(I posted this over at My 1UP also.)
It's all about networking. :)
Yesterday, a friend of mine here at work IM'ed me - he was heading over to play some Halo 2 with a friend of his, a friend who happens to actually work on the Xbox itself. Did I want to go along? Well, duh! Hell yeah!
So I got to spend an hour and a half playing Halo 2 with a bunch of Xbox and Xbox Live guys. We actually played over Live, though since I don't have a memory card with my Live acct on it, I was under someone else. That time playing was on a nice large widescreen hi-def TV - which was in the guy's office! Seriously! There are a LOT of people there with them in their office, there are lounge areas with multiple widescreen TVs and beanbags, and all sorts of stuff. Heck, the lights in the wall sconces were Xbox green! There were also signs up all over the place talking about "Xenon", which was the code name for the 360. It was a VERY geeky environment - I loved it!
Even better, I got to see an Xbox 360 in someone's office. I think it was a pre-production case, as it looked to all be white plastic, none of the details. But I can say after seeing it in person that the size and shape is really nice, much much better than the current Xbox. I also got to hold an Xbox 360 controller. It's a bit smaller than the Controller S, and I found that I liked the size of the S better. The thumbsticks feel just as good, and I think the shoulder buttons are going to be much easier to use than those damn black/white buttons that are too hard to get to. They're also wider and have a better feel than the PS2 shoulder buttons.
I was hoping to have a chance to play the 5 upcoming Halo 2 maps, but no go - at least not this time. Perhaps next time.
Yes, there's likely to be a next time. And this next time, I hope to get advance warning. Because I really want to wear my clan shirt over there, and make sure to get a picture taken with the big Master Chief they have in the building lobby!
People there are definitely major gamers - wow, I just loved hanging over there!