Bill Gates’ final CES keynote fails to deliver

Recent rumours concerning Bill Gates’ final CES keynote speech suggested that some extremely big technology bombs were to be dropped by the outgoing Microsoft chairman when he took to the stage in Las Vegas on Sunday evening.

Well, the time came, Entertainment & Devices Division President Robbie Bach blew hot air, Bill wore a truly hideous violet sweater, and Microsoft generally beat its corporate chest based on past and/or current achievements in the gaming market. Apart from that, attendees hoping for significant Xbox news were left wondering what all the fuss was about as Bill’s eagerly anticipated CES swansong fell some way beyond flat.

Indeed, in an hour that some media sources have described as the worst Microsoft keynote ever, the attendees were subjected to a cringe-worthy ‘farewell Bill’ movie with the Microsoft chairman ‘acting’ and ‘rapping’ with a selection of celebrities such as Mathew McConaughey, Steven Spielberg, George Clooney, Barrack Obama, Jon Stewart, Bono and Jay-Z. Shudder.

In terms of what little Xbox-based information Microsoft revealed, it boasted about the 17.7 million Xbox 360s sold worldwide, the 10 million Xbox Live members, and claimed that 2008 will be the biggest year in videogame history – only on the Xbox 360, of course. Microsoft also revealed that media giants ABC, Disney, and MGM will be bringing their TV and movie content to the Xbox Live Marketplace before the close of January.

Beyond talking up Microsoft’s Silverlight, Zune, Surface, Windows Live, Mediaroom and IPTV, Bill and Bach ended the speech with a $20 face-off on Guitar Hero 3 – which never actually happened.

The challenge was thrown down by Bach (and his equally dire turquoise sweater), before being accepted by Bill. Both strapped on their guitars, and then Bach introduced Guitar Hero world champion Kelly Law-Yonne who ‘wowed the crowd’ with Welcome to the Jungle on Expert. By way of usurping Bach, Bill then introduced guitar legend Slash, who ‘wowed the crowd’ with a real expert rendition of Welcome to the Jungle. Meanwhile, attendees begin contemplating suicide.

Ultimately, Bach and Bill never went head-to-head, goodbyes were said, and the stage promptly emptied.

The supposed arrival of the Xbox 360 ‘Ultimate’ certainly did not happen, which just goes to show that not all videogame rumours come to fruition.

No big announcements, no blockbuster unveilings, no technological swipes at the competition. Nothing. Nada. Nichts.

Want to watch the keynote for yourself? Click right HERE for the official Microsoft stream.

Note the date on this article may be incorrect due to importing it from our old system.

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