Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates revealed that the next Xbox will ship "this year" and that his company expects the device to dominate the video game market for years to come. The original Xbox secured a "solid" number-two position in the market behind Sony's PlayStation 2. The Xbox 2, Gates says, will be a different story.
Appearing at a meeting of the Society of American Business Editors and Writers (SABEW), Gates talked up the Xbox 2, which is code-named Xenon. He noted that the Xbox 2 will be a more credible digital hub that offers features that more closely integrate with the digital media content on home PCs and uses a Media Center-like interface. He also suggested that the Xbox 2 will offer advanced home-networking capabilities and push High Definition (HD) video formats to the mainstream.
"What we've got in this \[coming generation of video game consoles\], at some significant financial cost, is the right to play again with great credibility," Gates said. "So now people are looking at \[Microsoft and Sony\] at a pretty much equal basis."
Asked about Microsoft's chances in the market with the Xbox 2, Gates responded that several key employees responsible for the Xbox 2 have assured company executives that the new system will seize the top spot in the video game market. He added that such a change would be most welcome.
Microsoft will begin its launch of the next Xbox on May 12 during an MTV special featuring "Lord of the Rings" star Elijah Wood. The company will then release more technical details about the new system at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) 2005 trade show later this month. If Gates's comments are to be believed, Microsoft will ship the Xbox 2 in late 2005.