The last half of the keynote was mostly given over to entertainment in all it’s forms. First we had some demos of up and coming games running on Vista. Well, actually we had video footage of the demos of the games but you get the idea. If the halo 3 footage is representative of the game play and not just something they knocked up for a demo then we’re in for a treat later on in the year when it releases.
For me though the highlight was the Lego game of the “proper” three Star Wars movies – what can I say, I just don’t have the reflexes for first person shooters 🙂
You can’t make a speech about entertainment without mentioning the Xbox 360 and MS made a lot of the new services (there’s that word again) coming later on in the year.
Firstly there was a TV / movie download service that did feature high definition content and enabled it to be downloaded to the xbox hard drive. Clips shown include “24” and some generic hollywood blockbuster that I forgot to note the name of. Looked good though!
The second demo was IPTV – i.e. streaming on demand video delivered over the internet – for the 360. Again, very slick user interface and high quality video. And once again, I strongly suspect that if you’re outside the US you might have to wait a while which is a shame because it really looks nicely implemented. Mind you they did list British Telecom as a partner so it may be closer than I think! (here’s hoping…)
They also made a big deal about Windows Live connecting both Vista and XBox users. A demo was shown where a Vista user invited an XBox user to a game. Fine, I guess, and as long as the same game is available on both platforms then I’m sure it’ll work well. Didn’t seem that revolutionary to me but perhaps having an idea of what technology can do insulates me from surprise when somebody actually goes and does it!
From what we were shown I can conclude that MS are delivering on their promise to make the 360 into more of a “digital hub” rather than a standard games console. The new services all look well implemented and seem to deliver what most people would want. But, and it’s a big but, it’s *all* dependent on third party providers. No mention of prices, licenses or any other practical information was given so although the technology looks good in principle it still may be a while before many people can access the benefits.