Wait...aren't they going to talk about the big finale where Bill climed into a cybernetic exoskeleton, uploaded his consciousness into the internet and declared his thousand year reign of total world domination at hand? Man, you just can't trust the press anymore.
Famed software giant's final keynote also reveals first 360 IPTV partner, HD video download deal with ABC television and MGM--a Sony subsidiary.
LAS VEGAS--As has been the case for years, the Consumer Electronics Show kicked off Sunday with a keynote address from Bill Gates. For over two decades, he has loomed large over the consumer electronics industry, thanks to the dominance of his company's PC operating software--and, by default, PC games.
Since 2001, Microsoft has also been a player in the console space courtesy of the Xbox and its successor, the Xbox 360. This year, the latter platform is of particular interest, given a swirl of rumors that Microsoft would use the event to introduce an enhanced 360 with a built-in HD DVD drive.
Breaking with its traditional wall of silence, Microsoft adamantly denied to GameSpot that it was making such a console. However, speculation lingered that an HD DVD-equipped 360 could be in the works, which would be courtesy of Microsoft licensing its console's operating system to HD DVD-maker and Sony archrival Toshiba.
Nevertheless, excitement was in the air as 1,000-plus attendees took their seats in the Venetian Resort & Casino's Grand Ballroom to hear Gates' speech. Many had waited for hours in a series of stuffy corridors outside the expansive hall, surrounded by flexible barriers manned by the same stern, polite, and massive bodyguards who were omnipresent at Gates' surprise Electronic Entertainment Expo 2006 appearance.
ABC, MGM on XBLM
Unlike virtually every E3 address, Gates' CES keynote started exactly on time, with a flashy multimedia display touting the convention's luminary speakers and 140,000 attendees. But just as Consumer Electronics Association CEO Gary Shapiro took the stage to introduce Gates, Microsoft sent out a press release touting one of the highlights of his speech: The ABC and Disney Channel television networks would be releasing high-definition video content via Xbox Live Marketplace. The offerings will include such popular shows as Lost, Desperate Housewives, Grey's Anatomy, Hannah Montana, and High School Musical.
The news was surprising because the two networks' parent company, Walt Disney, releases high-definition video only on Blu-ray Disc. Blu-ray's main competitor, HD DVD, is supported by Microsoft, whereas Blu-ray Disc was created by Microsoft's rival Sony. Sony also owns the film studio MGM, which announced today that it will be releasing some of its most popular classics--including Dances With Wolves, The Terminator, The Silence of the Lambs, and Rocky--on XBLM. The shock announcement means that, via proxy, the PlayStation 3 maker is releasing video content on the Xbox 360.
Before the news could sink in, Gates took the stage to reminisce about technological developments since his first keynote address in 1994. He touched on such subjects as the increasing penetration of mobile phones, which have hit an estimated 40 percent of the US market.
"The first digital decade has been a great success--but this is just the beginning," boasted Gates. "There's nothing holding us back from the next digital decade."
He then addressed his decision to stop working at Microsoft full-time in July via a comedic video short. The several-minute segment was surprisingly good-natured, showing him working out with Matthew McConaughey, and dropping rhymes in Jay-Z's recording studio. "Let me get this straight, Jay. You can retire and unretire?" he joked with the hip-hop mogul, who has quit--and rejoined--the music business several times.
Then it was on to calling singer/philanthropist Bono (pictured above), whom Gates asked if he could join U2 because he got a high score on Guitar Hero. After that, the executive auditioned for a role in the next Steven Spielberg film and asked to be both Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama's running mate. "Who is this? Bill? Bill Clinton?" asked an incredulous Obama. Finally, after some ribs from Microsoft software architects--"Bob the Paper Clip from Office? All Bill's idea!"--the segment ended to uproarious applause.
A WINDOW INTO WINDOWS' FUTURE
Gates retook the stage to give some predictions for the "Second Digital Decade." He foresees high-definition displays everywhere. Not just for videos and games, but in a variety of new applications, including 3D virtual maps and 3D virtual social-networking devices. He then said he expects the information that these devices will provide will be taken for granted because of how instantaneous and convenient it will be. Once users' IDs are established, they will have access to all their information, which will automatically be tailored to their context or location.
