According to an unnamed company spokeswoman quoted by news agency Reuters, Microsoft has now confirmed that it will not be officially unveiling the next generation Xbox console hardware at Game Developers Conference this March. Instead, the company will apparently be waiting until later in the year, possibly showing the console officially at E3 in Los Angeles this May, although this is unconfirmed.
The original Xbox was premiered at GDC 2001, but after rumors of the new console’s first appearance at CES in January turned out to be false, expectations had been high that Microsoft would use GDC as a means of unveiling their console – generally thought to be aimed for an earlier launch than those from Sony and Nintendo – before E3.
It has, however, been confirmed
that J. Allard is presenting a keynote at GDC (part of the CMP Game Group, like Gamasutra) titled "The Future of Games: Unlocking the Opportunity". This will apparently be on the topic of "taking advantage of new technology to improve both games and the game development process", and it's possible that it may include some content relevant to Xbox 2.
Since Microsoft’s competitors have both committed to showing their new consoles at E3 (although not necessarily in playable form) this does seem to rob Microsoft of some of its time advantage. The company may, however, be banking on having a much larger number of playable titles than its rivals, thereby giving it a better chance of making a favorable impression at the all-important expo.