Noah here. Just back from the gala Xbox 360 cocktail party in NYC where hoardes of journos got hands-on time with scads of games. I'm definitely not tired of looking at this white-hot box. And I'm beginning to see the wisdom of selling two SKUs come November 22. The stripped down version, which comes with the wired controller and without a hard drive, is a nice gateway console for timid gamers. The ability to jack an iPod into the 360, as well as download photos from a digital camera, gives non-gamers a great excuse to play Project Gotham Racing 3 when no one is looking. (None of the games on the floor this evening required the hard drive, by the way.) Once folks are sold on the less expensive version of the 360, Microsoft will make a killing upselling them the wireless controller, headset, 20GB hard drive and camera when it eventually comes out. Lots of 360 buyers will make less of an investment up front, but wind up spending more money over the long haul. Smart Microsoft.
Speaking of Project Gotham: The highlight of the party was racing against Kiki Wolfkill. She's the art director at Studio RX (
the makers of PGR) the makers of Forza Motorspot—and she also worked with Bizarre on PGR3). She's also a true driver—just bought the first Porsche Cayman S in Seattle and is planning to take part in a Cannonball-style run with it later this year. She's also hot, hot, hot. She whipped me on the course, needless to say. Kiki did have several advantages, among them the fact that I was mesmerized by the amazing view from the Brooklyn Bridge from a Ferrari going 174 mph.
After the jump: Peter Moore, Machinima, and the sloppy drunk NYC gaming elite.
I've talked to plenty of heads of marketing before. It's usually not a conversation as much as an extended infomercial. This is not the case with Xbox marketing boss Peter Moore. He's the guy that tattooed the Halo 2 ship date on his arm at E3 a couple years ago. Moore has the energy of a presidential candidate. He should go door-to-door stumping for the 360, every single person would buy one after talking to him. I'm psyched to read the big profile of him coming out in Business 2.0.
The crew from Heavy.com announced a new lineup of Machinima shows today. I asked Moore whether the Xbox 360 online marketplace was going to host that sort of content. He's open to the idea, but it didn't sound like anything is in the works yet. Too bad, it would be great to download an episode of "Honey, I Killed The Geezer" or a "Pimp My Weapon"-style show in HD via the 360.
I always hope someone will get sloppy drunk at these gaming events, and it's usually me. But tonight everyone was so mesmerized by the games that it looked like that scene with the pod towers from The Matrix. Gordon Bellamy, who works the Spike TV Video Game Awards, was on hand to badger me about finishing up my ballot. USA Today's Mike Snyder was making some kind of excuse for playing as a Celtic. MTV Overdrive's Alex Porter was there too—he's so damn funny (and I'm not just talking about looks here). Geez, what self-respecting game reporter wasn't there sloshing some free booze around? I didn't see any of my pals from Cargo. So I'll just have to thank them here for the image topping this entry—I grabbed it from an Xbox 360 feature I wrote for them that hits stands today.
The games? King Kong rocks, although it didn't get as big a bump from HD as I'd hoped. Perfect Dark Zero tweaked its cooperative play in a nice way, but the AI seemed a bit slow on the uptake. Turn off the lights, put on headphones and play Condemned if you want the bejeezus scared out of you. But the game at the top of everyone's list is Call of Duty 2, it is without doubt the premiere Xbox 360 title. I'll fill you in on even more details as soon as my preview Xbox 360 arrives, which I'm told isn't too long from now.