We're in. It's a big round bowl of an auditorium with little round squishy Xbox pads under every bum.
This morning at 04:30 UK time Microsoft will take to the stage in the Santa Monica High School amphitheatre to deliver its E3 2007 Media Briefing.
It will be the first of the big three platform holders to be let loose on the press, and Tom will be bringing us Live Text commentary of all of it as it happens. Just sit back and watch the updates thunder in. There's no need to refresh or anything.
Core, Premium and Elite Xbox 360s sit on little green barstools next to the screen. A fourth stool sits in line. It's unoccupied. New SKU?
They're repeating the trick of having attendees' Gamertags crawl across the screen. Ellie's "Mrs Tom Selleck" floats past in massive letters.
We're making predictions. Mine: Peter Moore roars on-stage to expose a Prince Albert with Solid Snake swinging merrily below.
Ellie suggests something unprintable about green hair. She's sat behind another girl, so there's a 480 per cent chance they'll pick her out of the crowd.
There's a round area next to the big screen with a speech podium. In front of it something pointy about a metre cubed is covered in black sheet.
Johnny's recording me doing a Live Text. I think I should send this one home just so you have that degree of authenticity.
"I think Microsoft's determined to make everyone look like vomit." EGTV's Johnny Minkley weighs in on the ambiance.
Smoke rolls onto the stage ominously. We're ten minutes away according to a Tannoy announcement. I mean PA.
Five minutes. The sky's gone dark in preparation. We're outside, so let's hope it rains. Seriously, I'd laugh.
Right. Very little space left. Only a couple of dozen people still standing. E3 may have changed, but the scale and expense of Microsoft's conference hasn't.
Peter Moore has told us in the past that he reads these backstage. Peter, cross your arms in an X to show you love us.
"Please welcome five Halo fans from Libertyville, Illinois." It's a band. Halo tune, with a starry sky on-screen.
They're not bad actually. On-screen, screenshots float through the cosmos.
The violinist goes for a stroll down by the pond in the middle. She's loving it.
Peter Moore arrives. "Woo," he says, and says he found them on the net. "Thanks again Corporeal."
"This will be the first E3 briefing in which every demo you see will be coming this year." Promises "the greatest holiday line-up in videogame history".
They whip the black wrap off and it's Rock Band's stuff. Peter picks up a guitar. "This is Harmonix, and this is Rock Band." "Let's pump it up to 11."
Peter's on bass. They're doing Main Offender by The Hives. Peter gets the first Game Over!
Peter pauses the game by accident. Brilliant. "Bring it back up!"
And he's paused it again during the conclusion. Oh Peter. m/
Peter plays tribute to Rock Band, saying more bands will be announced later this week. Oh my God and it's a new Viva Piata!!!
"Become the ultimate party animal." It looks like a party game, then. They're smashing stuff in gardens, racing around a town, belching boats down a stream.
Viva Piñ: Party Animals. JUMP IN EVERYONE. It's not Rare though. Krome Studios. Over 50 mini-games. Now onto Mass Effect.
A nasty alien with an army is going to wipe humanity from the galaxy, apparently. Best shoot him then, which we do, with third-person gunnery.
Lots of space battles, epic in scale. Looks a bit Battlestar Galactica. The in-game sections were as nice as anything else on 360's been. Due out in November.
Peter shifts chat to growth. It's about total consumer spending not hardware sales, apparently. They've got those too. NPD: 5.6m in US, 2.8m Wii, 1.4m PS3.
Since the other launches: "We're in a tight race with Wii, and outselling PS3 two to one," he says. "Xbox 360 is selling more games than anyone else."
Shows a chart for the number of third party games that broke the top ten on Xbox 360. 18. Adds the numbers for PS3 and Wii: "Nil, for the Brits in the audience."
"Xbox 360 is driving this industry." Last generation's top 5. "These came from two franchises - and I've got them both tattooed on my arm."
GTA, Vice City, San Andreas, Halo, Halo 2. The top five of the last generation, he says. "Three years later, this same perfect storm will touch down for holiday."
GTA IV, Madden 08 and Halo 3. "This holiday will be unlike anything that's come before it." Trailer reel kicks off.
PGR4. Dynasty Warriors Gundam. Call of Duty 4. Stranglehold. Guitar Hero III. Beautiful Katamari. Lost Odyssey. NBA Live 08.
Mass Effect again. Fatal Inertia. Medal of Honor Airborne. Tiger Woods 08. Ace Combat 6. NHL 08. Assassin's Creed.
Spider-Man Friend or Foe. Simpsons. Splinter Cell Conviction. We're being shown very little we've not seen yet. NASCAR 08. Everything's a snapshot.
Eternal Sonata. BioShock. Madden. Tony Hawk. Crash of the Titans. Harry Potter 5. The Orange Box - woo TF2. Bee Movie Game.
Rock Band again. Naruto. JUMP IN. God. That was the first I'd seen of Spider-Man, and it looked a bit ropey to be honest. Jeff Bell's up now.
