Xbox hits back at Playstation with a host of new games and services

It seems Sony has been getting all the headlines of late in reference to its new slimmer, cheaper PS3, but Microsoft has not gone quiet and plans to have a big lead up to Christmas with new services, games and features surrounding its Xbox 360.

To show off its new range, Microsoft staff hosted members of the media up in the Ivy Penthouse in Sydney to give them some hands on play time with some upcoming games and services.

One of the key new services demonstrated was the Videos on Demand service, which allows Xbox 360 owners to stream movies online via Xbox Live. Andrew Jenkins, product manager, games and Xbox Live, discussed this further.

“We are able to deliver an experience to the user, a true on demand service. You don’t have to buffer, you don’t have to wait,” he said.

“The service uses multi-bit streaming technology and adjusts bandwidth accordingly to find the optimal screening for your movies.”

Jenkins further commented on how this on demand service is unlike anything its competitors can offer, due to the fact that you don’t have to wait for downloads and videos are available to stream instantly.

“Consumers do have the option to download, you can then keep the film for 14 days and once you start watching you have 24 hours to watch it,” he said.

“We will have a huge line up of movies on offer, and all of them will be available at the touch of a button.”

As well as this, Xbox Live will now also offer customers social networking sites Facebook and Twitter directly through the console.

“We are bringing the social media experience to the Xbox. What better way to experience Facebook and Twitter than on the best TV in the house,” he said.

Jeremy Hinton, senior product category manager, was also on hand to comment on the progress of the console in the market and how Xbox Live is impacting that.

“It’s because of Xbox Live that the console you see today is completely different to the one we launched three and a half years ago,” he said.

“It is also the reason we are seeing that Xbox 360 is the fastest growing console in Australia in 2009 and that combined with the $299 starting price means that it really is the best value for money as well.”

The new services were not the only things on show with a stellar line up of games on the horizon for the console.

A preview of games like Halo: ODST, DJ Hero, Guitar Hero 5, Forza Motorsport 3, Lips: Number One Hits and Lego Indiana Jones 2 where all available to play ahead of time before their release.

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