Gaming news from E3: Xbox LIVE to get avatars, Netflix and more

Gaming, Movies, Music, PlayStation 3, RPGs, Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Xbox 360

E3 Media and Business Summit (formerly known as Electronic Entertainment Expo)One of the biggest video game publicity events is happening this week at the E3 Media & Business Summit in Los Angeles. That means lots of gaming news, updates and a sick amount of eye candy.

Microsoft held their press conference today and capitalized on the recent news that the Xbox 360 will get a price drop ($299 for the 20-gigabyte hard drive). They boosted interest in the console by showing off some impressive new games and Xbox LIVE features to be released this fall.

HIGHLIGHTS FROM MICROSOFT’S PRESS CONFERENCE:

XBOX LIVE NEWS

>>Xbox LIVE will get a completely new interface this fall that will feature avatars that you can customize any way you want to create the perfect virtual you. You can see all your Xbox LIVE friend’s avatars too and join parties with them where you can chat, look at pictures, play “community games,” or make your own game show using a new LIVE feature called Primetime.

xbox live marketplace, New Xbox Experience, new features coming to Xbox LIVE
THE NEW XBOX LIVE INTERFACE WITH AVATARS. IMAGE FROM MICROSOFT.

>>The Xbox 360 will be able to stream Netflix movies over the Internet. Owners of Microsoft’s sweet little console can already download lots of movies from the Xbox LIVE Marketplace, but Netflix offers more than 10,000 movies and TV shows with more on the way. You will also be able to share a streaming movie with your online friends if they are in your Xbox LIVE party.

>>More movies from Universal Pictures and MGM, and more TV shows from NBC will be available on Xbox LIVE Marketplace starting today.

XBOX 360 GAME NEWS

>>Final Fantasy XIII will be released on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. A PlayStation exclusive until now, Final Fantasy has no specific release date in 2009. Developer Square Enix also discussed some other Xbox 360-exclusive RPGs soon to be released; Infinite Undiscovery on Sept. 2, The Last Remnant on Nov. 20 and Star Ocean: The Last Hope in spring 2009.

Final Fantasy XIII, Final Fantasy 13, Square Enix, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
FINAL FANTASY 13 ON THE XBOX 360 WAS A BIG SURPRISE. LOOK HOW SURPRISED THIS GUY IS. IMAGE FROM SQUARE ENIX.

>>Another game making it’s Xbox debut is Resident Evil 5. A demo of the game and its new co-operative online mode was shown for the first time. The game is set to release on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on March 13, 2009.

>>A live demo of the post-apocalyptic RPG shooter Fallout 3 showed off its amazing graphics and effective weapons. Developer Bethesda Softworks announced they would have lots of downloadable content that is exclusive to the Xbox 360 and Games For Windows. The game is due in October.

>>A video and demo of Fable II was also shown during the press conference. The demo featured a cool, pet dog that you interact with throughout the game and the new co-op mode that allows players to drop in and out of other player’s games at will. Fable II is an exclusive Xbox 360 title to be released in October 2008.

>>The most highly anticipated game of the year, now that GTA4 and MGS4 are out, is Gears of War 2. A new trailer was shown that highlights the game’s new “meat shield” feature. Also shown was a  co-op campaign demo featuring the flamethrower, using shields for protection/movable cover and some new enemies. The game features five vs. five online play, including Horde Mode where a five-man-team mows down armies of Horde. Gears of War 2 will hit stores on Nov. 7 so be sure to take that day off from work.

Gears of War 2, GOW2, Epic Games, Microsoft Studios
MARCUS PHOENIX IS BACK AND SO IS HIS CHAINSAW. IMAGE FROM MICROSOFT.

>>A new karaoke game called Lips will be available this holiday season. Not only does it come with loads of songs to sing, it features wireless motion-sensitive microphones and the ability to sing from your own music collection of DRM-free songs. Plug your MP3 player into your Xbox and sing any song you want. I’m not sure how this works, but I really like the sound of it.

>>The exclusive release of Rock Band 2 on the Xbox 360 in September (way before its release on the other consoles) will feature over 100 new songs, the ability to transfer songs from Rock Band and much more downloadable content. Developer Harmonix plans to have over 500 songs available by the holiday season.

For more news and LOTS of videos check out the official E3 Website.