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Microsoft Pri0

Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times reporter Sharon Chan.

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July 14, 2008 10:29 PM

E3: The European campaign

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

Too often, we focus on the video game (and Internet search) competition in the U.S., to the exclusion of the rest of the world. But on the games front, the battle for Europe during the current console generation is more interesting and perhaps more up for grabs than in the U.S.

And if Microsoft Xbox boss Don Mattrick wants to back up the claim he made today -- that "Xbox 360 will sell more consoles worldwide this generation than PlayStation 3" -- he'll have to win in Europe.

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Comments | Category: E3 2008 , Games & entertainment , Microsoft , Nintendo , Sony |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

July 14, 2008 2:05 PM

E3: Microsoft strikes up the bands as more musicians dive in to video games

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

LOS ANGELES -- While players are still flocking to games with guns and swords, it's the axe that has been the surprise weapon of choice. That would be the electric guitar in "Guitar Hero," which has taken the games world by storm in recent years. As the popularity of music games has skyrocketed, more musicians are getting into the act and seeing video games as an important distribution channel, as illustrated in several announcements from Microsoft and its partners today.

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Comments | Category: E3 2008 , Games & entertainment , Music |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

July 14, 2008 11:55 AM

Microsoft fires back, disputing Yahoo's account of weekend offer

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

Yahoo had the stage itself on Sunday to tell the story of Microsoft's latest proposal, which it rejected. But Microsoft fired back this morning with its own account of the last-ditch deal effort that went down starting Thursday.

Update, 12:33 p.m.: Carl Icahn is also out with another letter to Yahoo shareholders disputing Yahoo's account.

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Comments | Category: Yahoo acquisition |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

July 14, 2008 11:26 AM

E3: Microsoft partnering with Netflix, NBC, others to challenge as top video destination

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

LOS ANGELES -- Microsoft is spending a major chunk of its press conference at the video game industry's big annual conference here describing new television and video distribution deals for the Xbox Live network, which has more than 12 million members.

The company is distributing television shows from NBC, movies from Universal Studios, and in probably the biggest piece of news: adding a huge library of movies through Netflix.

Speculation about whether Microsoft would do a deal with Netflix has swirled since at least March of last year, when Reed Hastings, founder, chairman and chief executive of the DVD-by-mail video-rental service, joined Microsoft's board of directors.

The details of the partnership and how Xbox Live subscribers will get access to the Netflix library weren't fully fleshed out. I'll update when I learn more.

See this post for more from Microsoft's E3 press conference.

Update, 12:59 p.m.: The partnership will allow consumers to "instantly stream movies and TV episodes from Netflix to the television via the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system," according to a more detailed statement from Microsoft.

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Comments | Category: Digital media , E3 2008 , Xbox 360 |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

July 14, 2008 10:29 AM

E3: Microsoft press conference

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

The music is thumping, Xbox-green lights flashing over a stage set up in the Los Angeles Convention Center. About 1,200 games industry press, armed with cameras, laptops and Internet connections, are taking seats and waiting to hear what Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business has in store.

Don Mattrick, the new senior vice president of Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business, framed the fundamental question facing the games industry.

"Can we deliver to our fiercely loyal fans and at the same time continue to transform the industry by delivering to everyone?" he said. "Yes."

Now the company is showing some of the upcoming titles, which Mattrick said will generate $500 million in projected sales and drive additional console sales. Right now, we're watching a demonstration of "Fallout 3," a gruesome first-person shooter set in a post-nuclear-attack Washington, D.C. It's due out this fall.

Update, 10:54 a.m.: Microsoft is clearly putting its content for hard core gamers first. Following the "Fallout 3" trailer and demo, another game developer, Capcom, demonstrated "Resident Evil 5," another installment in another violent, first-person shooting series. It's coming out Friday, March 13, 2009, simultaneously in North America, Europe and Japan.

Update, 11:13 a.m.: Mattrick is back on stage and is pledging that Microsoft Xbox 360 will sell more consoles worldwide than Sony's PlayStation 3 during the current console generation.

He touted Xbox Live, the online network for gaming and downloading videos and announced that there are now 12 million Live subscribers. Collectively, subscribers have spent more than $1 billion on Xbox Live content since Live was launched in November 2005.

Mattrick announced that Microsoft is partnering with NBC and Universal Studios to distribute movies and television shows through Xbox Live.

Update, 11:25 a.m. John Schappert, corporate vice president of Xbox Live, software and services, just announced an exclusive partnership with Netflix, allowing members who are already subscribers to Xbox Live subscribers to get access to an additional 10,000 titles through the Netflix library.


Comments | Category: E3 2008 , Xbox 360 |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

July 14, 2008 10:16 AM

E3: Nintendo goes out of turn, announces enhanced Wii controller

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

LOS ANGELES -- With Microsoft's press conference about to begin, Nintendo is stealing some thunder with an announcement of its own.

Nintendo announced a "Wii MotionPlus" accessory for the simple, motion-sensing Wii Remote -- the feature that distinguishes Nintendo's console from the competition.

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Comments | Category: E3 2008 , Nintendo |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

July 14, 2008 7:56 AM

E3: What is Halo 'Blue'?

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano

LOS ANGELES -- A post on video game news site Joystiq shows what is described as a Wal-Mart inventory listing for something called Halo "Blue," due out, perhaps, Sept. 30. So what is it? Add that to the list of questions that may be answered at Microsoft's E3 press conference in two and a half hours.

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Comments | Category: E3 2008 , Halo , Microsoft |Permalink | Digg Digg | Newsvine Newsvine

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