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Microsoft E3 Conference

What happened as it happened.

Microsoft has delivered its yearly E3 press conference and kicked the show into action.

Below is our live coverage of all that was said and done on stage; the promises, the revelations, and the plan.

It comes at a crucial time for the Xbox 360 as its rival PS3 console gains momentum in Europe and Japan.

Join us for the Nintendo and Sony conferences tomorrow. Until then, here is the Microsoft presentation with the oldest entry first.

Our live coverage of this event has finished.

Hello from the West Hall at the LA Convention Center. Microsoft has built an auditorium in the massive space usually occupied by a thousand competing publisher booths and filled it with seats, screens and green.

Robert Purchese

As you enter the auditorium you can scribble on a few tablets or pick up a bottle of water. Those who scribbled get to see their doodles on the big screen in the centre as they take their seats. To the left there are three smaller LCDs and on the right there are some couches. Everything bathed in green.

Robert Purchese

We're scheduled to begin in about 25 minutes, but we'll let you know if anything happens in the meantime.

Robert Purchese

To warm us up, they're showing an "Xbox 360 Street Talk" video where members of the public answer questions about games. What does pwn mean? What does melee mean? What does RPG mean? It's amusing. 7/10.

Robert Purchese

Now they're showing video interviews with people about their favourite games - Rock Band, Guitar Hero, etc - and how good they are at them. Then people show us their "game faces" - the winning and losing expressions. "I can't believe I would ever lose," says one. Oh you lose buddy.

Robert Purchese

Now the video appears to have looped. The kids play Xbox 360 24/7 apparently. Apart from when they're being interviewed about playing Xbox 360, I suppose. Now we're getting PUMPING BEATS and seem to be properly in pre-show limbo mode. We'll let you know if there's any more hardcore lifestyle video action.

Robert Purchese

The three-piece suite on the right of the stage, then. For that karaoke game, perhaps. In other good news, we've got the autocue behind us so we'll be able to tell you which bits are feebly choreographed. (Other than this live coverage, obviously.)

Robert Purchese

What are the odds on Peter Moore turning up to demo an EA game? Come back Peter! We miss you! Still nothing happening, although if anything the music is louder.

Robert Purchese

Ooh! "Please welcome Don Mattrick."

Robert Purchese

Don sashays onto the stage and welcomes us to E3 and "Xbox 360 - home to the biggest blockbusters" and fun and games for all the family. Did you know 360 has games like GTA and Call of Duty? Well it does, says Don.

Robert Purchese

The success of Guitar Hero, Rock Band, Scene It and Uno proves that 360 can deliver "to everyone", says Don. He says he's often asked if Microsoft can "deliver to everyone" while continuing to satisfy its core audience. He says it can.

Robert Purchese

New creative experience, new games and other new stuff will be shown this morning/evening, he says, including Resi 5, Fable 2 and Gears of War 2.

Robert Purchese

"Fasten your seatbelts, let's get started." Some sort of video with a 50s vibe - a robot floats around an American kitchen. VO: "Peace, freedom and bacon-and-eggs. Seems perfect. But what is it not?" "Where will you be when the atomic bombs fall?" Aha, it's a Fallout comedy ad.

Robert Purchese

"And Sally - in the vault, you might meet that special someone!" "Reserve your family spot in a state of the art underground vault today!" The camera pulls back out of the TV to show it sitting in a destroyed landscape.

Robert Purchese

Todd Howard, game director from Bethesda, takes the stage. That was half a trailer, apparently, with the rest going online later today.

Robert Purchese

Todd pulls up his PipBoy and checks out his weapons and other stuff on the green monochrome screen. He puts it away and wanders under an overpass towards a smashed up bus. The textures are very grubby. Right bumper uses VATS, allowing Todd to queue up sniper scope attacks on various body parts.

Robert Purchese

Switches to grenades and queues up an attack that takes out two more guys. The last guy needs a shotgun to chunkify his leg to sort through him. Now he takes on a turret. He goes for it with a laser rifle but points out he could hack a nearby computer to disable it if he preferred. Then he vaporises one of its minders.

