2008: better or worse year? Clearing contradictions from MS

(picture of MS staff setting up for CES keynote, from MajorNelson’s flickr)

During the CES Keynote speech delivered by Bill Gates, Mr. Gates had mentioned that video games were “on track” to be the “best year ever in the United States” (not just Xbox 360 contrary to other articles). “Video games” are poised to have a great year – that’s exactly what Bill Gates said to us literally 5 hours ago.

Well, MSNBC (a joint Microsoft – NBC Universal venture) reported, on the same day, that the industry may actually slow in 2008. The article is actually from Reuters, using data from CEA, but it’s an interesting contradiction. So which is it?

Well, Gates’ statement, when in context, suggest that the video game industry as a whole will do well. Not necessarily the console and hardware end of things. While the title of the MSNBC article suggests that “Game industry growth may slow in 2008” they are not contradicting what gates said. The MSNBC article, once broken down, essentially states that console/hardware sales are all expected to drop, while games/software is expected to pick up a great deal.

The article states that industry hardware sales were “$6.6 billion in 2007, but are anticipated to shrink to $6.4 billion in 2008.” Where, software on the other, is expected to see “…’a 26 percent increase in sales over 2007,’ said CEA spokeswoman Jennifer Bemisderfer. Software sales are expected to rise to $11.5 billion in 2008, up from $9.1 billion in 2007.” According to the article, software sales rose 7.6 percent between 2006 and 2007 – so a 26 percent increase is going to be absolutely gigantic.

Expect to see this data referenced throughout the year, and don’t let anyone blur those details and spin this article their way to try and trick you! Keep your guard up!

No Ultimate Xbox, hardly any Xbox @ CES

With another Keynote down, there was hardly anything in the way of Xbox news announced at CES. The most exciting things dealt with ABC and Disney bringing more content to the Xbox Live Marketplace, and British Telecom being the first company (no, not yet, but hopefully later this year) to offer the IP TV service – and the ability to use the Xbox 360 as your “set top box.”

If you want the audio, I have to say I’m sorry, I don’t have it. I had recording software running, redundancy in place, multiple ways of recording – and unfortunately, the stream I was listening to was underpowered and often too quiet. If you want to take a listen, head on over to MajorNelson.com – he will be uploading it in the next few minutes.

I want to thank TXPaladin, who was the only one who sat around with me tonight and listened to the show and chatted about it with me. It was a fun experience, and with my mid-show investment into ShoutMix.com, I hope I get to use the new shoutbox even more in the future! Yeah, the free version had way too many limitations that I didn’t know about until we got into the swing of things… but it all worked out in the end, so thanks for standing by even in the moments of technical difficulties.

With so little in the way of Xbox, I don’t intend to do any major write up for this, but below are my notes that I took and some of the things that I typed into my ShoutMix while listening to the show. Enjoy.

CES 2008 keynote notes:
9:30 PM 1/6/2008

Sound quality is terrible… very quiet, will have to normalize audio before uploading these streams to my readers.

Microsoft’s chairman, Bill Gates.

11 appearances @ CES, 10th keynote, 8th in a row.

Video intro for Gates… to the tune of “do you believe in magic” … quickly switched to t echno-pop remix of the song.

On stage in traditional blue sweater.

First keynote right when Windows 95 was first coming together, 1994. The first digital decade. Bill will talk about the NEXT digital decade.

(WinBreak.com’s SHOUTMIX SHOUTBOX went down for 3 minutes – WinBreak CentCom staffers recovered quickly).

Conversation begins on second digital decade. User centric, and connecting people.

“High Definition experiences everywhere.” Media room tables, projectors on walls, the Surface, etc… more rich 3d environments.

Rich devices “service connected.” Getting software updates, data, etc… taking a photo on a phone and having it on the web made even easier. So simple you take it for granted.

“Power of ‘natural user interface.'” Keyboard and Mouse going by the wayside.

These are the primary 3 elements that will make up the next digital decade.

Still pluggin home automation… Jetson’s was supposed to be the year 1999… we’re behind schedule.

