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TGS: Microsoft Conference Details

Company: Microsoft
Product: Xbox 360

Today at the Tokyo Game Show 2006, Microsoft Corp. delivered information on new and improved entertainment experiences for Japanese gamers, including details of the Xbox 360 library of nearly 110 high-definition games available this holiday season in Japan, which will include the highly anticipated Blue Dragon from Microsoft Game Studios. Microsoft also paid tribute to Namco Bandai Games and Pac-Man, announcing that the first Pac-Man World Championship will be held in early 2007 using Xbox 360 and Xbox Live Arcade. Microsoft also revealed details of other entertainment offerings enabled through Xbox 360, with availability date and pricing provided for the Xbox 360 HD DVD player in Japan, as well as news of an update that will allow the Xbox 360 console to output full 1080p games and video.

At the best-attended gaming convention in the world, Microsoft showcased games that will boost the Xbox 360 software library in Japan to nearly 110 titles by holiday season 2006 as well as more titles coming well into 2007. The Xbox 360 games showcased include Blue Dragon (Microsoft Game Studios), Lost Planet: Extreme Condition (Capcom), Dead or Alive: Xtreme 2 (Tecmo Inc.) and the newly announced Trusty Bell (Namco Bandai Games), and a host of anticipated Xbox Live Arcade titles. For 2007, Microsoft also announced a pipeline of great games that include the epic role-playing game (RPG) Infinite Undiscovery (Microsoft Game Studios).

“The key to winning the hearts and minds of the Japanese market is great games, and this great lineup demonstrates that Xbox 360 has those games in spades,” said Peter Moore, corporate vice president of the Interactive Entertainment Business in the Entertainment and Devices Division at Microsoft. “Our lineup of role-playing games from the acknowledged masters of the genre is proof positive that there has never been a better time for Japanese gamers to jump in and pick up an Xbox 360 system.”

Many game titles, including the much-anticipated epic RPG Blue Dragon, will be playable for the first time in the Microsoft booth at the Tokyo Game Show. Other playable titles include Lost Odyssey (Microsoft Game Studios) and Viva Piñata (Microsoft Game Studios).


Xbox Live Arcade and the Pac-Man World Championship
With the creator of Pac-Man, Toru Iwatani, onstage Peter Moore announced that Microsoft and Namco Bandai Games will host the first Pac-Man World Championship in early 2007. The top 10 players in the world for Pac-Man on Xbox Live Arcade will compete for the title in New York City. More details, including how to qualify for the championship, will be made available in the coming months.

Continuing its tremendous momentum, Xbox Live Arcade has also announced in Tokyo a host of exciting new games, including some that will be exclusive to the Japanese market. Gamers will have the opportunity to try a host of new games on the show floor, including the classic side-scroller Contra (Konami Corp.), the space-shooter Gyruss (Konami), the enemy-popping classic Dig Dug (Namco Bandai Games), arcade favorite Track & Field (Konami), New Rally-X (Namco Bandai Games), Rush’n Attack (Konami), a favorite 1980s side-scroller, and the inimitable Ms. Pac-Man (Namco Bandai Games). In addition, the Japan-exclusive Xbox Live Arcade game Yie Ar Kung Fu (Konami), one of the very first fighting games, was announced for release in 2007.

Xbox 360 HD DVD Player and 1080p Support
Microsoft announced pricing and availability details for the Xbox 360 HD DVD Player in Japan. The accessory will launch on Nov. 17, 2006, priced at ¥19,800 (estimated retail price), and will come with an Xbox 360 Universal Media Remote.

“Xbox 360 and the HD DVD Player together deliver the most powerful and affordable games and movie system for Japanese consumers,” Moore said. “The freedom to choose their entertainment experiences is extremely important for consumers as they enter the next generation.”

In addition, Microsoft announced that its fall software update, scheduled for release later this year, will allow all Xbox 360 consoles around the world to output game and movie content in 1080p resolution.


XNA
Demonstrating its pledge to democratize game development for tomorrow’s game developers, Microsoft announced that four Japanese universities will use its XNA Game Studio Express software in educational material and research within their course offerings. The XNA software allows hobbyists, students and independent game developers to create games for Windows and, for the first time, Xbox 360 with the goal that user-generated games made with XNA will arrive on Xbox Live Marketplace. Tokyo University, Tokyo Polytechnic University, Ritsumeikan University and Osaka Electro-Communication University join the dozens of universities worldwide that have pledged support for Microsoft’s XNA vision and are recognizing the potential of XNA Game Studio Express as an educational tool. As a result, these four schools will integrate XNA software into their game development curricula, labs and games-related research.

“As I turn my attention and passion toward teaching the next generation of game developers, I am thrilled with XNA Game Studio Express and related products,” said Toru Iwatani, a lecturer at Tokyo Polytechnic University and original creator of Pac-Man. “I believe that these products are attractive and effective because they create a development environment that matches the skill level and area of expertise, widening the entry of future developers into game development.”

XNA Game Studio Express beta was made available to users worldwide on Aug. 30, 2006. The final version of XNA Game Studio Express will be made available this holiday season.




-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker

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