Robert Purchese

They're going to demo Fallout 3 live. "Please reconnect controller". Always a good start. We come out of the pause menu in first-person looking at a post-apocalyptic Washington DC. We're on a highway. Todd takes it to third-person and switches back. A floating ibot "broadcasting the word of the enclave" goes past.

Robert Purchese

"This is a huge game with over a 100 hours of gameplay." You can go to the top of the Washington Monument if you can be bothered. The draw distance is fabulous. He tosses a pulse grenade at a sentry bot, which EMPs the hapless robot. "This is a game that reacts to how you play it." You can be good, bad, or "anything in-between".

Robert Purchese

A helicopter - "The Enclave, they've spotted me" - comes into view and lands. Todd switches to the Fatman, a mini nuclear bomb catapult, and uses VATS to pause and line-up the nuke attack, which obliterates them. Throughout the demo we've had jolly marching band music. "Hope you enjoy it all this fall," he says, ending the demo.

Robert Purchese

"We love Xbox Live Marketplace," he adds. "We're happy to announce that we're going to be doing substantial DLC for Fallout 3 and it will be exclusive to Xbox 360 and Windows PC."

Robert Purchese

Jun Takeuchi from Capcom turns up. He's the producer of Resident Evil 5, in case you didn't know. Jun's excellent translator, who was at Captivate last month, is going to show us "the world's first public playable demo of Resident Evil 5". He says he's very grateful for the opportunity to show it.

Robert Purchese

Chris Redfield wanders through a building - it's very grey and decrepit - and encounters an African zombie with a spade, who gets shot a bit and then bubbles to death. Then he shoots some other folks. One of them gets back up. Chris has joined a new organisation called the BSAA, says Takeuchi.

Robert Purchese

The HUD shows health for Chris and Sheva. The online co-op mode is being shown now, with co-producer Kawata-san joining in as Sheva.

Robert Purchese

You can see both their health and weapon selections on-screen at all times. Sheva is also in the BSAA (VSAA maybe?) based in Africa. Sheva runs at Chris, who boosts her over a huge jump. She then opens up a barrel with a knife and picks up some ammo and then drops into a room and starts shooting people with a machinegun.

Robert Purchese

Chris meanwhile snipes from a distance, rather inexpertly it must be said. Headshot them, pleb! Now we're back to Sheva's screen, and she's run out of bullets, so she's pulled out her handgun. Every time she runs over an inventory object she gets an X-button prompt to pick it up.

Robert Purchese

Takeuchi observes that it's important for the two players to team up to overcome obstacles. To demonstrate this, Chris kicks away at a metal door and Sheva shoots out the lock from the other side. Aha, a cut-scene with the man wielding a chainsaw.

Robert Purchese

He's a variation on a Resi 4 enemy, says Takeuchi. They're facing him in a narrow corridor...but alas we're out of time for the demo! So we won't get to see that. However, if you hang around Eurogamer later it's possible you'll get to read about that in more detail.

Robert Purchese

"Resident Evil 5 will be available in a simultaneous worldwide release...on Friday 13th March, 2009," including Europe and North America, says Takuechi. That's 12th March in Japan though, says the screen.

Robert Purchese

They're not letting up. Here's Peter Molyneux. "Fable 2 is finished," he says and laughs. "All the innovation and drama has come together and we've finished it." He's going to show us it, but reminds us first that it's an RPG with lots of invention and creativity.

Robert Purchese

We're being shown the opening moments. A snow-covered landscape with some sort of stupid robin or something flying through bare branches past casts and over meadows. Everything caked in snow. And through to a giant city surrounded by a huge wall. Inside the citizens bustle about streets warmed by lanterns.

Robert Purchese

Then the bird thing (not a robin! Exclusive) lets loose a drop of ice that falls down onto a small boy who goes "ooh, yuck". "That's how the story starts," says Molyneux. You grow from a kid into a full-blown hero - you can be a boy or girl of course. Molyneux's going to show us "one more innovation".

Robert Purchese

It's the dog! "The dog is an incredible AI agent!" says Molyneux. They're going to show co-op over Live, though. As you go through the world you see purple orbs. They represent your friends playing their SP game, and you can go up to them and invite them in and bang, they're in. "No lobbies, just that immediacy of being able to call people into your world."

