Sega to code for Xbox – Gates

And he pledges console's Japan debut will be on schedule

Microsoft's Xbox will launch with a stack of games from Sega, Bill Gates announced in Tokyo this morning.

And he reiterated that the console will ship in Japan in the autumn, on schedule. Sources close to Japanese developers claimed earlier this month that Xbox's Japan debut would be delayed because of a lack of titles targeted at the Japanese market.

The claim obviously stung a bit. Said Gates today: "People didn't know how committed we were for the Japanese market. We've got the Japanese market full-speed ahead on the Xbox."

The sceptics included Japanese developer Capcom and even US Xbox backer Electronic Arts. At the time, EA CFO Stan McKee said he didn't expect Xbox to launch in Japan before 2002.

Sega has been expected to announce software for Xbox since it first emerged it planned to get out of the hardware business and focus on games development. Rumours that did the rounds back in February claimed Gates would announce that Xbox would play Dreamcast games. He didn't say so today - as we suspected at the time, the Sega staff seen in Seattle were there to discuss software development not Dreamcast licensing.

The titles Sega will offer at launch include GT 2 and Panzer Dragoon. ®

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