Welcome To the Family: A Letter From Xbox 360's John SchappertS

Welcome to the Family is a series of three letters that will run this week from the heads of Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo.

We asked each of the companies to write up a welcome letter to new owners of their consoles. They did the rest. We are running them in the order they were received. Stay tuned for Sony and Nintendo welcome letters.

And now a word from John Schappert, Microsoft's corporate Vice President of Interactive Entertainment LIVE, Software and Services Business

Welcome to the Xbox 360 community!

I've been a gamer for over 20 years, logging countless hours playing thousands of games. But from the first moment I turned on my new Xbox 360, I knew we were entering a new era of home entertainment. I signed up for Xbox LIVE, and before I knew it I was connecting with friends, playing Geometry Wars in high definition, and trying to earn the Pacifism achievement (which still eludes me). I was amazed at how much fun I was having before I even put a disc in the tray. I hope your first experience in this new era of games and entertainment is as magical to you as it was to me!

The Xbox 360 is an amazing game machine. We have approximately 1,000 games, including blockbusters you can't play anywhere else, like Gears of War 2, Halo 3, and Fable 2. We also have great party and family games, like Rock Band 2, Guitar Hero World Tour, Scene It: Box Office Smash, Lips, and Banjo Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts. No matter what games you like to play – sports, music, racing, action, shooters, role playing games – you'll always find the best, most quality experiences on Xbox 360.

But Xbox 360 is more than a gaming machine. Xbox LIVE opens up a whole new world of digital entertainment that's always evolving and adding new content every day. It's also a vibrant social network, where you can stay connected with your friends and interact with over 17 million Xbox LIVE members in 26 countries. Xbox LIVE lets you get even more from your gaming experience – with thousands of downloadable game add-ons, song tracks, new levels, and many other ways to extend your favorite games. And with over 30,000 movies, TV episodes, and music videos, from more than 45 global network and studio partners, there's something for everyone on Xbox LIVE. You can join Xbox LIVE for free or become a Gold member to gain access to everything LIVE has to offer.

Here are some Xbox LIVE highlights:

Make Some Friends. Break out your favorite game and play online; you'll always be able to connect with new people and make new friends. You can even jump in to any number of regularly scheduled theme nights to meet even more LIVE members.
Get the Party Started. You can create an Xbox LIVE Party with up to seven of your friends, where you can stay connected and chat with each other, no matter what you're doing on Xbox 360. One friend can be watching a movie, another playing Uno, another playing Gears of War 2 – or you could all be playing together. You'll always stay together and be connected as a party.
Xbox LIVE Arcade. Xbox LIVE Arcade brings bite-sized games to the living room – from arcade classics like Pac-Man and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, to new award-winning, exclusive titles like Braid and Castle Crashers.
Video Marketplace. The Video Marketplace offers downloadable TV episodes and movie rentals in both standard and high-definition, all delivered digitally without having to leave your living room. Check out some of the latest offerings, such as hit TV shows like Heroes, Lost, South Park and Family Guy, and blockbuster movies like The Dark Knight, Wall-E and Forgetting Sarah Marshall.
Netflix (U.S.) With a Netflix membership you gain access to unlimited viewing of over 12,000 streaming movies and TV shows at DVD quality, with many in high definition. And, if you're not a Netflix member, click on the Netflix logo to sign up for your free trial!
Xbox LIVE Community Games. Community Games is dedicated to bringing user-created games to the market. Here you'll find innovative new experiences brought to life by amateur developers around the world – gamers who are now creators.
Inside Xbox Channel. This is your place for free original content delivered daily, including game previews, coverage of gaming industry events, and tips and tricks for new releases.

Xbox 360 delivers more entertainment than any other device connected to your television. This is just the beginning of what you'll find on Xbox 360 – home to more games and on-demand movies and TV shows than any other device connected to your TV. With new gaming and entertainment content delivered daily, you'll always be able to find fresh, new experiences at the touch of a button.

On behalf of the Xbox team, I want to thank you for joining the Xbox 360 and Xbox LIVE community!
See you online,

John