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July 10, 2007

E3: Microsoft invades Santa Monica High

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano at 8:05 PM

SANTA MONICA, Calif. -- You walk in between the high school cafeteria and administration building. The music is thumping louder than it was at prom. A security detail that looks like it should be protecting a head of state watches from the edges. Everything is bathed in the signature green of the Xbox.

Hundreds of mostly white and Asian men are sitting in the concrete amphitheater. Many have their laptops open. Others are brandishing cameras, camera phones. A section in the middle is given over to video cameras.

A stage is set in green, black. There's a pool next to a walkway and a few dozen large chrome balls scattered on black carpet. A drum set, keyboard, guitars and a gong stand at the ready.

On a movie-theater sized screen in the middle, thousands of names -- Gamer Tags -- are displayed, presumably as they exist in the Xbox Live network: They are attached in a giant expanding tree to other names. "tude," "Cindi," "CyberCooper," "lakergrul024."

Microsoft's E3 press conference begins in half an hour. If you want to watch it live at home, you can. Details will be posted here at 10 p.m., when the news embargo lifts. We'll try to get the details posted sooner.

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