Naturally, Gates feels a key building block of the next digital decade will be the Windows platform. As such, he ran down the numbers: PC sales grew by over 13 percent in 2007, with double-digit growth predicted for next year. He said that since it went on sale last year, over "100 million people now use Vista." Now over 420 million people use Windows Live, with 20 million using Windows Mobile--a number he expects to increase as mobile phones and devices grow more popular.
Gates then introduced Mika Kramer, director of Windows Client Mobility, for some comments on how the software has simplified her life via having one ID over various platforms. She showed off how the Windows calendar can overlay and check for availability between friends, and invited Gates to a snowboarding party. Gates then took the stage to show off a tabletop-size tablet with a PC-style interface that allowed him to design his own custom snowboard by touch, Minority Report-style.
Next, the outgoing executive announced that Microsoft's MSN network had been chosen by NBC as the sole Web-based video distributor for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. All broadband video from the event--some 3000 hours' worth--will be available via MSN, using Microsoft Silverlight multimedia technology. NBC and Microsoft are already partners in the MSNBC cable television network.
Then, at long last, it became game time. Robbie Bach, the chief of Microsoft's Entertainment and Devices division, took the stage to tout his wares. He began by doffing his hat to Windows and the PC, which "remains the biggest gaming platform by far." Though he said Windows Vista was a "fabulous platform for gaming," he did not mention any specific numbers.
The subject quickly turned to the Xbox 360, which Bach reminded has shipped 17.7 million units worldwide to date. From January to November 2007, the console generated $3.5 billion in revenue, which the executive claimed was over $2 billion more than the PlayStation 3 and $1 billion more than the Nintendo Wii. He said the "spend on Xbox 360 games was more than the spend on the other two [platforms] combined." Bach asserted these numbers made the 360's 2007 performance the "biggest year ever in gaming history."
Bach also revealed some figures about the 360's online network, Xbox Live. He said the service now boasts over 10 million subscribers, which is "six months ahead of schedule." He said the boost was courtesy of the addition of over 2 million subscribers over the holidays, when Xbox Live experienced widespread problems. Bach studiously avoided any mention of the problems, Microsoft's apology, or the subsequent lawsuit filed against Microsoft over the outages.
Bach then returned to the aforementioned MGM and ABC deal, saying Xbox Live Marketplace has twice as much high-definition video content as any cable network. With today's deal, some 35 film and television studios support the service. He also announced that, after Microsoft introduced the Windows Media extender service with the Xbox 360, it licensed the technology to Hewlett Packard and Samsung. They will introduce their own Windows Media Extender devices later in the year.
360 IPTV...in UK
Finally, it was on to the matter of IPTV for the Xbox 360. At CES 2007, Microsoft announced it would be introducing its IPTV service, Microsoft Mediaroom, to the Xbox 360 by the holidays. Then, last October, it said that the service would launch sometime in 2008, when it would announce partners that would offer the service to 360s.
Today, Microsoft announced the first such partner--which will be of major significance only if you live in the United Kingdom. Though Microsoft Mediaroom for Windows has 1 million users via service providers such as Deutsch Telecom and AT&T, British Telecom is the only service provider now confirmed to have plans to offer the service via the Xbox 360. Sometime later this year, BT will begin selling IPTV-equipped 360s as "set-top boxes." No service providers for the US or any other territory were announced.
BIG ROCK ENDING
Bach concluded by talking about Say and See, a voice-command search service with GPS-enabled Windows mobile phones. Bach then brought Gates back onstage for more Amazing Creswell-like predictions. The outgoing executive pulled out what he said was an experimental device that used to show off some technology in the works at Microsoft. He pointed the device at Bach, whom it recognized via facial recognition. After reminding Gates that Bach owed him $20, the device then located a nearby restaurant by recognizing landmarks from a street-level view via a fake Las Vegas skyline.
