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GDC: Microsoft shows next-gen movies

XNA movies showcase the power of Microsoft's next-gen technology. If this is Xbox 2 then sign us right up.

Having unveiled its XNA development platform to the press earlier today, the much-hyped keynote address at the Game Developers Conference - originally mooted as the potential launch platform for Xbox 2 - merely served to reinforce the points made in the original announcement, our man in San Jose reports this evening.

It wasn't all bullet points and Powerpoint slides though. Amongst the highlights of the address were a number of movies demonstrating the power of XNA, and the inference was that this is the sort of graphical might we can expect Xbox 2 to wield, even if it's not actual footage of the console in action.

Even better, those movies are already available - in streaming and downloadable format - via the official XNA website, showing off things like a beautifully reflective blue Saleen sports car, presented at a level of detail easily exceeding Bizarre Creations' recent Project Gotham Racing 2 - itself no slouch in the graphics department.

Our favourite, Crash Test, shows a blue Saleen sports car hitting a concrete wall at 330km/h and contracting into a tightly coiled mesh of crumpled bodywork, followed by the same concertina effect repeated over and over as the car is shot at differently shaped blocks. You'll never look at Burnout 2 with the same respect again.

The lighting, the shadows, the reflections, and the way the effect is maintained at such high velocity and such an impressive level of detail is truly gob smacking. The same goes for the similarly enjoyable Xenomorph and Noir trailers, the latter rivalling in real-time the organic look and level of detail that we've come to expect from Tecmo's cut sequences.

You can see shots from each movie elsewhere on the site - Crash Test, Film Noir and Xenomorph.

These may be little more than tech demos, but if whispers that this is the power of Xbox 2 turn out to be true, Sony and Nintendo are going to be frowning their way through rather a lot of sake when the next-generation platform race gathers pace...