E3 News: A Letter from Marc Whitten – Xbox 360

Marc lays out his plans for Xbox, Kinect and more…

Dear Xbox LIVE Members,

Today at E3, we revealed our vision for the transformation of games and entertainment. It was an honor to share with you the work the Xbox LIVE team has done this year. On stage, I announced an exclusive collaboration between ESPN and Xbox LIVE to bring the stadium experience right into your living room, with more than 3,500 live and on-demand global sports events on ESPN3.com. I also announced Video Kinect and Zune music on Xbox LIVE, which will be enhanced by Kinect for Xbox 360, a truly extraordinary technology that makes these experiences simple, natural and above all, fun. I also talked about our continuing commitment to our global members, bringing Xbox LIVE to virtually every country where Xbox is sold and continuing to expand content and experiences around the world.

This innovation is our passion and our obligation to you, the Xbox LIVE community. The 25 million of you playing “Halo” (Microsoft Game Studios) and “Call of Duty” (Activision), watching movies on Zune and Netflix, and sharing with your friends have pushed us to think big and to continue delivering new and meaningful experiences. We also unveiled the new Xbox 360. Built for you, the Xbox 360 250GB is back in black with a sleeker and leaner design, is whisper-quiet, and comes with an internal removable 250GB hard drive.

It also boasts the fastest Wi-Fi built in on any console providing an even easier connection to your Xbox LIVE favorites, including the new offerings that we announced today. With that in mind, I’d like to share a few more announcements and details about what’s in store for Xbox LIVE, including downloadable hits delivered in the third annual Summer of Arcade program, enhanced Netflix features, and much more.

• The New Dashboard and Kinect for Xbox 360. Here at E3 we’ve shown how Kinect for Xbox 360 will transform the way we experience entertainment. We’ve updated the dashboard with a new look and feel that makes it more inviting and open. We’ve also added the Kinect Hub, a portal to all the controller-free games and entertainment available on your Xbox 360, which you can access with the wave of your hand or the sound of your voice. Our vision for using your voice is “if you can see it, you can say it.” When you say “Xbox,” your console will reveal the commands you can say to navigate and interact with your entertainment. Kinect can also track 48 different points on each player’s body simultaneously. In only minutes it can learn your face and recognize you the next time you want to sign in. It’s truly remarkable to witness technology disappear, and we’re only beginning to scratch the surface of what it can do. Kinect also makes your existing games better. If you want, you can use it for party and in-game voice chat for all of your games on LIVE.

• Summer of Arcade. Summer of Arcade is a program that has delivered some of the most beloved Xbox LIVE Arcade games of all time, including “Braid” (Microsoft), “Castle Crashers” (Microsoft), “Shadow Complex” (Microsoft), and “Trials HD” (Microsoft). This year, enjoy another stellar line-up: “Castlevania Harmony of Despair” (Konami Digital Entertainment), “Hydro Thunder Hurricane” (Microsoft), “Lara Croft and the Guardian of the Light” (Square Enix), “Limbo” (Microsoft) and “Monday Night Combat” (Microsoft). The third annual Summer of Arcade will kick-off in July, and will continue to bring you the best downloadable titles in the industry. This comes hot off the heels of Xbox LIVE Arcade Block Party, which resulted in a record breaking March – the highest number of downloads for the month of March to date in Arcade history.

• Netflix Search. We’re proud of our continued innovation with Netflix. We were the first gaming console to bring instantly streaming movies from Netflix right to the living room. The first to let you update your Netflix instant Queue without a computer. And Xbox LIVE remains the only place you can share the fun with up to seven friends in a Movie Party. Starting this November, Xbox 360 will offer Netflix search. Just type what you’re looking for, immediately search from thousands of titles you can watch instantly, and update your Queue, all right over Xbox LIVE. We’re making your entertainment easier to discover.

• The Xbox LIVE and ESPN Community. Our breakthrough collaboration with ESPN is going to fundamentally change the way people think about sports at home. But beyond bringing the competition into your living room, Xbox LIVE is bringing unique new ways to share the sports you love with your friends and the entire community. With ESPN on Xbox LIVE you can become part of the action by declaring your allegiance to your team and seeing how many other Xbox LIVE members are on the same side. Join other fans with group trivia, polls and predictions that pit you against friendly rivals. You’ll be able to see what the Xbox LIVE community is watching, and which are the most popular games and events at that moment in time. It’s sports made more social, exciting and accessible, only on Xbox LIVE.

• More Music with Zune. Today, we took the next leap forward by bringing Zune music to Xbox LIVE. Zune will deliver seven million tracks to the Xbox LIVE community and an intuitive music experience unlike any other with Kinect. Zune music on Xbox also integrates seamlessly with the 16,000 music videos available through Zune on Xbox LIVE, so if you own a video it will automatically play on-screen during the corresponding song. We’re proud that we have new partners, more gaming and entertainment content than ever before, and new ways to access and discover that content. As we head into a new decade, my hope is to continue breaking barriers and crossing boundaries on Xbox LIVE by delivering the entertainment you want, shared with the people you care about, wherever you are. While I’m incredibly proud of my team and what we’ve shared with you today, the best is yet to come. Keep playing, keep sharing, keep pushing us. See you on LIVE, Marc Whitten Gamertag – Notwen www.twitter.com/notwen