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Page last updated at 11:28 GMT, Tuesday, 15 July 2008 12:28 UK
Microsoft wants Nintendo action
By Iain Mackenzie
Newsbeat US reporter in Los Angeles


Iain Mackenzie reports from the E3 video games Expo in Los Angeles.

Microsoft is giving its Xbox 360 console an image makeover, hoping to appeal to the family market, currently dominated by the Wii.

At this week's E3 video games Expo in Los Angeles, Microsoft unveiled some of the games and services it hopes will appeal to casual and non-gamers.

They include online quizzes, social networking and movie downloads.

At the heart of its new 'warm and fuzzy' strategy are music games.

As well as new editions of Rockband and Guitar Hero, Xbox 360 will now have its own Karaoke game - Lips.

Remarkably similar to Sony's SingStar, it features wireless microphones with motion sensors, not unlike to those in the Wii remote.

"I don't think they innovated at all. I think they took a lot of cues from Nintendo
Chris Antista from the website Gamesradar
The well worn, but familiar Xbox dashboard will also get a new softer look, come autumn.

Nintendo Me-style avatars will allow users to interact online in a more sophisticated way than is currently available.

While Xbox 360 remains the dominant console in terms of overall sales, it is only top because it's been around for longer than the others.

Nintendo's Wii has seen the fastest growth and is only just behind the 360.

The Wii's success has been put down to Nintendo targeting new gaming markets, such as females and older users.

Critical reaction

These latest announcements suggest that it is a customer base Microsoft also wants to expand.

But some who attended the launch event felt there was a lack of original thinking going on.

Welsh singer Duffy tries out Lips at the E3 Games Expo
Chris Antista from the website Gamesradar was unimpressed.

She said: "I don't think they innovated at all. I think they took a lot of cues from Nintendo.

"As a regular gamer, I'm kind of bored with mes. I don't need a new dashboard. Just tell me about the games."

Traditional (another way of saying male) gamers did get something to look forward to at E3.

Previews of Gears Of War 2, Fallout 3 and Resident Evil 5 were also on show.

Each of these blockbuster titles features graphic violence, clearly unsuitable for minors.

Unlike Nintendo which tends to shy away from extreme blood and guts these days, the people at Microsoft clearly remember who pays their wages.

First Person Shooters will be the XBox 360's bread and butter for some time to come.

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