Bill Gates made his first appearance at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles last week, outlining a global online entertainment network that would link gamers on gaming consoles with those on computers, cellular phones, and handheld devices.
Microsoft already has an online network, Xbox Live, that brings together more than 3 million gamers in 24 countries through Xbox 360 consoles and an Internet connection. Gamers will be able to access the new network, Live Anywhere, through a variety of platforms, enabling them to interact with other players whenever and wherever they desire.
The announcement comes at a time when manufacturers of computers and cellular phones are ramping up their offerings to take advantage of the closing gap between mobile and desktop systems and gaming consoles. Alienware showcased its mALX notebook at the show, which will be powered by two nVidia GeForce Go 7900 GPUs and feature extreme high-definition (XHD) resolutions of 1680 by 1050 and higher (see the figure). Nokia, meanwhile, showcased its Nseries smartphones, which now feature a pre-installed application that lets consumers find, buy, and play some of their favorite games.
While Live Anywhere won’t debut until early next year, game manufacturers are already announcing cross-platform titles. According to an exhibitor survey, almost half of the 400 exhibitors at the show planned to launch one or more titles for the latest handheld platforms.