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GamesFirst! Magazine

Bill Gates Unveils Microsoft Plans for Japanese XboxT at Tokyo Game Show


TOKYO - March 30, 2001 - In his keynote address today at 2001 Spring Tokyo Game Show, Microsoft Corp. Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates revealed the company's plans to bring the XboxT video game system to Japan. During the keynote, Gates underscored Microsoft's commitment to the Japanese market and announced that more than 70 Japanese game companies, including Sega Corp., have declared their support for Microsoft® Xbox.

"With Xbox, our goal is to create the future of video gaming, and our work in Japan will play a key role in achieving that," Gates said. "We're extremely excited to be working with Japanese games artists on Xbox to pioneer new dimensions of creativity in video games."

Microsoft and Sega Team Up on Xbox

Gates revealed that Microsoft and Sega have struck a long-term, strategic alliance to bring future versions of great Sega® games to Xbox. Sega will premiere 11 of its future titles on Xbox, including "Jet Grind Radio Future(tm)" (tentative title), the latest version of "Panzer Dragoon(tm),"
"GUNVALKYRIE(tm)" and the latest version of "Sega GT(tm)." Sega will also explore opportunities to harness the Ethernet port and hard disk drive inside every Xbox console to create new online game experiences.

Xbox Games Without Frontiers

On the heels of Microsoft's announcement yesterday of a strategic alliance with NTT Communications Corp. to build a broadband online gaming service for Japan, Gates also outlined a vision for online video games, in which Xbox gamers can connect to a high-speed, high-bandwidth, always-on game network.

"Broadband online video gaming is on the verge of becoming as revolutionary as 3-D gaming was just a few years ago," Gates said. "The broadband connection in every Xbox is the key that unlocks new worlds of play, where friends and opponents are everywhere."

Gates discussed many scenarios for Xbox online gameplay in the future, including these:

  • Boundless gaming. Xbox video game players will have the potential to instantly connect with online gaming communities to compete in social environments. Another scenario Gates discussed was one in which Xbox video game players will be able to participate in episodic and dynamic games that extend their game experiences beyond what comes on the game DVD.
  • Simple, fast and predictable experiences. Online video gaming will be made easy on Xbox because of the broadband connection on the console. 

Microsoft Announces Xbox Japan Division

Microsoft today also announced details on its Xbox Japan Division in Tokyo. The division is responsible for managing third-party relationships with Japanese games companies, and for managing Xbox operations, marketing, research, sales and support in Japan. The division also houses the Xbox Games Production Group, dedicated to developing and publishing exclusive Xbox games under the Microsoft label. 

Toshiyuki Miyata, senior group manager of the Xbox Games Production Group, formerly managed the Development Department at Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (SCEI) in Tokyo, where he directed the creation of Sony's PlayStation
games. During the keynote, Miyata demonstrated his team's latest creation, currently code-named "Project K-X," an Xbox fighting game. 

New Xbox Game Controller for Japan Unveiled

In addition, Gates showed the custom Xbox game controller, which will come with every Xbox in Japan. Based on feedback from Japanese gamers, the controller is slightly smaller than the North American and European controller, and the buttons have been positioned to best accommodate the styles of gameplay popular in Japan.

The Japanese Xbox game controller is built for maximum control and comfort. It features an eight-way directional pad (D-pad), left and right analog sticks, left and right shoulder triggers, six pressure-sensitive multicolored analog buttons, dual slots for memory cards and other peripherals, and a built-in "rumble" feature to increase gaming realism. The controller also features a cord more than 9.5 feet long to give gamers the freedom to sit nearly anywhere they want during gameplay.


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