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®
"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
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
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
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
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.