Games ’08 – Microsoft’s Press Event

Microsoft came out with a hefty price cut which places its 360s into an exciting dimension and opens a greater demographic to join the ever growing community in the Middle East.

‘We don’t want gaming to be a niche, rather a bigger phenomenon, and with this price cut, it’s the perfect time to own one!’, says Aman Sangar, Product Manager of Xbox division at Microsoft during Games Alliance Middle East.

Microsoft’s recent run into the gaming arena, especially in the Middle East seems to have paid up well. We weren’t quoted numbers but Aman hinted on a 500% increase from the time of launch last year to now.

One of the buzz news which was, well, already out and about, was the fact that X360’s have gone as low as a PSP so to speak with the Arcade version slotting the AED 750 (USD 204) mark where as the new Premium 60GB version will be hitting the AED 999 (USD 272) mark, thereby being one of the first next generation (or current-gen!) consoles to have gone below the AED 1k mark. Achievement Unlocked!

Too Human and Viva Pinata – Trouble in Paradise are already out, but there is intense anticipation for Gears 2, Banjo Kazooie and FABLE II, and Microsoft was certainly pushing it. Fable II and Banjo Kazooie definitely looked beautiful but to appreciate the game we needed more time. However Gears 2 impressions are available here.

We quizzed Aman about any more combos or bundles planned and the response was affirmative, albeit not detailed. They plan further offers for the Holiday season as well as EID bundle packs, and we’ll keep you updated with those.

The plague of piracy effects everyone and this is definitely a concern for Microsoft. It is rumoured that the new 60 GB models are more robust to being chipped or meddled with (tell that to our friends in China ;)). Aman pointed out that in many places, especially in Saudi Arabia, original games are being taken as a status symbol, and such a trend can only be a healthy sign for the industry.

We also asked Aman about the itchy subject of Blu-rays and their stance on it. ‘We have always been supportive of either of the next generation formats, be it BDDVD or HDDVD, but we’ve always believed in downloadable media and we see it as the future’.

Which segued automatically into an obvious topic – Xbox Live!. ‘It’s not about when is Xbox live coming, it’s about how soon can we get it’, said Aman. ‘It’s like a checklist which is maintained and we’re somewhere on the list too. We are sorting out infrastructure and we need to come out completely and surely, so there are no hiccups. It generally takes around a year and a half in all other countries for Xbox Live to come after Xbox launches and we want to do it here very soon too!’.

Don’t we all? 😉

Our last most obvious question was, is there going to be a launch party for Gears of War 2 too (like Halo 3)? A smile is what we got! – thankyouverymuchkindsir! 😛

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