Here Come the Xbox 360 Games: Industry Giant Square Enix Pledges Commitment

LOS ANGELES — May 16, 2005 — On the heels of the Xbox 360 (TM) video game and entertainment system worldwide premiere on MTV last week, Microsoft Corp. released a flurry of announcements tonight to a packed house at the Shrine Auditorium. Bolstering the promise that Xbox 360 immerses players at the center of the most powerful next-generation games and entertainment experiences, the company revealed that Square Enix Co. Ltd. — an industry-leading developer and publisher of the world-renowned “FINAL FANTASY®” series, which has sold more than 60 million units worldwide — will release “FINAL FANTASY XI” for Xbox 360 and Xbox Live (TM). “FINAL FANTASY XI” is just the beginning: Square Enix will work closely with Microsoft on Xbox 360 and Xbox Live.

“We’re honored that Square Enix will make games like ‘FINAL FANTASY XI’ for the millions of Xbox® fans who have anticipated this historical moment for quite some time,” said Robbie Bach, senior vice president and chief Xbox officer in the Home and Entertainment Division at Microsoft. “Together, we will chart a new course for the future of video game entertainment.”

Reinforcing the electricity accompanying Xbox 360, leading video games publisher EA announced that its groundbreaking Xbox 360 games symbolize its largest commitment to a next-generation platform launch. Demonstrating the strength of a world-class portfolio, EA has committed to a broad lineup of Xbox 360 titles including “Madden NFL 06,” “Need for Speed (TM) Most Wanted,” “FIFA 06,” “Tiger Woods PGA TOUR® 06,” “The Godfather (TM) The Game” and “NBA Live 06.”

The company also announced Xbox 360 will be backward-compatible with top-selling Xbox games. In addition, more than 160 games are in development for Xbox 360, with 25 to 40 games slated for release this calendar year. All are optimized for high-definition output (720p and 1080i). The following games are among the exciting new titles, many console-exclusives, in development from the biggest names in publishing today:

: A 2-Million-Member Movement and Rapidly Expanding

More exponential growth is on the horizon, because a Silver level of Xbox Live service will be available at no extra cost to Xbox 360 players who choose a broadband connection for their system. With the Silver level of service, gamers immediately access the Xbox Live Marketplace to download demos and trailers along with new game levels, maps, weapons, vehicles, skins, classic arcade games, card and board games, community-created content, and more to the detachable Xbox 360 hard drive. Players can also voice chat with friends, and send and receive text and voice messages.

Special features available to Gold subscribers only also include Spectator Mode, which will supercharge the entire Xbox Live game experience. For example, in “PGR 3,” gamers can watch any of their friends and the world’s top players on live spectator feeds, get live ticker-tape information when friends break records, and compete with anyone, anywhere, anytime. Through riveting games and new community features, Microsoft expects to connect half of all Xbox 360 consoles to Xbox Live.

The Xbox Platform — Powering the Xbox 360 Games and Entertainment

Xbox 360 is designed with a singular platform vision that fuses high-performance hardware and intelligent software and services so the player is always in power. Offering the greatest value in entertainment today, Microsoft detailed more key platform experiences that come standard with every Xbox 360 system:

  • An IBM PowerPC-based CPU with three symmetrical cores running at 3.2 GHz each, packing the most advanced AI and physics processing available

  • A custom ATI Graphics processor and more than 512 MB of memory for high-definition games and entertainment applications

  • All games optimized for 16:9 aspect ratio, HD output (720p and 1080i), multichannel surround sound output, and full-screen anti-aliasing

  • Detachable and expandable 20GB hard drive to download demos and trailers along with new game levels, maps, weapons, vehicles, skins, community-created content and more, to rip music for playback and to listen to custom playlists in every game

  • A wireless controller with Microsoft®-patented wireless technology; Xbox Guide Button on every controller to instantly connect gamers to their games, friends and music, and to power on or power off Xbox 360 without their having to leave the couch

  • Gamer Profile software that remembers what players have achieved in games

  • Instant, out-of-the-box access to Xbox Live, including a built-in Ethernet port for connectivity; Xbox Live Marketplace for downloadable content; a Message Center to receive voice and video messages from friends; functionality that let users talk to friends, even while watching movies or listening to music; and an Xbox Live Headset

  • Three USB 2.0 ports for Xbox Live Camera peripheral, to plug in wired game controllers that are also common for Windows®-based PCs; to stream media from a portable media device, digital camera and Windows XP-based PC

  • Progressive-scan DVD movie playback out of the box; DVD and CD music and photo playback out of the box; support for DVD-Video, DVD-ROM, DVD-R/RW, DVD+R/RW, CD-DA, CD-ROM, CD-R, CD-RW, Windows Media® Audio CD, MP3 CD, JPEG Photo CD

  • Media Center Extender built in to access recorded TV (including high-definition TV) and digital movies (including high-definition film), music, video and photos stored on Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005-based PCs through any Xbox 360 system

  • Support for up to four wireless game controllers and an optional Universal Media Remote with Windows XP Media Center Edition Button for Media Center Edition functionality

  • Support for Xbox 360 Wireless Network Adapter via 802.11b, g and a

  • Interactive, full-screen 3-D visualizers

  • Two memory unit ports to save data on portable memory units, starting at 64 MB

  • Detachable Face so each console can be personalized

  • Parental Controls to help restrict the games and movies that are played; Xbox Live controls to manage Friends List, voice and video communication, and Gamer Profile sharing

Xbox Demand at an All-Time High

Xbox continues to deliver thrilling, platform-driving games and gamers can expect more than 200 new Xbox titles this year, with hundreds more in 2006 and beyond. Xbox blockbusters in the making include “Half-Life 2” (Valve Corp.), “Need for Speed Most Wanted” (Electronic Arts), “Ultimate Spider-Man” (Activision), “Far Cry Instincts” (Ubisoft), “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe” (Buena Vista Games), “Star Wars Battlefront II” (LucasArts), “Shadow The Hedgehog” (SEGA), “Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland” (Activision), “Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Lockdown” (Ubisoft) and “Battlefield 2: Modern Combat (TM) ” (Electronic Arts).

About Xbox 360

Xbox 360 is the future-generation video game and entertainment system that places gamers at the center of the experience. Available this holiday season in North America, Europe and Japan, Xbox 360 will ignite a new era of digital entertainment that is always connected, always personalized and always in high definition.

About Xbox

Now in its third generation of transforming and uniting Xbox game communities, with more than 300 games planned by end of holiday 2005 and now with presence in 24 countries worldwide, Xbox Live has set the bar for online games entertainment. As the first global, unified online console games service, Xbox Live continues to take online gameplay and entertainment to unprecedented heights. With a rapidly growing global community, Xbox Live offers best-in-class games, intelligent matchmaking, tournaments, unique programming and integration with — there is simply nothing else like it. The service continues to provide more and more ways for members to meet, interact and stay engaged with each other.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

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