Vista is a year old, 100 million user milestone.

420+ million of people using Windows Live Services. Windows Mobile 10 million new years last year, expected to DOUBLE to 20 million this year.

Mika Krammer Windows Live team. Calls Windows her lifeline, and talks about the use of Windows Live ID.

Gates uses Surface to design his own snowboard.

Nothing really that new pertaining to surface so far. It allows you to interface your phone with it and use it to deliver pictures and datas to the web.

Plugging Silverlight. New partner: NBC has chosen Microsoft as its exclusive Olympic partner. Big surprise from “MS-NBC” joint venture!

NBC’s perspective: extra video. Most ambitious and comprehensive broadband video coverage ever.

The music is overpowering all dialogue.

Robbie Bach with “Entertainment” news, Xbox included…

Live tops 10 million members – months ahead of schedule!

ABC and Disney bringing TV shows to XBLM this month.

Xbox Live will have more on demand video than any current cable or satellite providers, later this year.

Talk about media center extender.

Interactive IPTV, select your fixed camera during a live event.

British telecom will provide the set top box, first.

Off to the ZUNE news. Finally will start selling Zune in Canada this spring.

Molly O’Donnel to talk about Zune Social (beta).

Major reminds us that Molly was shown in the December “inside Xbox” holiday video.

Many “last.fm” style benefits to Zune Social, “Active Discovery.”

An easier way to sync to the unit, much better than just using last.fm.

Benefits to Microsoft Sync in the Lincoln MKX.

911 assist coming to Sync. 911 called when airbag deployed. Very handy. Take that, On*Star.

Tellme, a Microsoft Subsidiary. 411 style. Is 1800-Goog-411 in trouble?

Press To Talk, how to use Tellme – to search for movie theaters in the area, show times, tickets, buy tickets, AND share them with someone in your contacts list.

1 hour down.

Looking ‘ahead’ with Bill Gates and Robbie Bach.

Screen image CLEARLY simulated of new “vision tool” which he can point to something or someone. As it gets recognized, it will show details or notes you’ve made.

Integrates captured scenes and images with live earth 3d.

Gates and Bach, in vegas, may bet $20 on GH3 round. TipperQueen takes the place of Bach – SLASH takes the place of gates (no GH3 guitar for him).

Slash plays Bach (and self) off stage.

Generic music and background video come back… end of keynote? Very lackluster, considering last year’s big announcements of IP TV for the Xbox, etc… .

As always, thanks for stopin’ by at WinBreak, and even for showing interest in my CES write up! 🙂 It gives me hope for my little startup, yet!

Live coverage of the CES Keynote, tonight!

For those of you geeky enough to care, but not geeky enough to be so dedicated to sit around and listen to Bill Gates and friends run around a stage to crappy rock music, I will be covering the event LIVE, with a post keynote summary.

My live coverage will be courtesy of that awesome shoutmix.com shoutbox you now see on the right side of the index page.

Now I’m sure you would all rather follow Major Nelson’s twitter, but mine at least offers a little bit of interactivity during the show, as you’ll be able to chat with me while I do it!

I know it’s late notice, but come back here tonight for live updates during the show, and my post show synopsis. Also, shortly after the show, I will be posting MP3’s of some of the show. So come around, hang out, and let’s make a night of it! 🙂

Can we be friends?

My friend and idol DeaconBlade 360, over at Unscripted 360, back on December 5th, had a great idea. The idea, itself, was actually suggested by the Microsoft people “e” and “Major Nelson.” So, why not talk ‘friends of friends.’ I really hope we get to be friends! We’re still VERY small, and we don’t have a large following… but I think what will make it most exciting – I get to watch it grow. Hopefully if I keep updating the site, the fan following will grow, my readers will want to game with me, and boom! We’ll all be the start of something big. 🙂

So, taking the idea from Unscripted’s u3660 friend finder, we have Gamertag WinBreak. Add WinBreak to your friends list, and let’s watch it grow together… starting adding me and our other friends to your friends list. Like Microsoft loves to tell us, “There’s 8 million people on Xbox Live, jump in!”