Robert Purchese

"Why do I want to do this?" Your hero is unique, right, says Molyneux. Your world is unique, too. What you do determines how things unfold. When you invite people in they can observe how your world has unfolded. You can hang out with friends, chat people up, and do other things besides hacking and slashing.

Robert Purchese

Molyneux's introducing us to his wife now. "I chose her because she's got some strange tastes." He says his house is rubbish because he has been questing. Here's Molyneux's son. He's been growing up, he points out. As we and Molyneux's co-op buddy interact with the family, little icons appear. Funny +10. Etc.

Robert Purchese

And that's it! One last bit of news. "We'll be out in October of this year," says Molyneux, before disappearing.

Robert Purchese

And now we're getting Gears of War 2. "I have a rendezvous with death at some disputed barricade," says VO. "It maybe shall take my hand and lead me into his dark land and close my eyes and quench my breath. I have a rendezvous with death."

Robert Purchese

Screw the VO - Marcus is doing meat-shield action on-screen as he heads down a staircase into a giant arena full of Locust. Huge monsters all over. Cliff Bleszinski takes the stage to thrashing guitar.

Robert Purchese

"What's up guys?" He's holding a red controller and he's going to demo the two-player co-op campaign as Rod Ferguson plays along from backstage. They're going to "traverse a Locust sinkhole", which has "lots of nasties and maybe a surprise at the bottom". Marcus roadie-runs past a burning building and looks over a massive smoke-covered city as a crane falls down.

Robert Purchese

Whoops, the demo restarts. Are you really playing, Cliff? Ah, looks like they are. Marcus runs down a crane that's collapsed into a helpful bridge. The graphics are spectacular - a ocean of smoke on the horizon as Marcus runs into battle and meat-shields a Locust. A new one swirling a grenade or something around his head turns up and needs fixing.

Robert Purchese

Now some sort of spider monster about 50-feet-tall turns up and fires on Marcus. He uses the Hammer of Dawn on its face. More Locust in the tattered and torn pages of Gears' world. Little scampery gits emerge and a Locust with a flamethrower. He doesn't last long. "Nice," says Backseat Dom.

Robert Purchese

Marcus has got the flamethrower and toasts his enemies, but he's taking fire so he's still on the move. On a platform, hooks swing up onto the railings and Locust try and climb up from below. Dom chainsaws one of them and Marcus watches. The centre of the platform falls down the interior of a crumbly building and the players emerge coughing from the rubble.

Robert Purchese

Now they're legging it along a street as one of the grenade-slingers blocks their path. Cliff does some hardcore active-reloading and then Hammer of Dawns them. Good thing, those orbital cannons. Brumak below though. He's taking down the building that Marcus and Dom are in, staring out at hundreds of Locusts swarming the entrance.

Robert Purchese

Now Marcus and Dom are on the ground floor of the building, which seems to be on its side, escaping from the flames via an elevator that still works despite being on its side. An amusing jauntily-scored ride past scenes of destruction and the Brumak has a bead on them as soon as they exit the lift.

Robert Purchese

Marcus reckons they should get round the side and take out the driver. Good plan. He pistol-whips a Locust and flanks the Brumak. "Let's get over there and finish it off..." "Or we could ride it." "If they can ride them, so can we." End of demo. That was a bit spectacular, Gears fans.

Robert Purchese

"Also, another announcement..." "We have a new mode called Horde - it's a five-player co-op mode where five players can take on wave after wave of Locusts." Worldwide release date for Gears 2 is 7th November 2008.

Robert Purchese

Don Mattrick's coming back. He's got his own theme tune and this time he's on the right of the stage. "Wow, how's that for 10.30 on Monday morning?" he says as his microphone crackles a bit angrily.

Robert Purchese

Don's giving us a sermon about rockstar grandmas taking over our living rooms and family game nights. He says "we're registering our biggest year ever". He cites a PWC report that games are "the leading driver of all entertainment spending" and describes it as a "breathtaking achievement".

Robert Purchese

Everyone's thriving, says Don, who wants to now show us the growth "and how Xbox 360 is fuelling it". Hardware is at 10.3 million US sales compared to 10.2 million of Wii and 5 million plus ahead of PS3. 2.7 billion dollars in software sales in the last 12 months, he says.

