The above picture is from Kotaku, and, in the distance, it shows a mysterious shrouded stand, in the middle of the Microsoft XNA lobby, at GDC.
We aren’t there, we don’t know what it is, either. But there is something behind that curtain – and it is scheduled to be unveiled in about an hour. The teams at WinBreak Central Command and WinBreak Remote Command are all geared up and ready to blog. Of course, I’m a one man show, but I have my own tool set to try and get this news to you as soon as it breaks to the public.
It’s hard to imagine something to do with XNA is going to steal the show, after all, the Creators Club has so far failed to produce the amazing results we thought it would in 2006. But there is something that Microsoft has deemed interesting enough to hype up a little bit, and leave to the imagination, so here’s hoping! More than likely, whatever the surprise announcement is, it will be featured on Inside Xbox, Major Nelson, and Gamerscore Blog.
Community made XNA games will be distributed through Xbox Live. Many games will be playable on Zune. Windows – Xbox – Zune all expected to be ‘cross platform’-ish with XNA.
But behind the curtain? Is it a GoW 2 display? Screenies of all of the XNA games supposedly available on the XBLM? We don’t know yet… but we do know the GoW2 video is playing at this very instant at GDC.
UPDATE 2: Kotaku has presented us with pictures of “the stand behind the curtain.” Just as I (sort of) guessed, it is a demo station featuring the announced XNA games. Also, interestingly, a link to XNA Game Studio Connect at the bottom – must be the one that goes directly to your PC? Don’t know, I didn’t play around enough with XNA last year when I was playing around with it at all… but I’m sure there will be clearer details to come this week.
WBX: WinBreak Exclusive
IRISHprik411 pointed me to an article at dbtechno.com which said Microsoft was planning to buy Epic. Unfortunately for them, it’s completely bogus. It might get them some hits, but it’ll die off soon enough.
After CliffyB stating, last week, how Epic intends to focus the majority of their work on consoles, I can’t expect that they’re suddenly going to buddy up to Microsoft. Further cementing the idea that Epic is out on their own, today they announced the implimentation of Scaleform GFx, which “…[enables] artists to create scalable data-driven UI elements for menuing systems, overlays, HUDs and animated textures directly on 3D objects. GFx also provides an innovative text and font system specifically designed to enhance productivity and streamline localization.”
Additionally, I got in touch with a source “friendly” with Epic who, preferred to remain anonymous, who had this to say: “Its a rumor, lol …. well, rumors start easily …. I’m not sure where it came from, or why.” I just had to include the “LOL” in his message, reaffirming that Epic isn’t going anywhere, and they’re certainly not about to join Microsoft Game Studios. Clearly the most popular game engine right now (what game have you played lately that didn’t have the Unreal Engine logo at the beginning!?), Epic still has enough money to resist even the best offers from Microsoft, if they were to make one.
(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!
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! 🙂