Monday, May 16, 2005

Microsoft pre-E3

Not much information came out of Microsoft's presentation last night. Here are the highlights:

1. Square-Enix is supporting the Xbox 360. That's a big, big deal. They're starting with a version of Final Fantasy XI, but there will also be two additional projects. Again, this is another example of Microsoft understanding the right market and making the right moves.

2. Xbox 360 will have limited backward compatibility. They're using an emulator for Xbox 1 titles, and only the "top-selling" Xbox games will be certain to work. I wish they'd add something like 2X anti-aliasing, since they're already creating an emulator. ESPN NFL2K5 in 720p with 2X anti-aliasing would look unbelievable.

3. The Xbox 360 will be launched in North America, Europe, and Japan in 2005 (November for the U.S., most likely ). It's either a simultaneous launch or very close to one, which I think is a terrific strategy. The tradition of launching in each territory months apart is a terrible idea, it's always been a terrible idea, and this is going to generate much more excitement.

No word on console price. There's quite a bit of cat-and-mouse going on in terms of price, and I wouldn't be surprised if we don't know the launch price of the new Xbox for another month. The PS3 price might not be known until several months after that.

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