Well, folks, it's on. The XBox 360 officially exists, it works, and it rocks. I left a little early because I knew I was just going to sit there and play Call of Duty 2 all day and that wouldn't have been good for anyone.
First impressions: the next four years are going to kick ass. The XBox 360—presumably the rest of the new consoles—will keep us in our living rooms long past dinner-time, bed-time, and colostomy-bag-changing time. The XBox 360 games I saw, Dead or Alive 4, Project Gotham Racing 3, Condemned: Criminal Origins, and the like, looked excellent. Photo-realism was the real draw and some of the more cartoony games like Kameo lost something in the translation. Cell shading looks nice and smooth, but that's about it. PGR 3 featured incredible detailing on the cityscapes and cars and your humble correspondent felt blood and stool on his leg while fighting Jerry in CoD2.
XBox Live has an odd new Anime interface that eschews the "brain in a jar" look of the XBox Dashboard. The Live features, including IM, voice chat, and match gathering, are all easy to handle and the ever present Live window pops up with a click of the silver Live button. A cute feature we already knew about—iPod support. Plug in your Nano and get rocking, was the suggestion, and we're assuming that almost any USB-enabled MP3 player will appear as a music source. Any USB keyboard will work with the 360 so you'll be able rag folks in Avatar mode.
I am starting to see a need for Windows Media Center Edition. The built-in extender features turns the XBox into a living room media center for the oldsters. HD content looks flawless and the movie download services are waiting in the wings for late night sessions of gaming/watching "Hard Bodies 2."
Is all this news? Not so much. This was a get to know me event, something that happens around the world for us journalists to hang out in apartments nicer than ours and play video games. There's another event later this evening, which one of our wonderful editors will attend, so that's nice. Otherwise, people, get ready. This shit kicks ass.