Microsoft sets date for Xbox 2 debut

Company to spill the remaining beans on the next version of its game console in a May 12 MTV broadcast.

Microsoft will give the public its first glimpse of the next Xbox during a global MTV broadcast next month.

MTV outlets in North America, Europe and Asia will air a 30-minute program titled "MTV Presents: The Next Generation Xbox Revealed" on May 12 and May 13, the software giant announced Monday.

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At the E3 show, Sony plans to get a 3-hour head start in the next lap of the game console race.

The successor to the current Xbox has been the subject of much anticipation and rumor over the past few years. Microsoft has filled in many technical details, such as the processor and development tools the next Xbox will utilize, but key information such as the name, price and on-sale date for the console have remained secret. Other hotly debated topics about the next Xbox include whether it will run games for the current Xbox and if it will include a hard drive.

Microsoft executives have also talked about the next Xbox in general terms. Chairman Bill Gates told CNET that besides eye-popping games, the next Xbox would include an array of multimedia tools.

"We didn't do Xbox just to do a video game; we did it to be part of our vision of the digital lifestyle, and with the next generation, we really get to go there," he said. In the first generation, we had one simple goal, which was to establish credibility as a great video game platform. We've done that.

"As we go into this next generation, it's much broader," he added. "So just for the games alone you'd go, 'wow,' but the concept now of bringing in your music, your media, connecting to the PC, connecting Xbox Live to Messenger--that just makes it a very big deal."

Microsoft had been expected to save the unveiling of the next Xbox for the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) trade show next month. But the TV event gives the company a head start of a few days and should ensure that Microsoft's news won't be lost among announcements regarding competing consoles, including the expected unveiling of Sony's PlayStation 3.

"We are ecstatic about our alliance with MTV and unveiling a video game platform in a way that has never been done," Peter Moore, vice president of worldwide marketing for the Xbox division at Microsoft, said in a statement.

The program will air at 6:30 p.m. PDT Thursday, May 12 in the United States and at various times Friday, May 13 in other parts of the world. The show will be hosted by actor Elijah Wood, best known as Frodo in the "Lord of the Rings" films.

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