Despite an assumption by many that Bill Gates would use his keynote CES address to unveil the Xbox 2 for the first time, or at least discuss it in some detail, the Microsoft chairman did not touch on the sequel in his speech at the Las Vegas-based conference held this week, although he did make some comments on the success of the current Xbox.
Gates briefly commented on an alleged 40 percent hardware market share for the existing console for the months of November and December, and projected world-wide sales of 20 million by the end of July. There was also news that Bungie's Halo 2
has already sold through 6.3 million units, as well as a product demo for Microsoft's upcoming Gran Turismo 4
Xbox-exclusive rival, Forza Motorsport
, which unfortunately crashed with an out of memory error during its big moment, an online clash between Gates and Conan O'Brien, but nonetheless looked impressive.
Speaking in an interview with CNET News, though, Gates was more forthcoming on the subject: "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... as we go into this next generation, it's much broader.”
He also remarked on the continuing prospect of multi-function integration on the Xbox, commenting to CNET News: "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."
This concept is actually diametrically opposite to that which Microsoft promised when the Xbox first launched, when it was strenuously emphasized that the Xbox was purely a games machine, though there were probably few that ever actually believed this to be the case.