Next Generation Xbox With HDTV Capabilities

Microsoft, whose Xbox gaming console was beat to the market by one full year by the Sony Playstation 2, hopes to trump Sony’s upcoming Playstation 3 this year with the worldwide announcement of their next generation Xbox machine tonight on MTV. Rumors of the name of the new Xbox have surfaced on the Internet with most speculators guessing the system will be called Xbox 360. The Xbox has some distinct advantages over the PS 2 including a built-in hard drive for saving games, however, Microsoft has been playing second fiddle to Sony since entering the videogame market.

In an event hosted by Lord of the Rings star and avid gaming enthusiast Elijah Wood, the new Xbox will be unveiled in a half hour special on MTV and will feature performances from the Las Vegas alterative rock band The Killers. It will showcase the new features of the system including improved graphics and storage capablilties as well as better support for the online gaming network “Xbox Live.” The retail price and official release date of the new Xbox are expected to be announced as well. The special, titled “MTV Presents: The Next-Generation Xbox Revealed” will be shown around the world on all of MTV’s networks and airs May 12, 2005, at 9:30 P.M. Eastern in North America and on Friday, May 13, 2005, in other regions around the globe (see local air times below).

Sony will soon be launching their third incarnation of the Playstation, simply titled Playstation 3. The full unveiling of the system is expected to be made at the video gaming tradeshow E3 this month in Los Angeles. The prices of both the Sony and Microsoft systems have not yet been announced but one would expect them to be somewhere between $300 and $400 range for the basic systems with games ranging from $40 to $65.

In an cooperative agreement with Samsung, Microsoft is going to be putting up over 25,000 23″ Samsung LCD TV (model LNR238W) HDTV kiosks around the country to promote the new Xbox system, leading one to believe that the system will have native 720P support. Currently the Xbox can be played on widescreen HD monitors with aftermarket component cables and several of the games offer native widescreen support so the onscreen action doesn’t look stretched or information on the top or bottom of the screen. If the new Xbox is truly HDTV compatible, it will be a tempting toy for all home theater enthusiasts who have an open component video input on their receiver or AV preamp. Speculation of an aftermarket DVI or HDMI connection for the new Xbox has also hit the Xbox discussion boards. Many gamers are worried that the new Xbox will only be HD compatible and they also fear that their current collection of games will become drink coasters if the unit is not backwards compatible. Millions of original Playstation owners are still enjoying their first generation games on the PS 2, so Microsoft would be smart to keep the new system backwards compatible to the current one.

Building hype for the release is important to sales of a gaming system and Sony has already scored a big hit earlier this year with their successful PSP handheld system. South Park even featured an episode where the PSP was a principal player in the plotline. The MTV promotion by Microsoft is an attempt to garner the attention of the same Gen X and Gen Y audience that watches South Park.

North America
Thursday May 12, at 9:30 P.M. Eastern (21:30), 8:30 P.M. Central (20:30) 9:30 P.M. Pacific (21:30)

Friday, May 13, at 11:30

France: Friday, May 13, at 19:00
Germany: Friday, May 13, at 19:00
Italy: Friday, May 13, at 23:30
Netherlands: Friday, May 13, at 19:30
Poland: Friday, May 13, at 21:00
Portugal: Friday, May 13, at 20:00
Romania: Friday, May 13, at 20:00
Scandinavia: Friday, May 13, at 22:00
Spain: Friday, May 13, at 21:30
U.K.: Friday, May 13, at 20:00

Friday, May 13, at 19:00


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