Robert Purchese

Third-party game revenue on 360 "outpaced the Wii and PS3 combined" in the last 12 months, he says. "I'm willing to declare here today that Xbox 360 will sell more consoles worldwide this generation than PS3."

Robert Purchese

Crikey. Now he's talking Xbox Live. Over 12 million members apparently. "A new member joins every 5 seconds." He says "for the very first time" that consumers have spent "more than one billion dollars on Xbox Live". (Yeah, because it's bloody impossible to unsubscribe.)

Robert Purchese

He names a few of their TV and film partners, and says the library has "reached more than 10,000 movies and TV shows". On-demand high-def stuff delivery makes them bigger than any satellite or cable provider in this regard, he reckons.

Robert Purchese

He says movies and TV shows account for a third of all Xbox Live paid downloads in the USA. He has NBC and Universal Studios to add to the list of supporters today, he says, as a bunch of clips show us The Office US, Battlestar Galactica, Monk and that.

Robert Purchese

Movie reel shows The Fast And The Furious, The Scorpion King, Bourne Supremacy, American Pie, Riddick and others. Thanks to Universal. That's a US audience thing starting today.

Robert Purchese

Movies from Renown Studios, MGM and Constantin will be available from Europe starting today. "There you have it - that's how we're fuelling our growth and giving you more entertainment choices."

Robert Purchese

Now he's introducing John Schappert, head of Live, Software and Services. You may remember we spoke to John at GDC and I tried to steal his Zune. Schappert says that the 360 was "designed for continuous innovation", including innovation in social experiences.

Robert Purchese

Excellent, some lifestyle photography of people holding 360 pads and people using the video camera to chat to each other. "This is the magic of software, this is what allows us to drive the evolution of games and entertainment, and this is what continues to separate us from the rest of the pack," says Schappert.

Robert Purchese

He's announcing that the 360 will be "completely reinvented through software". New interface, then. Video.

Robert Purchese

It's the avatars thing. Menu items appear in the top left - Videos, Games, Primetime, Community, My Xbox buttons. In the middle are cards with your Gamercard (with an avatar), and a bunch of links to Photos, Videos and Games libraries. There's a "5 Friends Online" thing in top-right and an X360 icon showing controller guide icon in the bottom right.

Robert Purchese

Avatars. "Tons of hairstyles, clothes and accessories to choose from," he says. The avatar screen has a Schappert man in front of a mirror, and he switches his shirt for a green one. Schappert's avatar looks a bit like a Mii but taller and a bit more Playmobil.

Robert Purchese

It's going to be easy for avatars to be integrated in games, says the video that's now running. "You're going to see it in games all over the place" and "on websites". There'll be fashion trends, he says.

Robert Purchese

A bunch of avatars sit on a farm or something. Loads of avatars hold up a flag saying 360. Brilliant. "We're integrating avatars across the new Xbox experience," says Schappert. He's going through the interface a bit more. The Gamercard is really simple - the main menu items on the dash are like an iTunes carousel.

Robert Purchese

The Community page has a bunch of avatars on a sort of street page. They're going to have something called "Live Party", says Schappert. "Right now it looks like Phil is sharing some photos with Don and Shane," says Schappert. "Let's join the party." You can now stream photos "with everyone on your party", he says.

Robert Purchese

They're partnering with Endemol (yes, the Big Brother lot) to do...er, something. Some sort of Xbox community project called "Primetime". "1 vs. 100" is a massive multiplayer quiz show on Xbox Live.

Robert Purchese

Schappert reckons one day you'll "turn on your Xbox to see what's on Live" in the same way people use TV. New game: UNO Rush. Launch it for everyone in the party at the touch of a button. The avatars stand around the UNO game laughing and shrugging and blinking and being mildly derivative.

Robert Purchese

A live host will allow you to join in an avatar-driven multiplayer quiz game. "Xbox Live Primetime combines the best of television and the best of games," says Schappert. There will be real prizes. The dashboard update that introduces all this will launch in autumn.

