Saturday, May 18, 2013

New Xbox more than a game console for Microsoft

SAN FRANCISCO/SEATTLE (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp is set to make a splash this week with the eagerly awaited unveiling of its new Xbox game console, eight years after the last version, as it seeks a larger share of the $65 billion a year global computer gaming industry.

But the small device faces some big competition from the PlayStation 4 by Sony Corp and the Wii U by Nintendo Co Ltd in a shifting market.

Gamers are gravitating to online play - suggesting the hey-day of console games are over - while Microsoft wants its sleek new toy to finally cross the bridge to the mainstream and become the family's entertainment center.

"Core gamers are very hungry for a new machine but the difference between 2005 and now is that the stakes are so much higher," said Ryan McCaffrey, executive editor at entertainment website, harking back to Microsoft's last Xbox release. "The entire Xbox experiment from Microsoft was for it to be the center piece of your living room."