Then, at last, was the semi-grand finale to Gates' keynote address. After showing a new file-organizing interface for an unnamed Vista successor, Bach challenged Gates to a Guitar Hero III match for the aforementioned $20. He brought out a ringer, the svelte Guitar Hero champion Kelly Leone, who played a few simulated lines of Guns-N'-Roses' "Welcome to the Jungle." Gates then brought out his own ringer--former Guns-N'-Roses guitarist Slash. With Gates, Bach, and Leone all mock-rocking next to him, the current member of Velvet Revolver blazed out a real rendition of "Welcome to the Jungle," closing out Gates' tenure as CES' main keynote speaker with a blazing heavy metal finale.
BillGates is going all forth with the acquisition of the gaming arena as it seems.. not just gaming, entertainment on the whole.. hopefully, the next TV show i see on air better not be , According to Bill or Everbody loves Bill..but i guess software mogul has the ability to make that happen..
this news just furthers the fact that the wii doesn't have any good games and people are getting bored with them and ps3 continues to fail. planning has made the 360 ahead not just by being the first on the next gen scene but also securing great games. Nintendo has made up money for their motion censor gimmick and cheap price. Nintendo will have a good game every now and then but can't keep a good library of games because of its low technology and motion censor restraints. the ps3 has no out standing games and Sony fan boys boast proudly how good the blu-ray is and "WE ARE GETTING SOME GOOD GAMES SOON". i never bought my ps2 for its exclusives so theres no way in hell I'll buy a ps3 for its. Microsoft has the most revolutionary games. elder scrolls,fable,halo,gears of war, and the list goes on and on. i just don't see the reason in buying a system that doesn't already have great games.
I wonder what hinted him that there 10million XBox Live users.... Oh right!! It went down when that happened.
I just got a ps3 for christmas. Its starting to remind me alot of my psp, and its not just the interface. Now dont get me wrong playing movies i converted onto my psp was awesome but as a game system I have had for two years and only played 2 games on it kinda sucks. I have gamefly and i couldnt even find games to rent for ps3. I got heavenly sword which is a nice mediocre hack and slash, good for what it is. Drakes fortune i just got also but considering I just finished tomb raider anniversary (on gametap) it feels kinda played out. Then I am left with resistence, yet another first person shooter. Considering I played half life episode 2, portal, bioshock, halo 3, and call of duty 4 and loved every one of them im not exactly jumping at the chance to play a game even if it was nearly as good as them. The only other major system I know that went out over a year without a few major MUST have titles is the PSP. It seems sony has forgotten why people buy videogame systems, FOR THE GAMES. Microsoft may do all these extra bells and whistles with XBL and the ability to download shows most gamers dont care about but they also have a handful of must own games these past two holidays. You cant have the most expensive system that came out a year behind your competition and hope to get by simply on mulitplatform games.
Resistance uses 30 GB of space, hmm? If you can tell me how that makes it a better game, then I'll care. Oh, what's that? Is that the voice of reason, telling us that you're argument is invalid?
haha i just read the ps3 wasnt even close to using 50 gb disc bs resistance takes up 30 and it was launch date game so get ur facts straight but sony just needs to fix one thing....besides there working on xmb in game...but the controller it needs to feel better thats it
90% of last year Wii sales was primarly because of next gen console pricing, so I can assure you'll see a chart breaking DIP in the Wii sales soon.
I was reading all this fighting about what system is more superior the 360 or ps3...., well how about the wii. the wii has sold more systems around the world then the 360 and ps3 combined, so if u wanna talk about the more superior system start talking about the NINTENDO WII! More ,yes. combined? no.
Mason, whether you want to believe it or not, the Wii is a next gen console. You're right, graphic and hardware wise, it's certainly not as good as the 360 or the PS3, but that doesn't seem to matter as it has outsold both the 360 and PS3, not to mention it was released after the 360. So, though it doesn't match up with the PS3 or 360, it's sure not stopping people from buying it.
wii is not a next gen console and is not at war with microsoft or sony as its system is in a far lower quality bracket.
I was reading all this fighting about what system is more superior the 360 or ps3...., well how about the wii. the wii has sold more systems around the world then the 360 and ps3 combined, so if u wanna talk about the more superior system start talking about the NINTENDO WII!
haha a war over dvds, next it will be about hdmi leads, human being love making war, as we aren't allowed to kill living things, WAR HUH what is it good for? bringing us together
I'm not yelling (if that was what you meant?). Every word is from my heart, and I don't give **** about Bluray. Honestly.