Robert Purchese

Galaga Legions is next. Ships at the bottom of the screen shoot lots of swarmy enemies attacking from above, the sides, and so on. Looping conga lines of enemies. Interesting attack patterns. Exclusively on XBLA next month.

Robert Purchese

Now Schappert's onto Xbox Live Arcade. He announces a new version of Geometry Wars "coming next month from Bizarre Creations and Activision". Looks like it has elements of Geometry Wars Waves from PGR4 and Geometry Wars Galaxies. The graphics are more elaborately swirly and vapory than they were. "Geometry Wars 2: Retro Evolved." Looks like co-operative play is in.

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Special guest speaker for our next one. It's GLADoS!

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Portal: Still Alive - a 2008 exclusive for Xbox 360.

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"Due to previous tests being solvable, we are currently manufacturing new test chambers for only the most qualified subjects." It's coming to XBLA with new levels and Achievements this autumn - presumably then it's an expanded version of the one in Orange Box.

Robert Purchese

Now we've got some sort of South Park project for XBLA, but we're not shown much about it. The line-up's going to get "much bigger this fall" thanks to games like these and the Xbox Live Community Games announced at GDC. Colosseum will be one of the first, plus Hot Potato Online, Word Soup and others.

Robert Purchese

Schappert says we'll get these games as part of the dashboard update in the autumn. They're going to announce one more media partnership now - an exclusive partnership with Netflix.

Robert Purchese

You (well, Americo-you) will be able to watch "tens of thousands" of movies from the Netflix library. Schappert's added some films to his instant-watch queue - again it's like an iTunes carousel in terms of viewing it on the brand new dashboard. You can even share this stuff with your Live Party.

Robert Purchese

He hits the guide button and it brings up an overlay in the centre of the screen, but we can only glimpse it. We're seeing the Xbox Live chaps tomorrow so we'll try and fill you in with a more elaborate summary then. And now Shane Kim's coming to the stage. "Hello everybody and welcome to the party," says Shane.

Robert Purchese

He's name-checking games they have. POP, COD, Tomb Raider, NFS, PES. "The list goes on and on and on." It's not the only thing. Aha, he's talking about the GTA downloadable episode. Oh, but he's only mentioning it, not showing it. Shame. 1000+ titles for the platform by the end of 2008, says Kim.

Robert Purchese

He's got his friends at Rare in to show games. Looks like Banjo, collecting parts and taking them to his workshop to turn them into contraptions he can fly and swim around with and so on. Some wicked-looking tasks - hitting dominos with an aeroplane among them. And now Viva Pinata: Trouble in Paradise. OH GOD IT'S BEAUTIFUL.

Robert Purchese

Looks like you can set up some sort of minecart track. Pinartic and desert look wicked. There's a gorilla. And some penguins and a camel. Tigers! Pinata vision allows you to scan cards on Vision Camera and get new pinatas.

Robert Purchese

That looked like a rhino. That's the end of the demo. Sorry that wasn't more detailed - I was paralysed with joy. They're going to release the original Banjo-Kazooie game (or games, perhaps) on Xbox Live Arcade, too. All of those games are out this year, says Kim. Viva Pinata is out on 5th September, of course. PRE-ORDER NOW. Aha, and here's some sort of quiz game using the Scene It buzzers.

Robert Purchese

"Scene It? Box Office Smash!" with new buzzers, new trivia and new lifestyle video to promote it. Kim seems happy with this, even though its abbreviation is SIBOS! Krome Studios is developing it and there will be DLC and regional questions, among other things.

Robert Purchese

The next game is called "You're In The Movies" and is from Codemasters and Zoe Mode exclusively for 360. This "gets you off the couch", he says. It'll never catch on, Shane.

Robert Purchese

Kim makes a joke about people not doing flash photography because "the actors are very touchy about that". We thought we'd mention it because it was abysmal. On-screen Don is trying to run to match a silhouette. The camera records his running action and on-screen he is seen running and stretching a bungee rope in clown trousers. That's the most bizarre thing I've ever seen.

Robert Purchese

"This is a party I don't want to go to," Ellie says in my ear. Schappert's on-screen swatting bugs. It's as if EyeToy Play never happened. It's got him overlaid on the action pretty nicely though and seems to have picked up his outline accurately. Next up is Genevieve who has to, er, dance to the music.

