Microsoft will launch its X-box video games console on 8 November, three days after Nintendo said it will launch its new GameCube device in the US.
Despite the competition, Microsoft said it expected to sell from one to 1.5 million consoles through the winter holidays. The software giant plans to deliver 600,000 to 800,000 X-box units on the first day the device goes on sale.
A total of 27 game makers, including Acclaim Entertainment, Activision, Bandai, Electronic Arts, Fox Interactive, Konami Company, LucasArts Entertainment, Sega Entertainment and Ubisoft, are lining up behind Microsoft's new system.
Robbie Bach, Microsoft's chief X-box officer, said: "X-box is going to change video games the way MTV changed music. Your games are never going to be the same."
The company detailed its US launch plans at the Electronic Entertainment Expo industry trade show, but could not be reached for comment on its international plans.
Microsoft also announced an exclusive licensing agreement with Warner Brothers, and a signed alliance with Universal Interactive Services (UIS) to create X-box games. Microsoft and Warner will develop and publish a game based on Steven Spielberg's highly anticipated movie, A.I.
Microsoft and UIS will develop a game called 'Bruce Lee: Quest of the Dragon', which will be released exclusively for X-box.
In a recent report, Merrill Lynch analyst Henry Blodget said: "Microsoft has yet to provide financial targets for X-box, other than to say that gross margins will be negative. This means that the more units Microsoft sells, the more money the company will lose on X-box, at least in the short run."
Blodget also said that Microsoft's massive investment in the console is likely to make the gaming system a "key driver" of the company's stock during the next few months.
The company plans to back the X-box with a $500m marketing campaign over the first 18 months. The console is a new entrant into a market dominated by Sony's PlayStation 2 and Nintendo's N64.
Microsoft boasts that the X-box hardware will outperform both PlayStation 2 and GameCube.
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