Xbox 360 launch lineup finalized "in the next few weeks"

Microsoft ID's eight of final 15 to 20 day-and-date launch games, says rest are in the "final stages of certification."

In the run-up to today's X05 event in Amsterdam, the industry consensus was that Microsoft would use the event to announce the Xbox 360 launch lineup for North America, Europe, or both.

In fact, neither happened.

Speaking to the assembled press, Peter Moore, corporate vice president of worldwide Xbox marketing and publishing, boasted that there were 200 Xbox 360 games in development, including "many launch titles." Chief Xbox officer Robbie Bach promised the console would have the "best games and launch lineup" of any console yet--but didn't divulge all the games that will go on sale alongside the 360 November 22 in the US.

Adding to the confusion was a press release Microsoft issued titled "Xbox 360 launch line-up announced." It listed only three first-party games--Project Gotham Racing 3, Perfect Dark Zero, and Kameo: Elements of Power--under the heading "Titles that will form part of the impressive Christmas holiday portfolio." The second category of games was called "Other great games announced or shown at X05," and it included Gears of War, FIFA 06: Road to FIFA World Cup, Full Auto, Saint's Row, and Condemned: Criminal Origins, as well as the just-announced Too Human, Mass Effect, and Crackdown.

The release then listed a third category, "Franchise titles that will make their debut on Xbox 360," which included Superman Returns: The Videogame, Call of Duty 2, Castle Wolfenstein, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, MotoGP 2006: Ultimate Racing Technology, Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell 4, and Quake 4. Given that at least half the games listed have 2006 release dates--and some were just announced--it would be impossible for the release to contain the Xbox 360 launch lineup as the title indicates.

In an effort to clear up the confusion, GameSpot asked David Reid, director of platform marketing for the Xbox, what the exact 360 launch lineup is. He said that "there will be 15 to 20 Xbox 360 titles available on launch day" with around another half-dozen making it to market by the end of the year. For the moment, though, he would confirm only eight games as being available the same day and date as the Xbox 360: Project Gotham Racing 3, Kameo, Perfect Dark Zero, Madden NFL 06, NBA Live 06, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 06, Need for Speed Most Wanted, and FIFA 06: Road to FIFA World Cup.

As for the other seven to 12 Xbox 360 games that will be available on November 22, Reid said they would be announced "in the next few weeks." "They are currently in the final stages of certification," he told GameSpot, referring to the quality-assurance process all third-party games must go through from their respective console maker. So it is likely that if any of the submitted games--which Reid declined to mention--do not pass the process sometime in the next fortnight, they will not make it to market by the end of the year.

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