It's that time again! Microsoft has kicked off the annual conference in Las Vegas with the now traditional keynote speech from co-founder Bill Gates, in which he highlights the importance of the next "digital decade" and laments his impending retirement from active duties at Microsoft. It's well worth a look, if not for the technical content but simply to see how many friends in high places make cameo appearances. Check it out here.

Speaking of Microsoft, they've wasted no time by issuing a press release at the CES regarding the Games for Windows portfolio that shows a strong first-year result for their PC-platform initiative.

“Games for Windows truly thrived in 2007. We went from two titles in 2006 to a continually growing portfolio of over 60 titles here at CES 2008,” said Kevin Unangst, senior global director of Games for Windows in the Entertainment and Devices Division at Microsoft. “We delivered on our promise one year ago to reinvigorate the PC gaming space and bring the best portfolio of games to Windows. And this is just the beginning. With our partners, we will continue to drive the resurgence of Windows-based gaming.”

CES attendees will get to experience some of the great games of 2008, with six upcoming Games for Windows titles on the show floor: “Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures” (Funcom, Eidos Interactive), “Conflict: Denied Ops” (Eidos Interactive), “Frontlines: Fuel of War” (THQ), “Space Siege” (SEGA), “Turning Point: Fall of Liberty” (Codemasters) and “Jigsaw Too Photo Edition” (Carbonated Games), a game for Windows Live Messenger.

Microsoft announced the addition of nine new Games for Windows-branded titles joining the portfolio from renowned publishers Atari Inc., Capcom, Eidos Interactive, LucasArts, Microsoft Game Studios, SEGA and Stardock., bringing the growing Games for Windows portfolio to more than 60 titles. “Alone in the Dark” (Atari) and “Sins of a Solar Empire” (Stardock) join other branded games from top publishers around the world committed to delivering quality-tested Games for Windows titles, including 2K Games, Activision Inc., EA Partners, Midway Home Entertainment Inc. and Ubisoft. New Games for Windows-branded titles announced at CES include the following:

· “Alone in the Dark” (Atari)
· “Bionic Commando” (Capcom)
· “Conflict: Denied Ops” (Eidos Interactive)
· “Empire: Total War” (SEGA)
· “LEGO Indiana Jones” (LucasArts)
· “Microsoft Train Simulator 2” (Microsoft Game Studios)
· “Sins of a Solar Empire” (Stardock)
· “Space Siege” (SEGA)
· “Tomb Raider: Underworld” (Eidos Interactive)

Other highly anticipated Games for Windows-branded titles expected to release in 2008 include “Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures” (Funcom, Eidos Interactive), “Borderlands” (2K Games), “The Club” (SEGA), “Fallout® 3” (Bethesda Softworks®) and “Frontlines: Fuel of War” (THQ).

Nvidia Pioneers Hybrid Technology For The PC

Those boffins at Nvidia are at it again! At the CES today they announced the industry’s first hybrid technology for PC platforms - "Hybrid SLI" - that addresses two critical issues; increasing graphics performance and reducing power consumption. NVIDIA Hybrid SLI technology will be incorporated into a wide variety of graphics and motherboard desktop and notebook products that the Company is rolling out for both AMD and Intel desktop and notebook computing platforms throughout 2008.

"We believe Hybrid SLI technology is one of the most important innovations we’ve come up with to date,” said Jen-Hsun Huang, CEO of NVIDIA.

So what is it? Essentially, Hybrid SLI enables NVIDIA motherboard GPUs (mGPUs) to work cooperatively with discrete NVIDIA GPUs (dGPUs) when paired in the same PC platform. Hybrid SLI provides two new technologies - GeForce Boost and HybridPower - that allow the PC to deliver graphics performance for today’s applications and games when 3D graphics horsepower is required, or transition to a lower-powered operating state when not. For lower energy consumption and quieter PC operation, HybridPower allows the PC to switch processing from a single GPU or multiple GPUs in SLI configuration to the onboard motherboard GPU.

For more information on Hybrid SLI technologies, including GeForce Boost and HybridPower, please visit http://www.nvidia.com/object/hybrid_sli.html

cdv Software Entertainment AG courting partners at CES

German publisher of such PC titles as Blitzkrieg, War Front: Turning Point and the Sudden Strike series is looking to meet with interested business partners at the 2008 Consumer Entertainment Show.

Representatives from cdv's European offices will be on hand to discuss partnership opportunities for distributing console and PC games in Europe (with particular emphasis on Germany, Switzerland and Austria) as well as PC hardware and console peripherals/accessories. Representatives from cdv Software Entertainment USA will also be available to discuss game publishing and partnership opportunities for the North American market.

The company, which was founded in 1989 and is headquartered in Bruchsal, Germany, has been on a steady growth course since its 2007 consolidation and is aiming in the medium term for a strong market position as one of the globally leading full service providers in the games sector. More information is available at http://www.cdv.de.