Robert Purchese

She's got to match gestures. She's now freestyling, and posing, and matching gestures and hand-claps again. All the while these demos go on a wacky New York-sounding voice-over instructs and encourages the player.

Robert Purchese

The console will now compile the footage of the players into a movie so we can watch it. It's like a deliberately crumby 50s b-movie starring Schappert, Mattrick and Genevieve, with an iguana chasing them as they wave, dance and pretend-jog through car-parks, kitchens, bathrooms and caves.

Robert Purchese

This would probably be good if you were drunk, actually. And possibly on GHB. Kim applauds his colleagues as they leave. "The fun...doesn't stop there," he points out. You can edit those movies and then share them with your friends. The game will include a Live Vision camera when it ships later this year, says Kim.

Robert Purchese

Music games have taken the world by storm, says Kim and "Xbox 360 is the clear leader" thanks to an average of 3.5m downloaded songs. 80 per cent of all songs downloaded across all platforms are on 360, says Kim. We're going to be shown Guitar Hero: World Tour by Kai Huang from RedOctane.

Robert Purchese

Huang says that everyone loves Guitar Hero. He's rambling a bit, to be honest. New wireless drum kits with cymbals, touch-slide guitar, online band career, eight-player battle-of-the-bands. On disc, greatest number of master tracks ever - over 85 songs with "tons more" at launch and beyond (presumably as DLC).

Robert Purchese

Music Studio and GH Tunes will allow "a community of aspiring artists" to make and share stuff. Two more special announcements today: Xbox 360 gamers will get an REM Track Pack featuring three songs from their new album when World Tour launches, he says. Also, while Van Halen and The Eagles are already exclusive, Metallica is "joining Guitar Hero in a huge way". New album Death Magnetic will be a full

Robert Purchese

That'll be for Guitar Hero III when the album comes out and for World Tour when the game comes out this fall.

Robert Purchese

Kim's back. He's announcing a "brand new music party experience". Presumably this is Lips. This is the most lifestyle video I have ever seen. A man and a woman on opposite ends of the couch CONNECT VIA THE MEDIUM OF KARAOKE.

Robert Purchese

He's singing to her. On-screen it looks like it's got SingStar-style lyrics and pitch monitors. The microphones are wireless. They plug in a Zune and can access stuff from it.

Robert Purchese

Lips it is. From iNiS. That video made me want to kill people. "Available this holiday." Keiichi Yano from iNiS is on-screen. "I hope you guys are ready to have some fun," he says.

Robert Purchese

You can sing from your own music collection, Yano points out. Imagine plugging in a Zune or iPod and singing along to all your songs, he says. The wireless mics have lights on them that light up and also have motion sensors so you can shake your hands and pretend they're tambourines and so on. Now, er, Duffy is here to sing along to one of her songs. Blimey.

Robert Purchese

She's actually on the stage singing the song. I think something's wrong with her voice - maybe she needs a lozenge.

Robert Purchese

Apparently that's normal. "I've got that top - it's from Monsoon," says E3 fashion correspondent Ellie Gibson. Duffy says she doesn't know what you do but you do it well under your spee-eee-eeell. Shane Kim isn't tapping his foot. Feud? Feud.

Robert Purchese

The interface is very SingStar, but there's some other bits. An orange line throbs above the lyrics and pitch meter, and there's a white singer silhouette on the right with a red circle radiating out from it occasionally. The score's at the top of the screen. Duffy's doing pretty well. And she's out. "Woo!" she says.

Robert Purchese

Will Kim go in for the cheek-kiss? He doesn't. He thanks her for her performance and says she's on the Lips disc. She says she's never had as much fun singing that song. "Thank you for the amazing pleasure." You bet love. Lips will be the must-have game this holiday, says Kim.

Robert Purchese

Now he's talking about Rock Band 2. "It will premiere exclusively on Xbox 360," he points out, which we already knew but it's always nice to repeat these things. Alex from Harmonix is on stage. I can't remember how to spell his surname. I wonder if he had a fight with Kai Huang backstage.

