Bill Gates spoke of music, photos, movies, television, gaming and communications; and new alliances with industry leaders including MTV Networks, TiVo and BellSouth but failed to even mention what everyone was waiting for.
Love him or hate him, when Bill Gates speaks, the world listens and as he gave his keynote address at CES the whole gaming industry was listening intently waiting for an XBox 2 related announcement. Much to Sony's delight, Gates failed to even mention the XBox successor but he did refer to gaming extensively.
Mr. Gates said he expects XBox to have reached a 40 per cent market share during the months of November and December while he expects MS to have shipped 20 million units worldwide by July 2005.
According to the Microsoft boss, the Halo 2 game generated USD 125 million in revenue in its first weekend of availability, surpassing the biggest opening weekend in box-office history, for Spiderman, which generated just under USD 115 million. He also mentioned that the game has already sold over 6.3 million units to date and has exceeded sales of the original Halo. Mr. Gates did not fail to mention the Xbox role-playing game title Fable which also broke the 1 million sales mark in only two months.
Gates also paid tribute to Halo 2 as a powerful incentive for XBox Live adoption. Xbox Live experienced the highest activity levels ever, with more than 1 million unique users playing on the service with Halo 2 gamers spending a record-breaking 69 million hours on the service to date - more than any other Xbox Live game.
Gates outlined three major trends driving the gaming phenomenon today: HDTV, ubiquitous broadband and wireless connectivity, and rich personalization. To demonstrate the latter point, he joined Conan O'Brien to play Forza Motorsport, an auto racing game from Microsoft Game Studios scheduled to launch in April 2005. Gates and O'Brien raced through Manhattan in customized cars, showing off their lack of online driving skills.
Overall, the speech by the Chief MS Officer offered no new information or any exciting news but was rather the usual public pat-in-the-back which we hear multi-billionaires enjoy every now and then.