Microsoft Unveils Plans for Xbox

SAN JOSE, Calif., March 10, 2000 — Bill Gates announced today at the annual Game Developers Conference that Microsoft Corp. is entering the video game world with the introduction of a future-generation dedicated video game console, currently code-named Xbox, designed to deliver intense, action-packed games. Building on the company’s software expertise and advances in PC technology – such as 3-D graphics and Internet connectivity – Microsoft is developing a high-performance, easy-to-use platform that will enable developers to create better games, faster.

“Building on our strengths as a software company, Xbox will offer game developers a powerful platform and game enthusiasts an incredible experience,”
said Bill Gates, chairman and chief software architect at Microsoft.
“We want Xbox to be the platform of choice for the best and most creative game developers in the world.”

Unlocking New Gameplay Experiences

Familiar tools such as the Microsoft® DirectX® API will inspire movie-quality rendering, enhanced Internet gaming, and superior audio in future-generation games. Xbox will catapult gameplay quality to new heights by delivering the following:

  • Realistic gameplay will be delivered by the high performance of Intel Pentium III processor technology with Streaming SIMD Extensions.

  • More than three times the graphics performance of the newest-generation game consoles will be offered. Co-developed with experts at NVIDIA, the custom-designed graphics chip will deliver more than 200 million polygons per second.

  • Rich, fast-action and realistic experiences will be enabled by the Xbox hard drive.

  • Broadband Internet connectivity will extend the game experience.

Combining the power of PC technology with the accessibility of its cutting-edge DirectX development tools, Microsoft is providing game developers with a maximum-performance creative medium to deliver better games.

“The PC has always been the design center for high-end entertainment because of the unlimited graphics power and the great tools that make programming easier,”
said Robbie Bach, vice president of the Games Division at Microsoft.
“Our developer partners are excited to apply Hollywood design techniques to creating superior Xbox games.”

Developer Enthusiasm

Microsoft is allocating significant resources in technology, developer support and marketing to make Xbox and its developer partners successful. Xbox is slated to launch in fall 2001, and numerous developers and publishers have already expressed their enthusiasm for it, including industry leaders Electronic Arts Inc., Konami Co. Ltd., Acclaim Entertainment Inc. and Eidos Interactive.

“We view Microsoft’s entry into the console business as an important and positive event for our industry. Electronic Arts is intrigued by the opportunity to develop exciting new games for Xbox,”
said Larry Probst, chairman and CEO of Electronic Arts.

“We welcome the development of the new Xbox platform because we expect it will help the home game console industry expand,”
said Kagemasa Kozuki, chief executive officer of Konami Co. Ltd.
“We plan to organize an Xbox development team and release new titles for the platform before anyone else. We hope that Xbox will be a successful platform and will help the game console industry grow further.”

New Games Division

To advance future-generation PC and Xbox games, Microsoft has formed a new dedicated games division comprising world-renowned software engineers and designers in the industry. Robbie Bach, vice president of the Home and Retail Division, will oversee the Games Division.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software – any time, any place and on any device.

The information contained in this document relates to a prerelease product that may be substantially modified before its first commercial release. Accordingly, the information may not accurately describe or reflect the product when first commercially released. This document is provided for informational purposes only, and Microsoft makes no warranties, express or implied, with respect to this document or the information contained in it.

Microsoft and DirectX are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft and the keynote, please visit the Microsoft Web page at on Microsoft’s corporate information pages.

Addendum: Xbox Specification and Key Performance Measures

Xbox Specification

  • DirectX API

  • Intel Pentium III processor technology with Streaming SIMD Extensions.

  • Custom 3-D NVIDIA graphics processor

  • 64 MB of RAM (unified memory architecture)

  • Custom 3-D audio processor

  • 8GB hard drive

  • 4X DVD drive with movie playback

  • Four game controller ports

  • Expansion port

  • Proprietary A/V connector

  • 100 MBps Ethernet

Key Performance Measures

  • Micropolygons/particles per second: 300 million

  • Transformed and lit polygons per second: 150 million

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