After 25 years, I’d say it was time for an refresh. Above is the new one that you’ll start seeing pop up over the next few months. Back story and more on the Microsoft Blog.
Today we’re announcing that Phil Harrison is joining Microsoft to help grow our efforts in Europe. Full text of the press release is below, but please join me in welcoming Phil to the Xbox family.
REDMOND, Wash. — March 13, 2012 — Microsoft Corp. today announced that Phil Harrison, video games luminary and former Sony executive, has joined the Interactive Entertainment Business (IEB) leadership team as corporate vice president with an emphasis on growing the division’s European business.
As the senior IEB leader in Europe, Phil will not only lead the Microsoft Studios European organization directly, but will also influence the broader performance of IEB’s European business through strategic partnerships and by bringing culturally relevant entertainment experiences to Microsoft platforms, now and in the future.
In addition to the wealth of experience Harrison has in the console gaming space, he has immersed himself in new business models and technologies, particularly in the mobile and social space and will bring that market perspective to bear in the new role. He will also tap his deep experience in studio leadership to grow Xbox’s development efforts in Europe, including overseeing UK-based developers Lionhead Studios, Soho Productions and Rare Ltd.
"I am excited to be joining the senior team at Microsoft at a pivotal time for our industry,” said Harrison. “I am really impressed with the company’s long-term vision for growing the market for interactive entertainment globally and also with the incredible wealth of talent, technology and resources the company has available to succeed."
“We are honored to have Phil join a team that boasts a wealth of talent from across the industry,” said Phil Spencer, corporate vice president at Microsoft Studios. “Phil is one of video gaming’s true visionaries, and his experience overseeing global studios and deep industry relationships make him the ideal person to lead our European efforts. Under his leadership, we look forward to continuing cultivating the best talent and growing our business in the region.”
“Phil has played an instrumental role in shaping modern console history through his keen insights into both hardware and software strategy,” said Don Mattrick, president, Interactive Entertainment Business. “His addition to our leadership team will impact our global business in innumerable ways, as he aligns our studio development and growing portfolio of entertainment experiences in Europe to drive our continued growth worldwide.”
Harrison brings 25 years of games industry and development experience to his new role as the senior leader for IEB Europe. He was a long-time leader at Sony Computer Entertainment, where he held various senior executive positions within the company, most recently as president of Worldwide Studios. After leaving Sony, Harrison joined the board of Infogrames, as president of Atari, where he led the company’s transition into online gaming. Most recently, Harrison is co-founder and General Partner of London Venture Partners, LLP the venture capital firm focused on the web, mobile, social and cloud game sector, where he will continue as Special Advisor.
Today we announced that Microsoft Flight is coming to Windows this Spring. It will be a free download plus you’ll also be able to get achievements.
Start Exploring For Free
After downloading “Microsoft Flight” for free, players can jump into hours of exciting gameplay on the Big Island of Hawaii.
In addition, players who sign in to their Games for Windows – LIVE account automatically receive additional free content, including the legendary Boeing Stearman plane, supplementary missions, and access to Achievements and an Online Pilot Profile. Those looking to deepen their experience can purchase and download additional content that adds new aircraft, regions and customization options. The frequently released new content for “Microsoft Flight” includes daily aerocache challenges and updates that make every flight unique and fun.
Be the First to Fly the Definitive Light Sport Aircraft ICON A5
Microsoft Studios worked with the personal airplane manufacturing team at ICON Aircraft to give aviation fans the exclusive opportunity to fly the all-new ICON A5 before real-world production starts at the end of 2012. Designed by the world-class aeronautical engineers behind the Voyager spaceship, X-Prize winning SpaceShipOne, and Virgin Galatic’s SpaceShipTwo, the ICON A5 is the “jet ski for the skies,” a high-wing amphibious monoplane with a carbon fiber airframe and a comfortable, automobile-inspired cockpit with space for two. The ICON A5 will be the first aircraft available to players for free in “Microsoft Flight.”
“ICON Aircraft and ‘Microsoft Flight’ both share the goal of making the fun of flying accessible to everyone who’s ever dreamed about it. ICON does this by fusing world-class product design with the very best engineering, and Microsoft by combining the excitement of a great gaming experience with the authenticity of a top notch flight simulator,” said ICON Aircraft CEO Kirk Hawkins.
Be the First to Experience “Microsoft Flight”
Today the team behind “Microsoft Flight” released an exclusive video that features all-new footage of “Microsoft Flight.” To view it, visit: http://www.microsoft.com/games/flight/. Additionally, the launch sequence has begun! Be among the first to try “Microsoft Flight” by signing up for the closed beta. The voyage continues at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas from January 10 – 13. Those that attend will have the chance to play “Microsoft Flight” before it releases this spring at the Microsoft booth, located in the Central Hall.
Update: I clarified that this is coming to PC since there was some confusion in the comments
Read this PDF File (171 K) and you could be in.
Date: Saturday, December 10th
Where: Los Angeles, California
Call time: 1:30pm-3pm (estimated)
Min Age: 18 yrs old
Dress Code: Hip and Trendy (Stylish)
Total Allowed: You and 1 guest (2 total)
If you end up attending, let me know!
Today we announce that Twisted Pixel is joining the Microsoft Studios Family. Read the full press release below while I go and check the policy on shipping BBQ through interoffice mail:
Microsoft Studios Acquires Indie Game Developer Twisted Pixel
Acclaimed studio behind Xbox LIVE Arcade’s “Splosion Man” and Kinect for Xbox 360’s “The Gunstringer” to incubate new game and entertainment experiences for Microsoft Studios.
