Geometry Wars, Uno Vista-bound

Microsoft's Robbie Bach talks up game lineup, reveals new casual titles for 360 and PC, lauds Halo 3 and GTA4.

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LAS VEGAS--This evening at the Consumer Electronics Show, Microsoft Entertainment division boss Robbie Bach reaffirmed the company's support for Windows as a gaming platform and gave the keynote address audience a glimpse at some of the casual and hardcore Windows and Xbox 360 games on the horizon.

Bach, who spoke during Bill Gates' keynote address Sunday night, also touted Windows-based PCs as one of the most popular gaming platforms.

His 20 minutes onstage highlighted Microsoft's commitment to both its hardware and software initiatives, as well as Bach's rising status within the Microsoft organization.

"The PC and Windows is the number one gaming platform in the world," Bach said. "Two hundred million people every month play games on Windows," he added, referring to both casual and hardcore games. To illustrate how Microsoft is preparing games for both markets, he then showed a brief video highlighting some current and upcoming games for Windows.

In terms of the casual lineup, the video showed a few seconds of gameplay from a number of upcoming games, including the puzzle game Jewel Quest 2, the action puzzle game Luxor 2, the arcade game Bliss Island, and a Windows version of the Xbox Live Arcade game Geometry Wars. In addition, Microsoft showed off a version of Uno running on Windows that was compatible with the company's upcoming Live on Windows initiative, which aims to make a PC version of the popular Xbox Live online service. Indeed, those with the Windows version of Uno will be able to play against those with the Xbox 360 version of the popular card game, and Windows on Live features all the matchmaking and community functionality of Xbox Live.

For more serious gamers, the video gave a glimpse of some currently available Microsoft titles, such as Flight Simulator X, Age of Empires III: The WarChiefs, and Company of Heroes, GameSpot's 2006 PC Game of the Year.

The video also highlighted some upcoming games, such as Supreme Commander, Alan Wake, Shadowrun, Bioshock, Hellgate: London, World in Conflict, Halo 2, Age of Conan, and Crysis. The Crysis footage in particular amounted to only about five seconds of footage, but what it showed looked visually impressive, from a rockslide on a mountain road to a North Korean tank plowing into a flimsy hut.

That pretty much covered the Games for Windows portion of the keynote address, though Bach did discuss the future of the Xbox 360 in 2007. While he didn't show a video of upcoming Xbox 360 games, he did mention Dance Dance Revolution, Guitar Hero II, Mass Effect, and Grand Theft Auto 4 as games to look out for in 2007.

And, of course, he mentioned the most anticipated game for the Xbox 360, Halo 3, which is also due out this year. He gave the keynote address audience a little sampling of the game, but no new footage was shown. Instead, Microsoft showed off the 60-second commercial that aired during Monday Night Football late last year.

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