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BILL GATES OUTLINES STRATEGIC PLAN FOR XBOX IN JAPAN.

In his keynote address at 2001 Spring Tokyo Game Show, Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates revealed the company's plans to bring the Xbox 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."

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" (tentative title), the latest version of "Panzer Dragoon," "GUNVALKYRIE" and the latest version of "Sega GT." Sega will also explore opportunities to harness the Ethernet port and hard disk drive inside every Xbox console to create new online game experiences.

On the heels of Microsoft's announcement 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."

Microsoft 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.

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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Title Annotation:Company Business and Marketing
Comment:BILL GATES OUTLINES STRATEGIC PLAN FOR XBOX IN JAPAN.(Company Business and Marketing)
Publication:EDP Weekly's IT Monitor
Geographic Code:9JAPA
Date:Apr 2, 2001
Words:511
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