So what if the Ps3 got Bluray? I would never want to use my GAME CONSOLE as a movie player anyway. Hell, I'm even reluctant re-buying my existent DVD-collection as is!!! And I don't think we'll see too much of the 50+ GB games this gen anyway. So, if the market finally heads Bluray for 1080p movies, I'll buy a player. Big deal.
@ waraga Is that all you Sony Fanboys ever do? Get over yourselves already... Maybe if you had some good software (or any software for that matter) for that blu ray player...you wouldn't be trolling it up on the boards. GOMER
Woah, Woah, Woah, I didn't mean to sound like a hypocrite. I was talking about exclusives. Devil May Cry, Conflict, GTA, and Turok are all going multi-platform. And who ever said the thing about final fantasy being milked he's right. In my opinion Final Fantasy hasn't been very good for a lonnnggg time. I never said the 360 is gonna fail. There is still lots of good games coming out this year. Homerj it is being Developed by Ensemble and Bungie. Bungie is still in on it. It is still a RTS, I do beleive it will sell fine with Halo fans just because it's Halo. If this game came out before the first 3 Halo's it wouldn't be a big deal. It contains all the characters and vehicles from previous halos and some more. That is one of the fun things about Halo is t he Banshee and the Warhog and the Ghost. Those make multiplayer/split-screen more fun than other multiplayer games. Oh yeah GoW2 is coming but we don't know when yet. I may seem this way but i'm not a fan boy, I spent 2 months deliberating PS3 or Xbox 360 and after two months of reading articles, reviews, gamespot, teamxbox, xboxdotcom, sonydotcom, asking friends, comparing compatibility, blu-ray vs HD-DVD and more. I picked the PS3. I could have been playing Bioshock (fun) GOW (fun). I'm sorry but I didn't.
BoogerMan6000 Well if tehy 360 fails then the quality of all games will fall beaucse there is nothing to compete with. So companys know people will play and they will just realese junnky bugy games. Thats why none of the consoles should fail beacuse it requires all of them to make a console war. If there was no Halo there would not be a good looking Killzone for the 360. If there wasent XBL then PsN would probobley not even excist. I'm gonna get flamed and down thumbed to hell for this probably, but if you gotta go out, go out with a bang. You have it completely and utterly in the opposite direction dude. Before MS got into this "war" and it was just between Sony and Nintendo, we got games like FF7-9, OoT, Goldeneye, Perfect Dark Tekken 1-3, Gran Turismo, Vagrant Story, Chrono Cross, SM64, Xenogears, Grim Fandigo, Fallout 1&2 and Half-Life. Each and every one of these games are Masterpieces, not good, not great, not superb but epic masterpieces. We've hardly seen any of these lately since MS entered the race about 7 years ago. Yeah, there are plenty of awesome games that have come out recently, but hardly any of them have that "certain something" that defines it's originality and makes a revolution in video gaming.
Well if tehy 360 fails then the quality of all games will fall beaucse there is nothing to compete with. So companys know people will play and they will just realese junnky bugy games. Thats why none of the consoles should fail beacuse it requires all of them to make a console war. If there was no Halo there would not be a good looking Killzone for the 360. If there wasent XBL then PsN would probobley not even excist.
@gocanes222 Halo Wars will certainly not "milk die-hard Halo fans", in fact I dont really expect the title to sell particuarly well amongst that crowd...do you know why? Halo Wars even though being developed at a contract studio, is actually a present to all of Bungie's fans back before Halo was nothing more than storyboards. Ever hear of the Myth series? Just one of the most revered tactical strategy games of all time. Do you know what Halo was supposed to be before Bungie was brought into the MS fold and Halo became the FPS that it is today? Thats right, a tactical RTS.....which just happens to be what Halo Wars is going to be. If you are going to post Sony Fan Boy diatribes, at least bother to think out and research your talking points a little better.