As a step in continuing to deliver Microsoft Studios’ innovative game and entertainment offerings, Microsoft has announced the acquisition of Austin, Texas-based game developer Twisted Pixel, the creative minds behind Xbox LIVE Arcade titles such as “Splosion Man” and the recent Kinect for Xbox 360 title, “The Gunstringer.”
From its beginnings in 2006 as independent studio developing award-winning Xbox LIVE Arcade titles, Twisted Pixel will now bring its talented team of developers to Microsoft Studios to help incubate and develop the future of game and entertainment offerings on Microsoft’s Xbox 360 platform.
“Twisted Pixel has an incredible track record of innovative, critically acclaimed, and most importantly, fun, games,” said Phil Spencer, corporate vice president, Microsoft Studios. “Microsoft Studios is home to cutting-edge entertainment experiences, and the incredible creativity of the Twisted Pixel team will help drive further innovation around Kinect and Xbox LIVE.”
“It is really exciting for us to solidify our long-standing relationship with Microsoft Studios, who we consider to be the leader in digital distribution and creating new innovations in gaming like Xbox LIVE and Kinect,” said Michael Wilford, co-founder and chief executive officer of Twisted Pixel. “As part of the family of Microsoft Studios we look forward to bringing even bigger and richer experiences to Xbox and Twisted Pixel fans around the world.”
With today’s announcement, Twisted Pixel becomes the latest member of Microsoft Studios, joining such prestigious and globally-recognized game creators as Lionhead Studios and Rare Ltd., on a team whose charter is to create exclusive experiences that differentiate Microsoft’s platforms.
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Today we announced that by extending the capabilities of the Xbox platform with Kinect and Xbox LIVE, Microsoft has “changed the tail” of the typical console lifecycle, showing dramatic gains in the fifth and sixth years of this generation. (see chart above)
In addition, we’ve released the following data points:
- Microsoft has now sold 55 million Xbox 360 consoles across 38 countries and sales are accelerating.
- Xbox 360 maintains its lead in the U.S. as the top selling console in 2011, and ten of the past eleven months.
- In the first four months of 2011, Xbox 360 has seen a 29 percent year over year increase in sales, which is more than triple the growth of PlayStation 3 and the largest growth of any console on the market.
- There are now nearly 35 million active Xbox LIVE members worldwide spending an average of almost 60 hours a month on the service.
- Cumulatively Xbox LIVE members are now logging 2.1 billion entertainment hours a month.
Next week, we’ll be on stage in Los Angeles for our annual E3 Media Briefing, so be sure to tune in for more announcements.
Later today, I’ll be interviewing Erik Wolpaw & Chet Faliszek (who have worked on many of Valve’s titles) for my show this Sunday, If you have any questions about the Portal series, or maybe their earlier project, feel free to post them in the comments.
Xbox 360 was the number one console in the U.S. in March 2011, based on console and software sales, as well as ongoing demand for Kinect, the fastest selling consumer electronics device in 60 days.
March NPD highlights include*:
-Xbox 360 sold 433,000 units in March, maintaining the number one console spot in the U.S.
-Xbox 360 console sales were up 28 percent year over year, the largest growth of any current generation console on the market.
-Total retail spend on Xbox 360 platform (hardware, software and accessories) reached $457 million, still the highest among current generation consoles.
-During the month of March, four of the top ten console game titles were for Xbox 360 including: Homefront, Dragon Age II, Crysis 2,and Call of Duty: Black Ops.
We expect this momentum to continue throughout 2011. In the coming months, Xbox 360 owners can look forward to the arrival of Kinect-enabled Hulu Plus, as well as a diverse catalog of new games.
*Source: NPD Group, March 2011
It’s official. Duke is delayed. Now coming June 10th (or the 14th in the US)
Randy Pitchford made the announcement today via a pretty funny video.
See you in June Duke!
The November NPD’s are out for North America, and I’ve got some Xbox related news to share with you:
- November marks the sixth consecutive month Xbox 360 leads video game consoles in sales, with 1.37 million units sold. (Source: NPD Group, November 2010)
- Xbox 360 is the only console to show double digit year-to-date growth at 42%, making it the fastest-growing console in 2010. (Source: NPD Group, November 2010)
- 50% of spending at retail this November (for current generation consoles) was on the Xbox 360 platform. (Source: NPD Group, November 2010)
- During the month of November, four of the top ten console game titles were for Xbox 360 including: Call of Duty: Black Ops, Fable III, Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood, and Halo: Reach. (Source: NPD Group, November 2010)
- Call of Duty: Black Ops for Xbox 360 was the number one selling console game in November. (Source: NPD Group, November 2010)
January 2009 saw the most members join LIVE than in any previous month since the service launched in November 2002. Currently more than 17–million people are now connected over LIVE. In addition, the January NPD numbers also reveal that Xbox 360 sales were up 33 % from last year. Some other PR factoids for you to digest:
- More than 1 million Xbox LIVE members now enjoying Netflix’s streaming video service
- Each household has watched an average of 16 movies over the service
- Xbox 360 is the only place to get the complete storylines for hit games like Grand Theft Auto IV and Fallout 3
- Fable II Knothole Island and Fallout 3 Operation: Anchorage were two of the top performers for game add-ons in the month of January
Edit: Here is a link to the official press release
If you are in the Seattle area and looking for something to do this Saturday night, how about heading down to Video Games Live? The show, where video game music is performed with a live orchestra and choir, is in town this Saturday, January 24th. And as a bonus, they’re going to premiere music from Halo 3: ODST, and Gabe and Tycho will be there as well. Many area industry members will be there, so it may be a good chance to rub elbows with the people whose work you have enjoyed over the years.
Not in Seattle but still want to see the show? They’re on tour, so they may be coming to your area later this year.
See you Saturday night.