Gates: Next Xbox coming "this year"

Microsoft's chairman confirms that his company's next-generation console will arrive in 2005; sends mixed multimedia messages.


For the better part of a year, the game industry has been working under the assumption that Microsoft will release its next-generation Xbox at the end of 2005. Now, it appears that has been confirmed by none other than the chairman of Microsoft himself, Bill Gates.

According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Gates let the console's ship date slip while speaking to the convention of the Society of American Business Editors and Writers in Seattle. While discussing when the mainstream would begin adopting high-definition televisions, Gates posed the following rhetorical question: "What will the year of high-definition be? This year, because we're going to ship this next Xbox."

Though the wording of Gates' statement is clear, as of press time, Microsoft had not returned requests for further comment.

While speaking to the same conference, Gates also said the next Xbox, which he referred to only as "Xenon," would serve as a media hub. According to the Associated Press, he said its user interface would be akin to a pared-down version of that of Windows Media Center. "If you're used to that menu, when you use this Xenon you'll see a menu a lot like that that lets you get photos, TV, music, and all those different things," said Gates.

Gates' comments contradict somewhat those given in a one-on-one interview with tech site Engadget. There, he downplayed the "Xenon's" role, saying Windows Media Center PCs remain the cornerstone of Microsoft's home-entertainment strategy. "The high-end scenario for us is you've got Media Center PC, that's where your state is, but then you've got your Xenon out that are connecting up to that," he said. However, Gates did say that the console would "be able to do a lot of media things including storing music, playing music, connect up your player."

The next-generation Xbox, which will almost certainly be called the Xbox 360, will be formally unveiled next Thursday night on MTV.

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