He's going to talk family. New one: "Scene it?" made by Screen Life. Based on the boardgame. New trivia questions, puzzles and HD movie clips.
New controller. Handheld with a Buzz-style button on the top, and the face buttons positioned in a line below. Four bundled with Scene It for usual game price.
"I think we have seen it," says Johnny. It does look VERY similar to Buzz's controller. Now they're demoing Naruto. Number one for young boys, apparently.
Naruto's running around a big city, jumping and prancing like a pubescent ninja. The combat has that Zelda pause on impact. It's very slick; looks like a cartoon.
Bell recalls the EA commitment to Live a few years ago. "Tonight I'm proud to announce that this incredible line up of EA Sports games ... will run twice as fast than last year's." "In sport, speed is everything." Some US sportsman called Reggie Bush is up.
He makes a crack about Microsoft guys cheating as they play Madden. I think I've got you stopped buddy, you haven't been to training camp yet have you."
Reggie is utterly failing to use the prompter. It's quite funny, because we can see his lines. "Lets get it on." Is what he would have said. "I'm not even watching Jeff. I'm not even watching." I'm not sure he's playing, either. That was odd. And scripted.
Bell turns to Xbox Live. "Last year we said Xbox Live would grow to six million members. I'm happy to announce we've eclipsed the seven million mark."
"Before next year's E3, we're forecasting that we will cross the 10 million mark." Turns to Live Arcade. Says it attracts new users. 45 million game downloads to date.
Over 100 games total by year end. Shows some. Bomberman Live. Undertow. Hexic 2 (wow - looks more like Tetris). Sonic. Sensible World of Soccer. War World.
Every Extend. Geon. Wing Commander Arena. Feeding Frenzy 2. Track & Field. Spyglass Board Games. Golden Axe. Space Giraffe. Super Puzzle Fighter. World Puzzle.
Marathon. Poker Smash. Tetris Smash. Boku Sudoku. Two being added tonight: Sonic and Golden Axe.
Now he's going to talk about the Video Marketplace. The only place to offer this, he points out. Over 2000 hours, from 28 networks and studios. Twice the size of the nearest cable provider, he says. In the US, anyway. USD 125m spent on DLC so far.
They've announced a partnership with Disney to bring their films to live. They show a reel of classics - Tarzan, Pooh's Heffalump Movie, Atlantis, Hercules, Emperor's New Groove, Armageddon, Sky High, Waterboy, Bad Company, Unbreakable...
On and on it goes. Coyote Ugly. Deja Vu. Primeval. The Queen. Venus. All in high definition. All available tonight. All Disney films from now to follow.
High definition video to go global in autumn. Canada and Europe this year. "We're committed to bringing Xbox 360 to the world." August 24th: X360 Elite in Euro.
They're bring out Shane Kim. "As Jeff said, everything starts with the games, which is why with all due respect to Mr Gates I have the best job in Microsoft."
Pays tribute to Sakaguchi, BioWare, Bungie, and says their "masterpieces" will join a great run of first-party titles.
Says PGR4 will follow Forza 2 in "a one-two punch". He welcomes Brian Woodhouse and Craig Howard from Bizarre Creations.
They're showing the bikes racing through a rain-swept New York. The frame-rate's about 30. Doing wheelies and stoppies. Kudos galore.
Oops, Shanghai, not New York. Not sure what that says about me. Or the game. A tropical storm promises to affect gameplay.
"PGR On Demand" will allow you to share videos and photos. It's coming in September. They go off to a new trailer.
The snow looks great. The reflections are epic. The raindrops on the car race along as the wind strikes them and a car duels with a bike on various terrain.
He points to Alan Wake, Too Human, Fable 2, Halo Wars and Banjo as examples of X360's aceness. Peter Jackson's Halo story partnership is referenced.
There's now new info though, it seems. Sakaguchi's Lost Odyssey is about to be shown.
The cinematics are ludicrously epic, as the player character wonders about the cost of his immortality. Sounds like Planescape: Torment.
"If you are an RPG fan, Xbox 360 is simply the best console to own this holiday," says Kim, thanks to Blue Dragon, Mass Effect and Lost Odyssey.
PC news time. Viva Piñata for Windows!!11 And Gears of War. "Surprise." Laughter.
With "completely new content, a game editor and a couple of other surprises". CliffyB takes the stage.
He talks about how things have changed since he showed it last year. "Gears was celebrated for its integrated co-op... and we're bringing that to Windows".
They're using Games for Windows Live, of course. Five new single-player chapters, new multiplayer mode and arenas, plus new achievements.
We're going to get to fight the Brumack (sp?) that we saw in the trailers. Marcus and Dom go for it as it fires stuff off its head cannon.
They're using big concrete pipes to hide. "Target those arm guns." BOOM. "One down." The guns are gone, but not the one on its head.
"Unfortunately I don't want to spoil how this battle ends," he says, before walking off. PC version's out this Christmas.
Moore's back. SEGA, Eidos and THQ have adopted Games for Windows Live, he says. More than a dozen Live-enabled PC titles this year.
