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Video Game Console Wars... Xbox Takes Aim

Techstination feature for Tuesday, May 22, 2001

Microsoft takes aim at Sony. I'm Fred Fishkin with Bloomberg Bootcamp. Sony is beefing up its Playstation2 line with add-ons like a hard drive and networking capability... .and an alliance with AOL. It is taking the threat from Microsoft seriously. And it should. The software giant is jumping into the video game console business on November 8th with the 300 dollar Xbox. Microsoft's chief Xbox officer Robbie Bach...

"Well I think there's two things about the box and the games that get produced on it. The first is the games are just going to be more immersive, more visual, more realistic. They're going to get people engaged, engrossed in the game the way they've never been before. That's the first thing. And then the second thing is Xbox is designed , and it's the only console designed out of the box to do online. And that to us is super exciting. Because online gaming really is going to change the way people think about gaming and it's going to bring some super new opportunities to the market."

The Xbox is designed to plug into a high speed Internet connection... either cable or DSL. About Microsoft's marketing plan...

"We're certainly going to be aggressive about promoting Xbox. We plan to spend about 500 million dollars in the first 18 months of the product. Certainly a good portion of that will be advertising but it will also be in promotional work we do."

With a half a billion dollar advertising and promotion budget... Microsoft is playing this game to win. Bootcamp, I'm Fred Fishkin, Bloomberg Radio.