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CNN Access: Microsoft exec on Xbox price, release

Microsoft's Robbie Bach (left) says the company will focus on online gaming

CNN Technology Correspondent Rick Lockridge took time out at the E3 video game expo in Los Angeles to talk with Robbie Bach, Chief Xbox Officer with Microsoft, based in Redmond, Washington. Xbox is the company's foray into video game consoles. Bach discusses its graphic capabilities and when it's to be released in the United States.

LOCKRIDGE: Let's give people a new look at the console. Tell us a little about what the Xbox can do.

BACH: Xbox is our next-generation video game console. It has four ports where you can plug in controllers. And as you can see on the screen, it can produce amazing graphics, amazing audio and games that people have never seen before.

LOCKRIDGE: Let's talk about the specs, because specs are what the hardcore gamers are really into . . . about the memory and the capacity. Show us a little of some of the game footage in action here.


BACH: This is a game called "Munch's Oddysee," which we are super-excited about. The graphics on this are stunning. We have 64 MB of memory, the highest-end graphics processor you can get today, three times what you can get on any other system. We have a hard disk. We are the only console with a hard disk. That makes for better game play and better online play.

LOCKRIDGE: A lot of people say it's not really the console that counts, it's the games. Now when you launch, what kind of games will you have available?

BACH: "Munch" is an example of one of the types of games we'll have. We'll have 15 to 20 games available at launch. I've got some of the product right here. These games are really going to blow people away. There'll be some franchises people recognize and some exciting new stuff.

LOCKRIDGE: It's going to be more than just a console for games. Microsoft wants to position it as the box that will handle the family's entertainment and Internet needs. How will it do that?

'Munch's Oddysee' is a 3-D video game designed specifically for the Xbox


BACH: Really what we're focused on with the box is online gaming. People are really excited about the opportunity to play against other people over the Internet. Xbox is the only console designed to do that. That is why we have the hard disk inside. It enables you to do some very exciting things.

LOCKRIDGE: Two things people haven't heard about with Xbox are price and availability. So spill the beans on that.

BACH: It's going to be available on November 8 in North America. Our price will be $299. On day one we expect to have about 600,000 to 800,000 units available in the U.S. And through the first holiday between 1 and 1.5 million units will sell.

LOCKRIDGE: Do you think you will have any trouble meeting demand like (Sony's) PlayStation 2 did when it rolled out?

BACH: Our current plan is to have about 50- to 100-percent more product than they did on Day One. We are confident we can do that. It's always a challenge but we're working hard and we've got a good plan.


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