Microsoft signs up new game developers to Xbox

With just over a month left before it makes its first foray into the home game console business, Microsoft Corp. has added the support of three Japanese computer game makers to its Xbox plans.

As the Tokyo Game Show got underway here Friday, Microsoft announced the three companies are developing a total of five games for its new console. The Xbox will hit shelves in the U.S. on November 15 and in Japan on February 22, 2002, Microsoft says.

The company scored a coup with Koei Co. Ltd., which announced it is exclusively developing a new version of its history simulation game "Nobunaga no Yabo Ranseiki," or in English "Nobunaga's Ambition: Chronicle of Chaos," for the Xbox.

Game developer Genki Co. Ltd. announced it is working on two Xbox games: "Zan Kabuki" and "Phantom Crash." The former is described as a swordplay action game developed by the same team which produced "Kengo" and the latter is a fighting game in which robots use camouflage to do battle.

Additionally, Microsoft and Sega unveiled an extension of their pact with the news that Sega's two most famous gamemaking studios are working on one game each for the Xbox. Sega-AM2 Co. Ltd. will develop a version of its hit "Shuemue II" game, while Sonic Team Ltd. is developing a version of its networked role playing game (RPG) "Phantasy Online" for Microsoft's new console. Sega had previously announced a range of games for the Xbox.

Microsoft's pleasure at getting Sega's top two games development teams to work on Xbox titles was difficult to disguise for Ed Fries, vice president of games publishing, who called the news "One of the most important things that was announced today."

He credited both Yu Suzuki, who heads the Sega-AM2 team, and Yuji Naka, in charge of the Sonic Team, as two of the most talented members of an incredibly talented team at Sega and underlined the importance of them working on Xbox titles.

"That's a very important announcement because it brings Yu Suzuki, one of the most talented games developers, onto the Xbox," he said of Sega-AM2 joining the development effort, and added, "The announcement of (Phantasy Online) coming to Xbox is really important because online is an important part of Xbox. When we launch our online service in Japan, we will launch it with Phantasy star online." The company plans to launch its online service in the U.S. in the middle of 2002 and later the same year in Japan.

For Microsoft, getting talented, brand-name game developers working on Xbox titles is important if the console is to have a chance of beating Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.'s PlayStation 2 and Nintendo Co. Ltd.'s Gamecube consoles.

Expanding the relationship between Microsoft and Sega, which dumped its own console earlier this year in favor of producing software for other companies, will be the top level of business this weekend when Bill Gates, chairman and chief software architect of the Redmond, Washington-based company, meets Tetsu Kayama, chief operating officer (COO) of Sega, according to Fries.

Gates is also expected to make an appearance at the Tokyo Game Show on Sunday afternoon at the booth of Sega.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Martyn Williams

PC World
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Crucial Ballistix Elite 32GB Kit (4 x 8GB) DDR4-3000 UDIMM

Learn more >

Gadgets & Things

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Plox Star Wars Death Star Levitating Bluetooth Speaker

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles


GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy


First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni


For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell


The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi


The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott


My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?