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MS to launch Xbox 2 on 12 May

TV spectacular planned for console's debut

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Microsoft won't play second fiddle to Sony next month, the company tacitly said today. It will launch Xbox 2 in a half-hour show on MTV four days before its rival reveals the PlayStation 3.

Late last week it appeared both companies had planned to launch their respective next-generation consoles on 16 May - a day before the start of the E3 games industry show, natch - at different events in Los Angeles. Sony's launch was - and still is, we assume - scheduled to take place at 3PM PST. Microsoft's meeting was booked for 6PM.

Dismissing E3 as a "closed-door, trade-only event", Microsoft VP Peter Moore said the company wanted to "talk directly to the consumer".

The televised launch will be hosted by Lord of the Rings star Elijah 'Frodo' Wood, and should see sports, movie and music celebrities come on stage to tout the next-generation console's media and gaming features, GamesIndustry.biz reports.

Microsoft is expected to announce an Autumn ship date for Xbox 2, ahead of the Christmas 2005 sales season. Rival next-generation consoles from Sony and Nintendo are not expected to ship until 2006. ®

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