Xbox 360

At the October 4th 2005 X 05 events in Amsterdam, the gaming industry felt that Microsoft would use this event to announce the Xbox 360 games lineup for its release in North America and Europe. The problem with that is it didn’t happen. In its place is more confusion on the Xbox 360 games that will be available.

Peter Moore the corporate vice president of Xbox marketing and publishing bragged that there were 200 Xbox 360 games in development. At the same time Chief Xbox officer Robbie Bach just promised they would have the best games and launch lineup of any console yet. But neither would list all the games that will go on sale November 22 at the launch of the Xbox 360 in the United States.

Now to add to the confusion is a Microsoft press release titled “Xbox 360 launch line-up announced”. It has only three first party games listed under a heading a heading of “Titles that will form part of an impressive Christmas holiday portfolio. Project Gotham Racing 3, Perfect Dark Zero and Kameio Elements of Power. Then they have a second categlry of games called “Other great games announced or shown at X05 that included FIFA 06, Saint’s Row, Too Human, Crackdown just to name a few.

The finally the release listed a third category, “Franchise titles that will make their debut on Xbox 360” this included Superman Returns: The Videogame, Call of Duty 2, Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell 4 and more. Now the fact that about half of these have 2006 release dates and some were just announced it would be impossible for the game to be contained in the Xbox 360 launch lineup as the title indicates.

A effort to clear up the confusion David Reid, director of platform marketing for the Xbox 360 was asked exactly what games would be available at the launch. He stated there would be 15-20 Xbox 360 titles available on launch day and another half-dozen by the end of the year. So more double speak? He would only confirm eight being available on November 22. They are Project Gotham Racing 3, Kameo, Perfect Dark Zero, Madden NFL 06, NBA Live 06, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 06, Need for Speed Most Wanted, and FIFA 06: Road to FIFA World Cup.

As for the other seven to twelve Xbox 360 games that were to be available, Reid stated they would be announced in the next few weeks. According to him “They are currently in the final stages of certification” this is referring to the quality assurance process all third party games must go through from each console maker. With that said it would be likely if any of the submitted games that were not mentioned did not pass this process it will not be available at the time of Xbox 360 release on November 22 in North America.

The decision to rush games is a two headed sword. On one hand, release dates are made for a reason: to take advantage of a holiday sales season. On the other hand, thanks to word of mouth and game sites the gamer of today can tell if a game was rushed and a games reputation can be destroyed faster than it was built. In the Xbox 360’s case there has been an extreme amount of pre release publicity and hype, which will make or break the success of the console and games themselves.

Three of the games that were verified to be available on release date are Microsoft titles and they would have an advantage. But none of the twelve titles are make or break titles for the Xbox 360 so the console should be spared, and hopefully PS3 will have the same launch questions.

As with any Microsoft release the Xbox 360 is shrouded in rumor, speculation, and expectation. Microsoft fuels this by being very closed mouth with any specific information. It looks like right now we can just sit and wait.

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