Microsoft ignites blockbuster games excitement and unveils more magic for Kinect at gamescom 2011

COLOGNE, Germany – August 16, 2011 – Today, Microsoft raised the curtain on gamescom 2011, unveiling a stellar line up of compelling new content for Xbox 360 across the biggest blockbuster games and Kinect titles launching in the next 12 months, marking the biggest year in Xbox 360’s history while pushing to become the best-selling game console worldwide.

Chris Lewis, Vice President Interactive Entertainment Business for Microsoft Europe, said, “We’ve been very clear that our ambition is to be the number one console not only in Europe but worldwide, and looking at our lineup at gamescom while knowing what’s still in the pipeline, I’m confident we have the games and experiences to drive us toward that goal. Consumers of all ages continue to be captivated and entertained by everything Xbox 360 and Kinect have to offer and our commitment to the core remains undeniable.” 

Xbox 360 is the home for blockbuster games

Opening Wednesday, August 17, 2011, Microsoft’s presence on the gamescom show floor will reaffirm Xbox 360 as the platform to play this holiday’s top games and promises to thrill core gamers with blockbuster titles and content available exclusively on Xbox 360, including the multi-million selling “Gears of War” franchise playable in Germany for the very first time. With a BBFC 18 approved rating, “Gears of War 3” will hit shelves beginning 20 th September, allowing fans in Germany and around the world to load up their Lancers and join Marcus Fenix and his fellow COG soldiers as they race to rescue the human race from the jaws of extinction. Setting the standard for the racing genre this Christmas on the Xbox 360 platform and Kinect, car lovers will be blown away as “Forza Motorsport 4” takes centre stage exclusively at the Xbox 360 booth with the worldwide debut of the 2012 BMW M5. The team at Turn 10 Studios will also reveal F1 track favourite, the Hockenheim Ring, joining the host of circuits available when “Forza Motorsport 4” speeds to store shelves across Europe on 14 th October, 2011. Fans of the popular Xbox exclusive and first-person shooter franchise, “Halo,” will be the first in the world to compete on classic multiplayer maps Beaver Creek and Damnation in the iconic, remastered “Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary,” launching on the franchise’s 10 th anniversary, 15 thNovember, 2011.

Building on the strength of Microsoft’s portfolio, the industry’s best developers and publishers will showcase some of the best game experiences found on Xbox 360 with their latest blockbuster titles including “Call of Duty®: Modern Warfare® 3,” “Assassins Creed Revelations®”, “EA SPORTS™ FIFA 12,” and “The Elder Scrolls® V: Skyrim™.” Set to release exclusively for Xbox 360 and Kinect, Capcom will continue to demonstrate its commitment to pushing the boundaries of game development and showcasing new Kinect features for “Steel Battalion Heavy Armor” exclusively to media ahead of its release in 2012.

Controller-free magic continues with Kinect

gamescom will also provide an opportunity for Microsoft to highlight the breadth and depth of its game and entertainment portfolio, reaching core and family consumers alike. Kinect for Xbox 360, in conjunction with popular entertainment brands, will breathe life into the characters that touched our hearts, the worlds that captivated our imaginations, and the stories that defined generations for the whole family. For the first time anywhere in the world, attendees will be able to wreak havoc as the fearsome Rancor monster in “Kinect Star Wars” destroying Mos Eisley, crushing Stormtroopers, and swatting X-Wing fighters out of mid-air.  Together with “Kinect: Disneyland Adventures” allows families to experience the magic of a trip to Disneyland park from the comfort of their living room. In addition to the already revealed adventures from Pirates of the Caribbean, Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan’s Flight, consumers will now also experience Matterhorn Bobsleds, Enchanted Tiki Room and Jungle Cruise. Together with “Sesame Street: Once upon a Monster,” which is playable at the show and allows families to interact with beloved characters, Xbox 360 is bringing iconic scenes and characters to life like never before through the power of Kinect.

Continuing to highlight the breadth of Kinect gaming experiences, Microsoft will also showcase “The Gunstringer,” an artistic character-based shooter for core gamers which utilises Kinect in a fresh new way. “The Gunstringer” will arrive in stores worldwide on 13 th September, 2011, bundled with a token for Xbox LIVE Arcade and “Summer of Arcade” title “Fruit Ninja Kinect.”

This year also sees the launch of the successors to three of Kinect for Xbox 360’s best-selling titles, “Dance Central 2,” “Kinect Sports: Season Two,” and “Kinectimals Now with Bears!” The launch of "Dance Central 2" on 21 st October, 2011, will give movers and shakers the chance to strut their stuff with the introduction of full body two-player simultaneous dance tracking, a deeper one- or two-player campaign experience, and an improved fitness mode. “Dance Central 2's” fresh, must-have soundtrack will feature more than 40 songs on disc, with support for more than 100 tracks. If that isn’t enough, music fans will also be thrilled to hear international superstars like Lady Gaga and popular European artists such as Lena, Enrique Iglesias and Daft Punk will join the tracklist with hit songs “Born This Way”, “Satellite”, “I Like It” and “Technologic”. During the show, sports fans will also be the first to experience two all-new sports, Tennis and Darts, celebrated by a controller-free set by five-time Grand Slam tennis star Martina Hingis. “Kinect Sports: Season Two” releases to the cheers of the crowd beginning 25 th October, 2011. Animal lovers across the globe will be able to bring home new furry friends in “Kinectimals Now with Bears!” on 11 th October, 2011, but the fun doesn’t end there. Coming this Autumn, “Kinectimals” fans can take their favourite cubs beyond the living room to care for and train while on-the-go. “Kinectimals” for mobile will deliver all of the fun of the original “Kinectimals,” using touch screen controls to feed, pet, play, train and nurture on-the-go from their Windows Phone while also enjoying Xbox LIVE integration of Achievements and Leaderboards.

