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The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

Microsoft fired off a copious salvo of press releases Wednesday making spectacular claims in support of its half-billion-dollar effort to market the Xbox games console.

First up, heavyweight games developer Capcom is busy preparing three offerings for Xbox, including an 'optimized' version of the popular PS2 game "Onimusha", to be produced by Keiji Inafune and tentatively named "Genma Onimusha"; an MS-exclusive sequel to the PS2 game "Dino Crisis", to be produced by Shinji Mikami and tentatively named "Dino Crisis 3"; and an original game by producer Shinji Mikami, tentatively named "Brain-Box".

The arrangement is highly desirable because "the influence of Xbox in global markets will be overwhelming," Capcom Managing Director Yoshiki Okamoto trilled.

Next we have failed Dreamcast maker Sega, which announced development of Xbox editions of its Sports 2K2 line, "Crazy Taxi Next", and "House of the Dead 3". Next year, Sega promises to offer broadband-connectable versions the 2K3 lineup including "NFL 2K3" and "NBA 2K3", "Tony Hawk Pro Skater 3," "Unreal Championship" and "Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon".

On 30 March the two announced that Sega would develop Xbox editions of "Jet Grind Radio Future", "Sega GT", "Gunvalkyrie" and "Panzer Dragoon".

But wait, there's more. Microsoft also announced an exclusive licensing deal with Warner Bros to produce a series of Xbox games based on the Steven Spielberg movie "A.I.", which will be released in late June. Two of the games derived from it will ship with the first lot of Xboxes, Microsoft says.

The company also struck a deal with Universal to develop an Xbox game "featuring the highly-coveted Bruce Lee license." Ronin Entertainment will develop the product, "Bruce Lee: Quest of the Dragon".

Opinions vary over whether the Xbox will succeed with its splashy but rather late entry into the console market; but one thing is certain, if it flops, it won't be for Microsoft's reluctance to throw Gargantuan heaps of money at it. ®

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