From what we saw and what we've since heard, X06 was an all-round success for Microsoft and Xbox 360. As expected we got big announcements, big new games and plenty of new media to drool over.
Perhaps the biggest deal announced in recent times was the partnership between Peter Jackson, screenwriter Fran Walsh, and Microsoft to create two new series exclusively for Xbox 360 and Xbox Live. The first from the deal will be a collaborative effort with Bungie to co-create the next great chapter in the Halo universe. It doesn't get much bigger than that.
The second title to be born from the deal will be an entirely original property targeted at new audiences who have yet to get into games. Microsoft will also team with Jackson and Walsh to establish Wingnut Interactive, a studio dedicated to games.
Jackson was at the show and said, ""Microsoft has built an amazing living canvas with Xbox 360 and Xbox Live, which allows the storytellers of our time to express themselves in a new medium. They have fundamentally changed how people think about games. My vision, together with Microsoft Game Studios, is to push the boundaries of game development and the future of interactive entertainment. From a movie-maker's point of view, it is clear to me that the Xbox 360 platform is the stage where storytellers can work their craft in the same way they do today with movies and books but taking it further with interactivity."
While the complete non-appearance of Halo 3 almost made us sick, there was some comfort in the unveiling of an all-new Xbox 360 RTS game set in the Halo universe. Halo Wars will be developed by Ensemble Studios, famed for the PC RTS series Age of Empires. As we all know we've yet to see an RTS game actually work on a console and pad, so fingers crossed this hits to nail on the head. Halo 3 will be seen before the end of they ear though. We know that for a fact (wink, wink).
Full launch details of the HD-DVD player were also given last night; due for release in North America, UK, France and Germany in mid-November 2006, the Xbox 360 HD-DVD Player will go for $199.99 in North America and €199.99/£129.99 in the UK, France and Germany. It even comes with Peter Jackson's King Kong (for a limited time) and a 360 remote. The price seems to be going down quite well.
Microsoft not only confirmed that classic FPS daddy Doom would be hitting Xbox Live Marketplace (not Arcade, as earlier rumoured) it also flicked the 'on' switch and Live subscribers can download Doom RIGHT NOW for 800 points. For that you get the original single-player game, four-player split-screen multiplayer with deathmatch and co-op modes and four-player co-op and deathmatch on Xbox Live.
Joyous news for Rare fans as Microsoft has revealed that Banjo-Kazooie (a personal favourite of CVG's) is being given a next-gen outing and will be bounding onto Xbox 360. We're under the impression this is a brand new title, although details were so scarce we're not too sure at the moment. The trailer gave us goose bumps though.
Ubisoft dropped a bombshell confirming that its next Splinter Cell game (the unannounced one after Double Agent) will be exclusive to Xbox 360 - and Games for Windows.
There was also some big news on the GTA front, as Peter Moore revealed that the Xbox 360 version of the next GTA title will receive two huge chunks of exclusive content "just months" after the game launches next October.
Hit this link for yesterday's live coverage of the event direct from Barcelona.