April 1 - The rumor has been confirmed by Bill Gates himself. Speaking briefly to GameSpot News this morning, Gates announced that Microsoft will be making a home console, slated to come out Christmas 1999. "We've done well in the PC software market with games like Age of Empires," Gates said, "Now it's time to take that success home."
With Sega's recent troubles, the home market is more open to a newcomer than ever before. And Microsoft certainly has the financial capability to research and develop what could well be the ultimate in home gaming.
What is less clear, however, is whether Microsoft will make the console that everyone's waiting for - one that ties in and works with PCs. Microsoft would be the logical choice to make such a console, but when asked about it, Gates responded coyly, "You'll just have to wait and see."
(Contrary to popular opinion, GameSpot News also learned that Gates must in fact have a terrific sense of humor - he thinks that the Throw a pie at Bill Gates e-mail game would make a great bonus to be bundled in with the first game released on the console.)
Nintendo, when reached for comment, declared that it would welcome the challenge from Microsoft, and Sony had no comment at all. Sega had laid off all its PR people by press time and could not comment.
Gates said he hasn't decided on a name for the new system yet. Send your vote for what you think the new system should be called to firstname.lastname@example.org.