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Microsoft’s chairman Bill Gates has revealed a number of concepts regarding the highly-anticipated Xbox 2 console in an interview. Unlike expected, Mr. Gates is unlikely to speak much on the next-generation gaming device from his company at CES, but decided to share some general things about the product a bit before the show.

Media Center PC and Xbox Become Totally Complementary

“We didn’t do Xbox just to do a video game; we did it to be part of our vision of the digital lifestyle, and with the next generation, we really get to go there. In the first generation, we had one simple goal, which was to establish credibility as a great video game platform. We've done that. Actually, the last few months in the United States, we outsold Sony with the PlayStation,” Microsoft’s Chairman Bill Gates told in an interview with CNET

For years Microsoft has been concentrating on getting from PCs into entertainment and consumer electronics devices. With the Xbox 2 the company says it will converge all the Microsoft-based computing platforms into one system, which represents the company’s digital lifestyle vision.

“As we go into this next generation, it’s much broader. Yes, great video gaming, but video gaming for a broader set of people, more communications, more media, more connectivity. And at the same time, we move up to things like high-definition graphics and wireless that the chip breakthroughs allow us to get to,” Mr. Gates said.

“So just for the games alone you’d go “wow”, but the concept now of bringing in your music, your media, connecting to the PC, connecting Xbox Live to Messenger – that just makes it a very big deal… So Media Center PC and Xbox become totally complementary. You’ve seen a bit of that, where we let you take music from PCs and put it into game titles, and we have this extender concept where the Media Center can project through the Xbox, but that’s just the start of what we can do there,” said the Chairman of Microsoft Corp.

The claim that Microsoft’s Xbox 2 and Media Center PCs become complimentary confirms earlier rumours that the console itself will lack certain capabilities that can be implemented onto the original Xbox console. Still, an Xbox 2 and a Media Center PC are likely to bring more sophisticated feature-set into the living rooms compared to the Xbox or an Media Center computer alone.

Bill Gates did not indicate, whether Microsoft plans to sell digital music or movies in a store like iTunes, or via a system like Xbox Live.

Microsoft Confirms Silicon Design

Microsoft is reportedly going to dramatically change its strategy of getting logic components for its Xbox 2 console that is to be released on the middle of the decade. Instead of getting chips from its partners, Microsoft inked technology agreements with ATI for graphics technologies, IBM for microprocessors as well as SiS for I/O and multimedia technologies and is likely to manage chip manufacturing itself.

“We have some key partners that we’ve announced. ATI and IBM are the key chip partners, and there are some others. But I’d say our sophistication is much higher in this second generation. So every level, what we’re doing in tools, what we’re doing in Live, the way we’re working with the publishers, the way that we’ve gotten involved in the hardware design – we are being very coy about when and all that, but I’m certainly excited when it comes time to show at how much smarter we are getting to do it a second time with the team that’s been built there,” Mr. Gates said.

Microsoft has not yet announced when the Xbox 2 hits the market.


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