November 14, 2005 4:12 PM PST

Xbox 360 to launch with 18 titles

Microsoft on Monday formally unveiled the lineup of titles that will be ready for the launch of its next-generation Xbox 360 video game console.

Calling the lineup the "strongest launch in the history of video game consoles," Microsoft said there would be 18 games ready for the planned Nov. 22 release of the Xbox.

Among them are many of the latest iterations in proven franchises, including Electronic Arts' Madden NFL '06, "NBA LIVE '06" and "Need for Speed Most Wanted," as well as Activision's "Call of Duty 2" and "Tony Hawk's American Wasteland."

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"It's pretty much what was expected based on everything they've been saying about what games would be available on day one," said IDC analyst Schelley Olhava. "I think it's strong. I wouldn't say it's (unequivocally) the strongest."

Olhava also said the lineup, which includes 11 football, basketball, hockey, soccer, racing, snowboarding and skateboarding titles, may be "a little heavy" on sports.

"(But) there's a good mix between some shooters and sports and action and adventure games," she added. "There's nothing that jumps out at me as a red flag like they're missing this big piece."

David Cole, an analyst with DFC Intelligence, agreed that the lineup is sports-heavy, but said he thinks that can be an advantage for Microsoft as it tries to differentiate its new console from the 4-year-old Xbox.

"Sports games are always a good tab at launch because they look really good and are good for showing off the differences between the new systems and the old systems," Cole said.

The launch lineup also includes several new titles, including Activision's "Gun" and EA's "FIFA Soccer '06: Road to 2006 FIFA World Cup."

But despite some rumors in the industry, Microsoft does not appear poised to release "Halo 3," a move that would have been nearly impossible to pull off just a little more than a year after the hit "Halo 2" appeared.

According to David Reid, Xbox director of platform marketing, the original Xbox launched in the fall of 2001 with only 11 titles. The chief difference between that launch and this year's, he explained, is the amount of support from third-party publishers like EA and Activision.

"We're very proud of the fact that on launch day, 15 (of the 18) titles are coming from partners," Reid said. "We did not have that very deep publisher support at the same unqualified level (in 2001) that we have today."

Cole agreed that Microsoft has done well with third-party support and with the nine games from EA and Activision alone.

"I think the fact that they're on from the launch (signifies) a lot of confidence in Microsoft and the Xbox 360," Cole said.

Microsoft's own Microsoft Game Studios has three titles for the launch: "Kameo: Elements of Power," "Perfect Dark Zero" and "Project Gotham Racing 3."

Meanwhile, even as the company seems certain to sell out the millions of Xboxes it will have available on the Nov. 22, there have been some concerns that retailers won't be getting enough of the consoles to satisfy eager customers.

Reid said that's not uncommon for high-profile game machine launches and that the problem should soon resolve itself.

"It's a very rare console that has enough volume on launch day that retailers feel they have enough," he said. But "you're going to see a steady replenishment of Xbox units right away."

11 comments

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Let's see
Let's see if any people who said that they would wait for the PS3 will buy the XBOX now after the big fiasco that Sony had with their rootkit?

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://sqlservercode.blogspot.com/" target="_newWindow">http://sqlservercode.blogspot.com/</a>
Posted by SqlserverCode (165 comments )
Reply Link Flag
That is relevant how?
Completely different divisions of a large company are responsible for the PS3 and sony music. That would be like saying I have to worry about the blue screen of death on the 360 because microsoft makes it. Buy a system for what games are on it, not for who makes the thing.
Posted by Rolndubbs (194 comments )
Link Flag
hope M$ wins the battle and the war
I hope that M$ kicks SONY's PS#3 and PSP's backside, with super sales figures of this product. For SONY BMG, has shown they simply don't care about either their customer or all thier recording artists, by loading all their music cd's with mal der mer ware ,posing as DRM control! for use and destruction(random BSoD's) on all M$ windows powered computers!
Posted by heystoopid (691 comments )
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Have a point.......
I used to be a Playstation fanboy. But, your right. Microsoft, as evil as they may be, at least "gets it" when it comes to games. Funny thing for how Sony is the leader (this gen, and last) and STILL doesnt know what consumers want.
I hope that 360 kicks the PS3's butt in sales, income, support, playability, etc. an humbles Sony. Don't get me wrong, I very much dislike Microsoft- bad software, horrible corporate leadership/execs., vowing to "kill Google" and "bury" its CEO. Quite lovely and professional- but when it comes to games, Microsoft just. GETS IT. Go 360.
Posted by naterandrews (256 comments )
Link Flag
for use and destruction(random BSoD's) on all M$ windows powered computers
Hm, is this a bad thing? :)

Windows isn't supposed to allow these sort of things in the first
place, we have to choose between 2 evils and a loser.

I think PS3 is the better system in the long run, xbox has no
backward catalog (not for the average public at least), no HD
movie support, to early on the market, most people find current
systems 'good enough' for a year so they won't upgrade. First
thing on the list is a HD TV, later on the console.

It obviously will sell good the first months but to make a
comparison, the gamecube sold more consoles in the first 2
weeks than xbox or PS2 ...
Posted by Peter Bonte (316 comments )
Link Flag
WTF?
Sony Computer Entertainment and Sony BMG are controlled by two totally seperate entities. PS 3 will burn the xbox. Sure, Xbox will have Halo 3, but PS 3 will have Metal Gear Solid FOUR. Sony will also support DIGITAL SOUND, BLU-RAY, and backwards ocmpatibility with the previous two consoles, NATIVELY, out of the box.

I'll be getting Both, because there are game si love on both, buit PS 3 and Sony, are the clear winners, and Microsoft can suck it.
Posted by (461 comments )
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Best of luck to Microsoft!
I hope they do well at launch. :)

It's going to be the must have toy this holiday season.

SOMEONE BUY ME ONE NOW!! &gt;_&lt;
Posted by the liquid man (44 comments )
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