The titanic struggle that is the battle between the games companies is set to escalate in 2006 with new consoles, better titles and amazing new online features. Microsoft will be the first company to enter the fray and their new machine, the XBox 360 was recently put through its paces in at the X05 press event held in Amsterdam prior to the European launch. By Steve Polak

The console is now available in Europe and the throng of journalists and industry figures at X05 got to see and play over thirty games. We were lucky enough to be amongst attendees and having spent a lot of time with the 360 the console is looking like being a substantial step forward.

The machine will not only be clearly be the most powerful in the market, but it will also bring to the table new entertainment possibilities with a variety of new types entertainment modes and clever online features. The XBox 360 will eventually deliver online movies and music as well as games plus even more sophisticated XBox Live play.

The big guns from Microsoft were also at X05 and the press conference was presided over by the likes of J Allard and the ever ebullient Robbie Bach. A lot of new footage was shown during the press conference and some key announcements were made. Thankfully Microsoft seemed to have learnt from past mistakes and there wasn?t a repeat of the farcical sketch with Bill Gates queuing for a new console and looking like a hobo.

Instead the prowess of the 360 was praised by a number of developers who also showcased their demos. On thing is clear with a 3.2 Ghz processor and a very powerful new 10 megabyte graphics card from ATI the 360 will have a lot more power than the 733 Pentium based original XBox.