Official X-Box site
Bill Gates' GDC Keynote speech
Expected Release Date: Fall 2001
Mr. Bill goes console
Unless you've been living in a cave these past few weeks, you've heard of Microsoft's X-Box. Speculation and rumor have run rampant on whose components Microsoft would use, what the specs would be, when the release would happen, and right on down to whether or not X-Box actually existed! The excitement has been so great, that they've affected stock prices of the companies involved. We know now that X-Box does indeed exist, and that Intel and NVIDIA will be providing the brains of the X-Box - a 600MHz Pentium III and an NV25 graphics chip. But, as always, answering last week's questions only leads to more unanswered questions. The first question is why?
Consoles entering the Internet
For a long time, Microsoft has been able to dominate consumer entry to the internet. Macintosh and Linux aside, your average consumer uses a Windows based PC to get online, shop, play games, and pay bills. Naturally, having this kind of OS market share has been infinitely important to Microsoft's influence. But now, new consoles like the Dreamcast and Playstation 2 are shipping with connectivity in mind. Microsoft all of a sudden has new and very real competitors when it comes to whose operating system is granting net access.
It's the money, stupid
Another obvious reason to go console is the size of the console gaming market compared to the PC gaming market. Right now, PC games only make up about 30-35% of the market - a number which has been decreasing lately. Think Microsoft has been asleep while Sony has been making a killing on console licensing fees? Think again - Microsoft's entry into the console arena makes perfect sense for a company looking to grab their share of the burgeoning interactive entertainment market. Sorry PC fanatics - the world does not revolve around us. Last year's top selling games were Pokemon related. This is not to say that X-Box is automatically doomed to playing such inane (yet strangely addicting) games as Pokemon. Judging from the X-Box's specs, gamers will be able to render characters vastly more detailed and complex than Pikachu.
Yes...the demo unit is shaped like an X