Bill Gates laid out Microsoft's vision for entering the $20 billion a year video games industry today with the introduction of a new game console codenamed X-Box.
Gates told attendees at the Game Developers Conference in Silicon Valley that the software giant was committed to spending billions of dollars over the next five years on the "golden age of gaming".
The supplier is vying with Nintendo's new 128-bit "Dolphin" game, which is due to be launched late this year and Sony's "PlayStation2" system, which recently went on sale in Japan.p>"The X-Box will be a huge milestone for Microsoft and the entire games industry. The X-Box is really a break-through product. We said to our team if we can come up with something that is over twice as good as what has been done and will really blow people away, then we want to be in this space and participate in this as part of our vision," Gates attested.
The X-Box was revolutionary, he claimed, because the inclusion of a disk enabled a different kind of game to be built. It also provided levels of realism and graphics performance that went way beyond what other vendors had done.
"You'll also have the ability to connect to the internet and that just hasn't been seen," he said.
The offering will be sold worldwide, he added, and Microsoft was very anxious to have software developers throughout the world contributing applications that can run on the device.
"Building on our strengths as a software company, X-Box will offer game developers a powerful platform and game enthusiasts an incredible experience," Gates continued.
He added that Microsoft was not concerned about being a "newcomer" to the games industry.
A future generation device, which is expected to ship in the second half of 2001, will deliver compelling graphics and push about 300 million polygons per second, he claimed, which is more than three times the graphics performance of competitor, Sony's PlayStation 2.
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