Gates Confirms Xbox 360 HD-DVD Drive

Just a month after the global launch of the new Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system, Gates discussed the product’s strong momentum in delivering high-definition hardware, games and digital entertainment experiences at CES. Xbox 360 is on track to be the fastest-selling video game console ever, forecast to ship between 4.5 million and 5.5 million units worldwide by the end of June 2006.

Gates noted that Xbox 360 has also become a powerful application for high-definition television, adding that nine out of 10 Xbox 360 owners currently own or intend to purchase a high-definition television set. He announced that more than 50 new high-definition Xbox 360 games will be available by June 2006.

Building on Xbox 360 leadership in high-definition experiences, the company announced plans to deliver a new Xbox 360 external HD DVD drive in 2006. The new drive will offer millions of Xbox 360 owners the ability to easily enjoy HD DVD movies and will provide consumers with even more choices for experiencing high-definition content, in either physical or digital form.

Using Xbox 360 and the Xbox Live service today, consumers are already able to access high-definition entertainment such as Xbox Live Arcade titles, game demos and high-definition movie trailers. Consumers can also use their Xbox 360 system to access high-definition television and movies from their Windows XP-based Media Center PC.

Gates’ keynote also showcased the momentum behind Xbox Live, announcing that more than half of all Xbox 360 owners are already connected to the online games and entertainment service, which boasts a worldwide community of more than 2 million members. He demonstrated Electronic Arts Inc.’s forthcoming EA SPORTS “Fight Night Round 3,” scheduled to be available in February 2006, and announced that a free, playable high-definition demo of the game is now available at the Xbox Live Marketplace, a one-stop digital download center where consumers can access high-definition games, music and movie content from leading industry partners.