August 9, 2010, 7:27 pm
Filed under: Previews | Tags: , , , ,

Christmas came early last week, as Microsoft held their annual ‘Xmas’ showcase in London’s stunning Saatchi Gallery. Organised to highlight the company’s Chrimbo line-up, it was a tech nerd’s dream of gadgets, mobiles, operating systems and peripherals. But among the stacks of sexy gizmos one particular Microsoft product took centre stage; Kinect.

Dominating an entire room of its own, the Kinect section of the venue was a dizzying whirl of flailing limbs and hopping, skipping, giggling journos. With Kinect: Adventures, Kinect: Sports and Kinect: Joy Ride, all the first-party launch titles were present and playable, the only exception being the MS/Frontier cuddle-em-up, Kinectimals. We left our inhibitions at the door and joined the madness.

Despite the widespread grins on everybody’s faces, it was with a certain amount of scepticism that we approached the demo area. Earlier in the day Dance Central had managed to scupper some of our initial reservations, but it had also raised a few questions of its own. Harmonix’s Kinect debut brilliantly obscures the technology’s limitations, but issues are still noticeable. With that in mind we were keen to see how Adventures, Sports and Joy Ride stacked up.

(Read more at Play.TM)



At E3 2008, Square Enix’s Yoichi Wada shocked the gaming world. Taking to the stage at Microsoft’s press conference, he announced that the latest in a series long associated with PlayStation would no longer be exclusive to Sony. Final Fantasy XIII was hitting Xbox 360.

It was a huge surprise, perhaps E3 2008’s only true megaton, an increasingly rare phenomena for an event beset by pre-show leaks. Comments threads and forums around the world exploded with rage.

The news was heralded as yet another example of the US giant’s spending power and increased market share. PlayStation were no longer the dominant force. One by one, the strong relationships Sony had developed with publishers over more than a decade were being eroded by the prospect of increased revenues that only Microsoft could offer.

But as well as nibbling away at Sony’s exclusives, Microsoft had also proved more than adept at securing their own. Indeed, their efforts dwarfed that of their rivals. By the close of 2008 a massive 205 titles were available exclusively on the Xbox 360. In comparison, Sony’s PlayStation 3 had merely 60.

Microsoft had quality on their side too. The Halo, Fable and Gears of War series were among the industry’s very hottest properties, and they were all on Xbox 360. Add titles like Crackdown and Mass Effect, timed-exclusivity on Bioshock and the GTA IV episodes, and Microsoft’s position looked strong. Unassailable, even.

Yet the intervening years has seen a shift in power. Franchise mistreatment, disappointing sequels and over-familiarity have tarnished the impact of Microsoft’s line-up. Now, in 2010, it’s Sony that have the upper hand.

(Read more at GamingUnion)