The scene, a dark conference room at the Tokyo Games Show, the start, bright lights, bold music, huge green Xbox logos, and, Bill standing up on the stage, ready to take Japan, and the world, by storm..

Microsoft already has a huge challenge ahead of them.. they need to break into the Japanese games market, and convince Japanese people that an American based games company can produce a system which would be the best, ever..

He started off talking about the fact that the advances in chip technology allow for constant improvements in video game consoles.

Microsoft saw that in using the very latest chip technology, that they could take advantage of the constant improvements. The memory capability in the Xbox is what determines the richness of what can be displayed, and they say that it's not just 64mb of memory, but that it can be used for any aspect of the game activity. This allows developers to use the memory for exactly what they want to use it for. The hard drive is also seen as a step forward for developers - this will allow features such as new levels can be made available, and constant additions can appear in games so that it's not just what can be fitted onto a CD.

There was also a lot of talk about the Broadband access, and that Xbox is to be the first console developed specifically for Broadband gaming.

This was followed by a technical demonstration (with an English translation). Obviously they were simply technical demos, and not actual games, but an impressive looking free flowing camera system, with panning and zoom, high speed, and slow speed, and this was apparently all ported to the Xbox in less than a day - pretty amazing!

The speech then covered the fact that Microsoft are so committed to giving the Japanese market what they want, that they have developed a controller specifically for Japanese people. Microsoft are the first manufacturer to create a different version of a controller for a seperate market, and this is thought to be another attempt to help the leaverage of Microsoft into the marketplace, and Japanese gamers hearts.

Attendees to the keynote speech were then treated to some video footage of some of the Xbox games currently in development, including Amped (Snowboarding), NFL Fever 2002 (American Football), Azurik (Action Adventure), Halo (Shooter). - Video quality wasn't too clear (as it was over a webcast) but they all looked pretty impressive..

Visuals look very fast and fluid, and there appears to be none of the drawbacks that previous consoles have had due to technical limitations. Charachters have swift clean movements, and look very realistic.

After a short video of some key Japanese developers showing their work in progress and talking about what they felt of the Xbox's capabilities, came the news of the day.. The partnership with Sega..

Sega will be officially participating, starting with 4 titles, and the development of 11 titles is underway. At E3 further game demonstrations will be available, and by the Autumn TGS there will be yet further titles on display.

Microsoft and Sega are also going to work on the online gaming aspect, where they hope to follow through the dreams of the late Mr Okawa, who had spoke many times with Microsoft about how they could work together to provide a full online gaming system. There was then a short teaser video showing some of the first games that Sega are developing for the platform, including 'Jet Set Radio Future'.

Microsoft want to make gaming more social, and more involving. They also feel that the online capability will change from being a novelty, to being a necessity, and will change the relationship between the user and the vendor.. Mr Gates feels that having new levels and downloads over the internet to the built in hard drive will allow for a constantly evolving game, where the capabilities can keep being pushed further all the time.

Broadband appears to be the way forward for Microsoft's Xbox, and their partnership with NTT communications will allow users to use ADSL to connect to the ethernet port which is built into every Xbox. The idea being that the console is always connected to the internet, and that you have a low latency multiplayer system.. something that gamers can, and hopefully will, use 24 hours a day.

NTT wants to provide the broadband gaming fun to Japanese people as soon as possible, and say that they want to explore a totally new online game crowd - it all sounds very exciting, and let's hope that it makes it to Europe too!

So, there you have it.. Microsoft's attempt to win over the Japanese market, and show just what the Xbox can offer.. If the platform can live up to all that was talked about, then it's going to be very exciting.

I think I'll go and pre-order my UK Xbox right now.. looks like this one's going to sell like hot cakes..

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