TGS '07: Microsoft booth offers a breather

Light crowds gather to check out games like Halo 3, Devil May Cry 4, but little else at Xbox 360-centric corner of the Tokyo Game Show.

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TOKYO--Microsoft may be third in the Japanese console market, but it hasn't stopped trying to boost its market share here, as evidenced by the booth here at the Tokyo Game Show. While some of the games are seemingly of minimal interest to Japanese gamers--the four kiosks for Medal of Honor: Airborne were fairly barren whenever we passed by--some of the unique games here were fairly popular, even if there were few lengthy lines in evidence.

Last year's booth had some playable demos worth waiting for, especially in the trio of high-profile role-playing games, with Lucky Bell (retitled Eternal Sonata for the US market), Lost Odyssey, and Blue Dragon all being available for consumers to try out. Two of those games have now released, however, and Lost Odyssey was nowhere to be found in the booth, meaning that the Microsoft booth mostly featured a number of games developed in the US. There was a number of Halo 3 stations set up for four-on-four multiplayer sessions, which people seemed interested in, but other stations for games like Mobile Suit Gundam: Operation Troy were sparsely populated.

Microsoft was also one of the only places at the show that you could find PCs set up to play Games for Windows games, although titles like World in Conflict and Age of Empires III: The Asian Dynasties were only played by American and European gamers whenever we passed by.

The games that were being shown behind closed doors included a demo for Assassin's Creed and a private room where a trailer for Ninja Gaiden II was being played. The other major games here were the newest Winning Eleven title, as well as Devil May Cry 4, which was a bit easier to get to here than it was at the Capcom booth.

As far as the stage show goes, Microsoft's show revolved around bringing audience participants up on stage to try out its multiplayer-enabled games. If you've never seen a grandmother and a 5-year-old trying to play Ace Combat against each other, we can assure you that it's high comedy. Other games being showcased in between some high-volume host segments included Halo 3 and Beautiful Katamari.

All in all, Microsoft's booth suffered a bit from not having any huge exclusive titles that were of primary interest to Japanese gamers. The booth itself was about half the size of Sony's, and the crowds were commensurately smaller. Here's hoping that the company has some RPGs in development for next year, because we get the sense that nothing else will draw in the crowds at TGS, unless Microsoft suddenly starts publishing games for the DS.

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