Games for Windows will now be built into Unreal Engine 3. "That's right, it's a big deal," he says as a few applaud.
Moore says the "unified brand presence" in 10,000 stores worldwide has helped to... do... something. Make money, presumably. I wasn't listening.
He's showing a Games for Windows reel. Flight Sim X: Acceleration. Thrillville: Off the Rails. Bee Movie Game. (They love that one, innit).
Hellgate. Age of Empires 3: The Asian Dynasty. Stranglehold again. Gears, of course. BioShock. Crysis. Universe at War. Blacksite.
World in Conflict. Age of Conan. Lost Planet. Kane & Lynch. Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts. Zoo Tycoon 2: Extinct Animals. Juiced 2.
Viva Piñata. Spider-Man. End of reel. Clappety clap.
Call of Duty 4 to be shown next, having been lined up for 360 and PC. Not clear if he's about to announce it's exclusive, but we'll see.
Promises "an intense and cinematic campaign" as we slip into a trailer. My arse really hurts, by the way. I hope he finishes soon.
In the future, people fight with guns. In Prypyatt. An explosion levels an entire city, and looks a bit in-game. Could be anyway. Won't be fooled again.
Grant Collier and Jason West come on-stage to give us a "deeper look". How about a deeper cushion?
"We're making a more sophisticated, deeper Call of Duty experience." Promises variety. "We're going deep, and we're going hard." Moore shakes his head.
Moore is sulking next to a TV as they play the game. A sniper comes out of the low, greyed grass, bleeding out of the scenery to expose his perfect camouflage.
This looks properly amazing. The limited palette and detailed, grassy camo coupled with brilliant animation give it an incredibly coherent look.
They skip a couple of cinematics. Inside a building, bazookas lie against the wall. The use of foliage is extensive and varied as they sneak past a chopper.
Enemies slowly sweep the area as you lie in the grass. Exclusive to X360 is a multiplayer online beta. CharlieOscarDelta.com for details.
Now they're going to show Splinter Cell, with the next version this Christmas, of course. Exclusive to Xbox 360.
We knew that at X06, of course. They're going to show the second GTA IV trailer on our big screen, claiming the footage was captured on a 360.
"Where the GTA IV experience stops on other platforms, it continues on Xbox 360." Two new exclusive episodes by spring, he re-confirms.
Moving away from GTA onto Japanese partnerships. He says all publishers are committed to 360. They show emblems for all sorts including Beautiful Katamari.
"The only game that won't launch this year" is being shown. Resident Evil 5. Bleeding eyes in hot, dusty slums.
The full trailer to be shown on Live on 26th July.
And it's Jade Raymond. And Patrice Desilets. They're going to play Assassin's Creed for us, which is sexy of them.
They're showing the Jerusalem demo we'll play at the show. Altair walks through crowds and kicks up a fuss with the locals, which Raymond advises against.
We'll need to get to know the people as well as the city, says Jade. Having shown us the monks last year, they're going for a new approach.
Altair distracts by throwing someone off a building, and free-runs over arches and up walls. Jade giggles weirdly at the killing that ensues.
Altair's caught in a trap. Talal, the level's badguy, emerges and taunts the assassin. "I cannot allow my work to be threatened, " he says, as his goons attack.
Combat will be based on timing rather than lots of landed blows. Timing counters allows you to take people down elegantly and effectively.
Talal legs it up a ladder, and now we're to see the chase AI. "No two chases will be the same." Altair bounds over beams, ramps, stairs, barging people aside.
Free-running helps Altair catch up over beams and hanging planks. When he gets to him, he leaps onto him and knifes him ferociously. And they're off.
Moore's back, and starts talking about stories that revolutionised entertainment, like Star Wars.
"30 years later a new generation is claiming a new story and a new hero." It's time for Halo, then.
Nope. We're being shown a live action short created in concert between Neill Blomkamp (the abandoned film's director) and Bungie.
A red sun burns through an industrial background, as we close in on machines whirring and smelting. Familiar helmets and vehicles are being made.
Marines pick from racks of familiar handguns and rifles. A dropship emerges from a trapdoor. That's it. Hrm. A sort of fancy trailer, then. "Finish the fight."
"We're announcing a new console for Halo nation." It's brown. "The Halo 3 Special Edition console." In September.
Green or brown, Ellie reckons. "So there you have it - the greatest holiday line-up in videogame history," says Moore.
"Tonight, we let the games talk." Lines them up to illustrate his point. He's not wrong - I'd buy Viva Piñata again.
"We're adding even more family and social blockbusters" like Rock Band, Dance Dance, Simpsons and Beautiful Katamari. "This is who we are and what we'll deliver to you this holiday." He's wishing us all a wonderful week. And now, Halo 3 trailer.
"You are in the dirt... thinking what? That you might escape the coming fire. Your world will burn until its surface is but glass."
All your favourites - Cortana. Chief, Covenant, Warthogs, dropships, gigantic-scale gun battles. There's an enemy that fills the whole screen.
And the lights come up, and we're off. Good night. See you for Nintendo and Sony later today.