Microsoft Corp., under pressure to generate excitement among video-game enthusiasts for its coming Xbox One entertainment console, showed exclusive, hyper- realistic titles for the machine including "Sunset Overdrive" and "Ryse: Son of Rome."
The Xbox One will have 13 exclusive next-generation titles, Don Mattrick, president of Microsoft's interactive entertainment business, said today at the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo video-game industry conference that runs through June 13 in Los Angeles. The company also announced a new, slimmer version of the current Xbox 360, available today.
Microsoft is using E3 to blunt the perception that the console, which goes on sale for the holidays, de-emphasizes games in favor of movies, sports and functions like video- calling. The machine, unveiled on May 21, uses improved Kinect voice commands and motion sensing to recognize users and switch between games, TV and Skype calls.
"As we've been promising, it's all about the games," Mattrick said from the stage at E3.
The titles included "Forza Motorsport 5," which takes advantage of the Xbox One's social capabilities to create an avatar that learns the player's driving habits and stands in for them to keep playing while they're away, for example at work.
Developers are looking for the first new consoles in almost seven years to pull the video-game industry out of a two-year slump in retail sales. The Xbox One competes with Sony Corp.'s coming PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Co.'s Wii U, on sale since November.
"Our goal is to make sure that we really do take advantage of whatever special features the machines are going to bring," said Tony Key, vice president of sales and marketing at Ubisoft SA.
After some gamers criticized Microsoft for its lack of clarity on used games and how new ones will be played, the company said last week consumers may sell their games back to retailers or give them to friends, provided they have approval from the publisher. All games must be authenticated at least once every 24 hours to continue playing, the company said.
John Reseburg, a spokesman for Electronic Arts Inc., and Alan Lewis, a spokesman for Take-Two Interactive Software Inc., declined to comment on whether their companies would place limits on used games sales, trade-ins or swaps among friends. A spokeswoman for Activision Blizzard Inc., the largest publisher, didn't return a e-mail seeking comment.
"Hoping to see games, games and games, in that order," Michael Pachter, an analyst with Wedbush Morgan Securities, said in a Twitter post at the outset of the event. He said the next "Metal Gear Solid" shown had "pretty impressive graphics."