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Up to 40 Xbox 360 games due this year
Microsoft sets huge line-up for new system, battles rival Sony for gamers' hearts and dollars.
May 17, 2005: 9:46 AM EDT
By Chris Morris, CNN/Money
The Xbox 360
The Xbox 360

LOS ANGELES (CNN/Money) When Microsoft launches the Xbox 360 later this year, it's going to have a lot of games to go with it.

The company announced Monday it planned to have 25 to 40 games for the system available in time for the holidays, by year-end. More than 160 games are currently in development for the system.

Also, after deflecting the question when it unveiled the system last week, Microsoft said it plans to make the Xbox 360 backwards compatible "with the top-selling Xbox games."

"Our goal is to make them all compatible," said David Hufford, Xbox Group product manager, "but for now we're only committing to the top-selling games."

Microsoft's announcement came the same day that Sony, its bigger rival in the video game business, unveiled details of its new PlayStation 3.

While Microsoft did not announce specific titles for the new Xbox, they would probably include games in the "Halo" series and the company's popular racing titles such as "Project Gotham Racing" and "Forza".

"We're not defining a number, nor a list at this point," said Hufford. "We're sort of saying 'stand by, stay tuned, and we'll tell you down the road what games will be backward compatible.' And it will be an evolving list as time goes by so we'll continue adding to it."

Microsoft (Research) also touted its developer support at a new conference preceding E3 the Electronic Entertainment Expo.

Electronic Arts (Research), the biggest independent video game publisher, said it will bring its largest launch commitment for any new system to the 360. Six titles, including all of its sports games, "Need for Speed" and "The Godfather" were mentioned at the press conference. More could be announced during the course of the week.

Also, Square Enix, makers of the popular "Final Fantasy" series, announced plans to partner with Microsoft, something it opted not to do with the current Xbox.

The first Square game for 360 will be an optimized version of "Final Fantasy XI". Featuring high-definition video, the multiplayer game will be playable via Xbox Live. (A PlayStation 2 and PC version of the game were previously released.)

Microsoft has heavily promoted its Xbox Live unit recently and has seen significant growth. By the end of June, the company expects subscribers to top 2 million.

That will be double the size of its online community from one year ago. A significant portion of those new subscriptions, at a cost of $60 a year, came with the release of "Halo 2," which offered online play.

Want more video game news and commentary? Read Game Over.  Top of page


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