gocanes222, your perspective isn't right and even if it was would you really want the Xbox 360 to fail? The Xbox 360 isn't headed downhill. It's like someone saying the PS3 is going to head downhill after MGS4 comes out. Speaking of milked franchises can anyone say FF13? Halo 1-3 is just a trilogy and it gets so much crap from fanboys for it. Halo Wars isn't even being developed by Bungie and it's not an attempt to "milk" the die hard halo fans. You get mad at stupid Xbox fans for saying the PS3 has only one game yet you turn around and vent your own fanboyism. We call that hypocrisy. Final Fantasy is awesome and people like it, so the franchise continues. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. If people want more Halo after the 3rd game then devs are gonna make 'em.
we will be able to see the full potential of the ps3 when the graphics get more demanding and then you can utilies the full space of a bluray dvd. but what about xbox360 then? will you be able to cough out a $100 just to get better games' support? i guess so. cuz ppl hav to get more games. i just think it s a way to hog money by microsoft that's all.... but the final decesion lies with you not me...
@gocanes222 You do realize how much of a hypocrite you are...right? You start by saying that people always say the PS3 only has one good game, and then you go and say that the 360 is only getting Halo Wars..which is a "cash in". Nice way to create a double-standard fanprick.
Its sad to see Bill Gates stepping down, but obviously he is more than comfortable handing over the reins to the next person, so I suppose its the end of one era, and the beginning of a new one. Regardless of what anyone says, M$ is a brilliant company and will continue to grow, and I can't wait to see how it does. :)
does that count all the cheap ass's like my friend who creates a new account every month to play live and it really anoys me
First of all I'd like to say that Bill Gates should be an inspiration to all of us. He is the face of entrepreneurship. He went from being the dork to one of the wealthiest men in the history of wealth. Then he donated lots of money, and gracefully too. He didn't make a big deal out of it, trying to get press coverage and all that. Now on to the HD "war" and the Console "war." I own both a PS3 and a WII and have played the XBOX 360. Sure the XBOX has GOW and Halo 3 but saying the PS3 has only "one" good game is straight up uncalled for. I know I shouldn't be getting angry because some Fanboy is upset, but c'mon one game, are you serious. First there is Resistance Fall of Man, an excellent first-person shooter. Then onto Uncharted, which turned out to be hella fun. Then lets talk about Ratchet and Clank, no matter how childish that game is, it is still soo much fun. Oh and how is Unreal Tournament III. I would say it's the best FPS since CoD4. I know XBox is getting it but you don't have it right now. Then lets talk about this year. We have got Haze, Killzone II, and redone Lost Planet (with multi-player). What does the 360 have this year. Halo Wars? That is an attempt by a finished franchise to milk some more money out of die-hard desperate fans. Halo I was good and from Halo II to Halo III not much changed in the series. Halo III was Halo II was Halo I with better graphics. Franchises like Resistance: Fall of Man has a better looking future than Halo did. Even Wii has SSBB which is going to be one of the best game to come out on the Wii. Mario Galaxy is extremly fun too. Even Mario and Sonic at the olympics is a lot of fun. I still like the plethera of PS3 choices out and coming out. Now onto Blu-Ray vs. HD-DVD. I can't say much to credit HD-DVD other than the fact that they tried and are failing. Putting one in the XBOX 360 now would be a waste of money. Blu-Ray is really dominating the market by controlling over 70% of the home movie watching crowd. Also the Ps3 is able to send updates to the player over the System Update because Blu-Ray is just becoming more and more advanced. I like the idea that all my games are on blu-ray discs meaning they have alot more storage than the normal DVD. Overall I'm really liking the PS3's chances in the next few years. The Wii sounds really fun too, but the Xbox 360 has already hit it's climax and with HD-DVD failing it's heading down hill.
@Moester10 "The title for this article is beyond ludicrous. "Bill Gate's swan song" its not like the guy retired. Swan Song usually refers to the very last speech or act anyone will ever make. There's nothing that I hate more than people who use "intellectual" expressions to make themselves sound smarter, but use it in the wrong context. Its like some guy saying "I'm more betterer than you" If you're going to be pompous, might as well do it correctly." Sorry I can't ignore that much stupitidy... Did you even read the article??? Gates is retiring from his full-time job and will only be on the m$ boad as chairman. While, no, technically is not full retirement it is quite a step down from his position now and no he's not retired this very instant, but this was his announcement of it, hints the name of the article. so next time when you're thinking about judging someone else's "intellect" you might want to take you're own advice about being pompous first... just a thought ( ;
Man i am glad i own a ps3 no need to buy an external hdd player now ms want a blue ray drive man give me a break.
