So feel free to check in, and comment as we blog -- and if you have a live feed, feel free to weigh in as well. The keynote begins at 6:30 PM PST.
Without further ado, the liveblogging will commence now.
5:35 PM PST: Larry Hryb, aka Major Nelson, has snapped a photo of the massive line waiting to get into the keynote speech.
Kind of a huge line for a keynote speech by a hardware manufacturer, isn't it? Meanwhile, Microsoft hasin a press release that Windows 8 will feature an architecture to support AMD, Intel and ARM chipsets, which will make game development a hell of a lot easier and a lot better for gamers -- they won't have to worry about what processors and graphic cards they own anymore.
6:25 PM PST: Five minutes til we start.
6:35 PM PST: There's a delay, as the live stream reassures the viewing public that the keynote will begin shortly. Par for the course, really.
6:40 PM: The keynote has begun! CES leader Gary Shapiro takes the stage and says, "Happy New Year!"
Shapiro is bragging about how CES is the premiere tech show in the world, and is always reinventing itself. Standard stuff to open the Consumer Electronics Show, but this time, he's stressing free trade and government policy.
He is now introducing Steve Ballmer. He's talking about Microsoft's accomplishments and goals, but he could best be saying Microsoft wants TO RULE THE WORLD! MUAHAHAHA!
6:50 PM: Ballmer is listing what Microsoft released: Windows 7 Phone, Windows 7, Office 2010, Kinect. He states Microsoft took big risks. He's going to show off some of the stuff Microsoft plans to show of this year (big surprise!)
Ballmer is talking about how great the Xbox is, introducing people to Halo and Gears of War, and the importance of Xbox Live, which was the main reason for the Xbox's success. And how they expanded Live to include Facebook, Netflix and so on.
And then they launched Kinect.
They're running a video of the Times Square Kinect launch. I was there. It was MADNESS. Now they're showing off the success of Halo: Reach.
Now Ron Ford is coming out to show how Xbox Live works with Kinect, with Zune first. He's using the voice recognition of Kinect, like "Suggest a movie". Now doing Netflix with Kinect.
Now announcing Hulu Plus, with Kinect support! And now he's talking about ESPN. That's great, people are enjoying it, but I can't thanks to Time Warner Cable - still waiting for Activate to work. (grumble)
Ford is wrapping up showing the College Showdown in which fans can compete in predicting bowl games, and polls that are run via ESPN Xbox 360.
Ballmer is back on, and he's talking about Avatar Kinect.
Kinect can READ your facial expressions, and mimick your actions perfectly. Avatar Kinect will be FREE for all Gold members, and not only can you virtually interact with your friends with the Avatar, but you can BROADCAST your "shows" on Facebook, and SAVE AND RECORD them as well for stuff like YouTube.
Ballmer is now going with the sales stats. 50 million Xbox 360s in its lifetime so far, and Kinect sold 8 million Kinect sensors worldwide (sales to consumers, mind you, not shipped numbers.)
Ballmer is now discussing Windows Phone 7, and its Xbox Live connectivity. Sounds like some hardcore games are coming to WP7.
Fable Coin Golf is coming to WP7 and will be connected to Fable III. Wow, a lot of impressive games like Assassin's Creed, Pac-Man, The Sims 3, Fruit Ninja and so on. I didn't see Angry Birds, though.
Achievements for Fruit Ninja? Where do I sign up?
Ballmer is talking about how enthusiastic Windows Phone 7 owners are about their device, and suggest it to friends. That's nice, but how many owners are there? Still, they're making the WP7 a must-have for Xbox 360 owners.
Liz Sloan on to show off more about the WP7. Liz is giving me Cammie Dunaway flashbacks.
One feature? Dedicated camera button that flashes a pic even if your WP7 is locked. You can instantly choose to upload the pic to Facebook.
The lock screen has a lot of info on it, as seen below.
The default screen has "live tiles" that automatically update themselves, rather than an app list like the iPhone. It also has live tiles for friend updates, too.
WP7 also has Bing built in.
Liz is now showing off the One Note feature, which is essentially a cloud that connects the WP7 to her Xbox 360 and PC. She's also showing off some of the apps that the WP7 has. A paltry amount, but since the WP7 uses the same basic software as a PC and Xbox 360, Microsoft is probably hoping people will develop apps for them.
Now Xbox Live, woo! She shows off some Fruit Ninja, and admits she sucks at it. Heh.
Ballmer's back. Time to discuss PC gaming. Microsoft is understandably proud of Vista 2.0 aka Windows 7 and Explorer 9.
Still waiting for Ballmer to discuss PC gaming. Michael Anguilo is now up.
He's talking about Intel's new Core 2.0 chip. It's more power efficient, and gets 20X more graphic performance than ever - which means a lot for laptops.
He's getting 40fps from a typical laptop with the Core 2.0. Wow. The Intel Core 2.0 doubled the battery life as well, from 4.5 hours to 9 hours.
He's getting 250 fish on a single screen with 9 hour battery life with a sub $500 laptop. Wow.
Now a DUAL TOUCH SCREEN LAPTOP. Jeez. He scrolls the screen over two screens, and BOTH screens are touch screens. The bottom screen can turn into a virtual keyboard.
Now he's showing off a laptop by Samsung that can fold into itself and resemble an iPad - and it doesn't require a fan.
Now a table top touch screen, and how they've ramped up the ability of the PC sensors for the touch screen table top. You can put it upright to be a kiosk, and since it can see whatever is touching it, you can press a flyer onto it and it'll recognize it.
Will there be any discussion of PC gaming? The laptops shown off are damn sweet, though. Laptop gaming is getting a major boost.
Ballmer is back on. PC gaming now? He's now taking about Windows SoC, which I mentioned all the way at the beginning, which will bring AMD, Intel and ARM together to make development easier.
Mike's back, and showing off some technical stuff, the "next Windows platform" that's emulating Win7 (for security). Nothing important to the gamer, really - this is technical stuff that'll excite manufacturers more than consumers, showing off Windows 7 emulation perfectly on ARM. If you're wondering what ARM is, check out the Wikipedia page Iron Man 2 trailer. The crowd is excited over this, but they're engineers out there.. He's showing off full HD video with no dropouts of the
Ballmer's wrapping up. There's no new PC gaming news, but Avatar Kinect is, in a word, awesome. Windows Phone 7 looks like it's heading in the right direction too. Some exciting stuff here, but one really wishes they'd chosen to show off some new PC gaming advancements that's more tangible than showing how the new laptop innovations will be better for PC gaming (in inference).
That's it - and CES officially opens. Hopefully, at GDC and/or E3, Microsoft will choose to show off their promised 2011 innovation in PC gaming.
To view the entire keynote, check out the video below. Use the slider to skip to the more important parts (denoted by an orange stripe.) You can also see how amazing Avatar Kinect is by checking out the video.