Games fans get stockings, thumbs ready

29 Sep 2006

Microsoft yesterday unveiled a massive offensive on the Christmas games market with over 45 games for the Xbox 360 and PC genres.

The move is designed to cement its first-mover advantage and make it harder for Sony to steal market share when its PlayStation3 eventually hits the market next year.

The company also revealed that its forthcoming Zune music and video player will hit the US market on 14 November and will retail for US$249.99 (€197).

The company revealed that music and videos can be purchased from the Zune Marketplace on a points basis. Similar to a prepaid phone card, Microsoft Points is stored value system that can be redeemed at a growing number of online stores, including the Xbox Live Marketplace.

“On 14 November we’re delivering not only a device but a shared social experience that will be shaped by the collective imagination of consumers,” said Chris Stephenson, general manager of global marketing for Zune.

“We’re infusing the spirit of discovery and sharing into everything we do — from the experience we crafted around the device and service to pre-loading music and videos on every device to expose people to something new.”

In its onslaught on the high-octane games industry, Microsoft’s range of forthcoming Xbox 360 games titles include the long awaited Gears of War as well as titles like Call of Duty 3, Pro Evolution Soccer 6, Superman Returns, Tiger Woods PGA Tour and Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Vegas.

The latest family of Xbox 360 games also includes Halo Wars, a real-time strategy version of the Halo Family, Fable 2 and Project Gotham Racing 4.

Windows titles timed for Christmas include Age of Empires II: The War Chiefs, Flight Simulator X and Half Life 2. The company also revealed that Halo 2 will be made available for the PC.

By John Kennedy