E3 ’08: Round 1: Microsoft

Microsoft’s Press Conference didn’t have a lot of new announcements for hardcore gamers who spend much time surfing around, but what news they did break really busted Sony in the chops.

First, Fallout 3 will have “exclusive downloadable content” for the XBox 360 and Games For Windows version of the game. PS3 owners will have to do without, same as they’re going to have to do without when the GTA IV DLC comes along.

But the huge news was that Final Fantasy XIII, long assumed to be a PS3 exclusive and a major system seller, will come out for the XBox 360 on the same day as the PS3 version in English-speaking areas (the Japanese version remains a PS3 exclusive).

There are lots of other announcements made of course. Fable 2 is finished. Netflix’s “Watch Now” is coming to XBox Live (for Gold Members). Incredibly cheesy looking avatars are being added because, presumably, of Mii-envy. Lots of “We really want to get some of that casual market that Nintendo is printing cash from” announcements.

Sony needs to pull off a miracle with its press conference tomorrow. As it stands now, as amazing as Little Big Planet looks, I don’t think it, Resistance 2, and Killzone 2 are enough to keep momentum going. And the XBox 720 is only a couple years away.