Sounds like at awesome presentation. Recorded it on G4 , gonna watch it later along with whatever Gamespot/CNET has. The real good news: I now get to play Halo 3 and watch Hannah Montana and High School Musical (in HD) on the same console. Yeah, you might rate my comment negative, but I'm happy :D
IRoxxorUrSoxxor - "HI DEF DOWNLOADS ARE AN ENORMOUS MARKET." They are also an enormous tax on peoples download limit and time. I don't know where you live, but in some places, people do not have unlimited download limit, and one or two Hi-Def movies could set them over the limit for the month, causing dial-up speed, or no, internet. There is no room for them until the general public gets faster bigger internet. Homerj - Numbers is not the only thing you can use to compare who is winning, but in comparison to Revenue it is much more useful. That is all I was saying. Cut in half how many 360's have been sold and compare it to the Wii, there is your numbers. Games sold is irrelevant as it just means that each owner has a certain amount of games, not necessarily the popularity of the console. Of coarse Halo 3 was going to sell in huge numbers, it would be crazy to have an Xbox without it. DiRT was a rubbish game, especially compared to Forza, it was just that it was one of the first out and was on display everywhere. Game help, but the best console isn't decided by one which sells a lot of one or two games.
what i think is funny is how those guys are suing microsoft for the xbox live outages, but will I ever see any of that money? Hell no! freakin greedy bastards
Sit around the PC you ask? Why, hook it up to a large 58 inch plasma widescreen tv. That way, the family can sit wherever they want and watch.
ok everyone here is saying download hd is the future. lol now for us to watch a hd movie i have to watch on my pc. how is the family going to sit around the pc.
i just have my ring of death i wanna make a lawsuit for put this bad hardware into the market anybody wanna join me?
The title for this article is beyond ludicrous. "Bill Gate's swan song" its not like the guy retired. Swan Song usually refers to the very last speech or act anyone will ever make. There's nothing that I hate more than people who use "intellectual" expressions to make themselves sound smarter, but use it in the wrong context. Its like some guy saying "I'm more betterer than you" If you're going to be pompous, might as well do it correctly.
[quote] HD downloads is obviously going to fail. Now that the High Def wars have ended I don't see the point.[/quote] This is too rife with stupidity to ignore. Not only is HD download EXPLODING at the moment (you know that writers guild strike? . . . yeah, you idiot, guess what it's about), but as you can see very goddamn plainly from the fact that HD DVD and BluRay are still bitterly competing for market share, the high def format wars are definitely not over. Some people should just refrain from posting altogether. EDIT: Let me reiterate for those many dozens of morons who understand nothing about anything: HI DEF DOWNLOADS ARE AN ENORMOUS MARKET. THEY ARE THE EXCLUSIVE AND SPECIFIC REASON FOR THE WRITER'S GUILD STRIKE. IT IS A MARKET WORTH MULTIPLE BILLIONS OF DOLLARS, AND IT'S STILL IN ITS FREAKIN' INFANCY. Thank you.
"Revenue doesn't help to tell who is winning the console war, number of units sold does." Exactly what I've been saying....8 million copies of Halo3 in 3 months, GeOW sold more than 3 million in its first month...why even the 360 release of Dirt sold a million copies in less than a month. The number of units of SOFTWARE sold for the 360 speaks volumes. Do not for a moment take that as a bash on the Wii, as I have one and love it. But in terms of the leader of this gen, hardware units is pretty much meaningless when middle tier games like Dirt can go multiplatinum in sales in a month on the 360. The 360 software library will continue to lead in sales....the Wii hardware will continue to dominate for a while, but its software wont rank above a distant second. And the PS3....well...ummm...it plays blu ray dvds.
HD downloads is obviously going to fail. Now that the High Def wars have ended I don't see the point.
I am usually an embittered cynic when it comes to pretty much everything these days, but even i (sniff) had to shed a tear when the Great Bill bowed out at the end of his speech playing his faux axe man..s'cuse me whilst I go and blub some more...
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