The Xbox 360 booth will also play host to a range of new titles from leading games publisher Ubisoft which continues to harness the power of Kinect in ever more exciting ways. gamescom guests can immerse themselves in the forthcoming ‘Your Shape® Fitness Evolved 2012’, which hits shelves on 10 th November, 2011 and uses precise, real-time and full-body tracking to put your body in the game for the ultimate ‘at home’ work out.  If they conserve enough energy, visitors to the booth can annihilate the forces of evil in ‘PowerUP Heroes’, a full-body fighting game which turns your Xbox 360 avatar into a powerful superhero ready for a cosmic combative showdown and launches on 6 th October, 2011.  The booth will also feature a demo for the upcoming ‘Rabbids® Alive & Kicking,’ a Kinect-exclusive mini game collection which sees players halting Rabbids from invading the living room using an Augmented Reality feature with Kinect's camera, when it launches on 3 rd November, 2011. 

Microsoft will also debut a host of new content from across the portfolio as Xbox 360, Xbox LIVE, and Games for Windows continue to bring the best in interactive entertainment to living rooms around the world with:

·         Kinect Fun Labs: Microsoft captured the world’s imagination at E3 2011 with the announcement of Kinect Fun Labs, a dedicated hub showcasing the latest Kinect innovations.  The latest Gadget, “Air Band,” introduces new Augmented Reality technology to Kinect and places you on stage as the star of your living room with a guitar, drums or keyboard. “Air Band” will be unveiled at gamescom and available in Kinect Fun Labs on 22 nd August, 2011.

·         Xbox LIVE Arcade: A wave of new content for Xbox LIVE Arcade playable for the first time at the Xbox booth including first looks at “Skulls of the Shogun” and “Trials Evolution,” the highly-anticipated sequel to “Trials HD.” XBLA fans will also be able to get their hands on “Iron Brigade” – also known as “Trenched” - which will be released in Europe this September.

·         Games for Windows: The launch of free-to-play PC title “Age of Empires Online” both online and in retail. Starting today, consumers worldwide can take advantage of two limited time offers for premium content bundles for the game. Players can purchase a Season’s Pass to get all of the game’s premium content for six months at a 30 percent discount, or take advantage of the opportunity to get the Defense of Crete Booster Pack for free with the purchase of the Greek and Egyptian Premium Civilizations.

·         Games for Windows Phone: Building on a year of success as one of the most used features on Windows Phone, Xbox LIVE is poised to deliver great additions to its games portfolio and new features that will make it easier to get into your games, find new titles, connect with friends, and see where they stand amongst the leaderboards. In addition to a new look and feel to the Games hub, the upcoming Mango update to Windows Phone will allow users to unlock in-game Avatar Awardable items and purchase add-on content. gamescom attendees will also get a sneak preview of a diverse and exciting collection of new Xbox LIVE games coming to Windows Phone later this year, including the quirky “Chickens Can’t Fly” and the mobile companion to “Toy Soldiers: Cold War” which features a series of three mini games mirroring the recently released Xbox LIVE Arcade title.

-ENDS-

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About Xbox 360

Xbox 360 is a premier home entertainment and video game system. Thanks to the addition of Kinect, Xbox 360 will forever transform social gaming and entertainment with a whole new way to play — no controller required. Xbox 360 is also home to the best and broadest games as well as the largest on-demand library of music, standard- and high-definition movies, TV shows and digital games, all in one place. The entertainment center of the living room, Xbox 360 blends unbeatable content with a leading social entertainment network of nearly 35 million Xbox LIVE members to create a limitless entertainment experience that can be shared at home or across the globe. More information about Xbox 360 can be found online at http://www.xbox.com.

About Xbox LIVE

Xbox LIVE is the online entertainment service for your Xbox 360, connecting you to an ever-expanding world of games, movies, TV, music, sports and social entertainment. Xbox LIVE lets you play the best games, enjoy the largest on-demand library on any console, listen to millions of songs and share the fun with friends around the world. Xbox LIVE is also the exclusive home of controller-free online entertainment through Kinect, making your Xbox 360 more intuitive and interactive than ever before. With an active community of nearly 35 million people across 35 countries, Xbox LIVE, together with Xbox 360, provides you with instant access to the entertainment you want, shared with the people you care about, wherever you are. More information about Xbox LIVE can be found online at http://www.xbox.com/live.

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