Robert Purchese

The single most important aspect is the music, he says, and shows the entire set-list on-screen. All are original master recordings. We can't make much out from here but he's going to point out a few. Guns N' Roses' "Shacklers Revenge" from the new album Chinese Democracy will go with Rock Band 2 first. Bob Dylan's on there with "Tangled Up In Blue".

Robert Purchese

"Finally," there's AC/DC's music to look forward to. As with Bob Dylan and Guns, this is the first time the band's done music in a game, he says. Pearl Jam, Jane's Addiction, Megadeth, Interpol, Beck and a bunch of others get a quick name-check as he talks it up. There will also be 20 free bonus tracks "this fall".

Robert Purchese

All of the original downloadable tracks from RB1 are "forward-compatible" with Rock Band 2. You can also export "almost all of those tracks" from RB1 into RB2, "so no need for disc-swapping". Almost all? Anyway, over 500 songs by holiday 2008 for Rock Band 2, he adds, before leaving the stage.

Robert Purchese

Don Mattrick is back, thanking all of the people who came before him. "Before we close today, I'd like to welcome one final guest to the stage." It's Yoichi Wada from Square Enix. His avatar is wearing a suit, amusingly. "Thank you very much for inviting me to such an exciting and inspiring briefing," says Wada.

Robert Purchese

He's struggling with the autocue a bit but to be fair it's not his first language. And the guy isn't scrolling it up very fast. Square Enix has a strong partnership with Microsoft, says Wada. He wants the gaming communities of Japan, North America and Europe to enjoy the fruits of this "growing partnership".

Robert Purchese

Last June they announced Infinite Undiscovery, a new Star Ocean and Last Remnant for 360 (not all exclusive, mind). Infinite Undiscovery, as previously announced, is due out on 2nd Sept in US, 5th Sept in Europe and 11th Sept in Japan and Asia.

Robert Purchese

Tri-Ace developed Infinite Undiscovery, and they're also doing Star Ocean: The Last Hope, which is due out in spring 2009. The Last Remnant is "currently being developed by a team of Square Enix's dynamic creators". Due out on 360 first this holiday season. Last Remnant is also due out on Games for Windows - i.e. PC.

Robert Purchese

Don's talking us out now, hand in pocket, slick as you like. Blockbuster games, new experiences, etc. "No better way to deliver fun and entertainment to your living room" than 360. Ooh, interrupted by Wadawho has "one more big announcement".

Robert Purchese

A dragon-flappy thing flies through a canyon in a sexy CG video. On the horizon are plumes of smoke under a gigantic moon. Cocoon. Pulse. Says the screen. Now a giant city of flying-saucer domes and a dropship showers it with flying robot naughties. Now some sort of massive galactic robotic zooms through a red cloud. This is mentalist CG.

Robert Purchese

Stormtrooper-style enemies line up and...a very Final Fantasy-looking cast of characters get involved in massive CG battles. This has to be FFXIII or something like it. The battle system looks very similar to the one shown at Sony's conference a while ago.

Robert Purchese

A disc falls into one of the characters' hands and a little pixie thing springs out of it. Now there's some sort of mystical pond and a woman on a harp wearing an ostrich on her head. Now a series of platforms in a forest with a woman standing on it. Music's soaring all over the place and the camera's floating through all sorts of angsty scenes. Final Fantasy XIII.

Robert Purchese

"Available on Xbox 360 at launch in North America and Europe."

Robert Purchese

Wada looks pretty happy with himself. "At long last, the day we've all been waiting for has arrived. It gives me great pleasure to unveil this to you today." Wada says that doing a 360 version of FFXIII will "allow us to provide the game to even more fans in the two regions of North America and Europe, and we're currently working hard on its development".

Robert Purchese

Wada thanks Don Mattrick for letting him show it off and us for our "continued support of Square Enix". "Wow," says Mattrick. "Final Fantasy XIII is an astonishing addition to our growing array of RPG titles."

Robert Purchese

"Final Fantasy joins a long list of former PlayStation franchises finding a new home on Xbox 360...Thank you all for coming." That's it. We're out. See you tomorrow for Nintendo and Sony.

Robert Purchese