Microsoft Sets Xbox Date


Microsoft Corp. has set the date to start play on its new broadband online
multiplayer gaming service built around the Xbox console.

On Nov. 15, Xbox mavens can buy a $49.95 starter kit that includes a year of
access, a headset with microphone, software to link to broadband connections and
a game.

The service will allow only users with broadband connections a way to play
each other across a closed access network maintained by Microsoft.

The software giant plans to offer six games with the November service launch,
ranging from its own NFL Fever gridiron game to UbiSoft's Ghost Recon.

By the end of 2003, Microsoft plans to offer about 50 games and estimates the
service will have attracted about 100,000 users.

But rival game developer Sony Corp. will still beat Microsoft to the
broadband debut, with plans to start selling the network adapter to link its
PlayStation 2 console to broadband networks on Aug. 27.

Sony's version allows gamers to link using an unrestricted Internet link, and
it includes access for dialup users.