," "The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion," "Full Auto," "Gears of War," "Kameo: Elements of Power," "Lost Odyssey", "Ninety-Nine Nights," "The Outfit," "Perfect Dark: Zero," "Project Gotham Racing 3," "Quake 4," "Saint's Row" and "Test Drive Unlimited."

Microsoft also said its Xbox Live online service will exceed 2 million members by the end of June.

In an attempt to grab market share from Sony, Microsoft will release the Xbox 360 before the end of the year

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11 comments

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Where is the Phantom?
Yet another year of InfiniumLabs vapor... :)
Posted by sevanthson (18 comments )
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phantom is a rip off
phantom is a rippoff designed to fatten the pricks pockets and not develope a product they never respond to emails i was a sucker and bought there stock i would be impressed if they could do what they claimed they could how stupid was i
Posted by (1 comment )
Link Flag
No Wonder It's XBox 1.5 ...
Nothing fancy for the software lineup, where is the innovation? Just pushing the graphic to the next level means nothing since the games are still shallow anyway :)
Posted by 201293546946733175101343322673 (722 comments )
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The World is Flat.
"Backward-compatibility is not the reason people buy a new system," said David Hufford, Microsoft Xbox group product manager.

Yeah, just like nobody cares about running older versions of software on the newest Windows system. Who'd ever want to do such a thing.

It isn't like people would want to use proven applications or beloved games on new OS' to such a degree that companies are forced to design them to allow it, or that more than a decade of CPU design winds up being tailored to allow for it.

Backward compatibility? What a joke! :)

Now how many combined titles will PS3 have if you add-up PS1 and PS2 titles?

MS will be in the game, and the titles will flow. Some thought Nintendo would never be dethroned but they were, soundly. It may be that getting introduction cycles offset by a year will help the industry more than hurt either it, MS, or Sony for the short run. But production costs will force game studios to pick sides more and more, and after awhile, that is going to effect the market greatly.

NWLB
****
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.NWLB.net" target="_newWindow">http://www.NWLB.net</a>
Posted by NWLB (326 comments )
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All Mac Compatible
The best part about this is that there all going to be on the Mac
platform..the 360 is being demoed on Apple G5s right now. It will
actually be more difficult to port these games to the PC because of
the platform they run on (basically G5 processors).
What does it say when Apple's biggest competitor uses Apple
hardware when they want the best.
Posted by 198775425444042216790779840523 (102 comments )
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"the best"
I think it has less to do with "the best", and more to do with the chips that IBM designed happen to closely resemble the G5 architecture.
Posted by (54 comments )
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Xbox - PC - Ageia
Hope the new Xbox will support or include Ageia hardware - so there is a way to standardize on games played on PCs and the new Xboxes - this would make it a better platform than PS3
Posted by p_reviewer (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
If XBOX 360 isn't backwards compatible --- bye, bye XBOX
If XBOX 360 isn't backwards compatible --- bye, bye XBOX

I refuse to repurchase old games for the XBOX 360. XBOX 360 had better be 100% backwards compatible or I will just move to the Play Station 3 and forget about XBOX all together
Posted by Stan Johnson (322 comments )
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