Microsoft Introduces New Gaming Console

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REDMOND, Washington (Reuters) – Microsoft Corp gave the world the first look at its new game console on Tuesday, hoping the Xbox One will attract existing video game fans while also becoming a hub for living room entertainment.

The third-generation Microsoft console, coming eight years after the Xbox 360, was unveiled by games unit chief Don Mattrick at an event at the software company’s campus near Seattle.

The Xbox One is an “ultimate all-in-one entertainment system,” Mattrick said.

The console will launch worldwide “later this year,” the company said without providing an exact timeframe.

The new device interacts with a television, responds to voice and gesture commands, and includes Skype video calling, 15 exclusive game titles and original programming content.

Acclaimed movie maker Steven Spielberg will be creating a premium television series based on Microsoft’s blockbuster sci-fi game “Halo” for the Xbox One, the company said.

The new console will offer exclusive National Football League content and eight new game franchises, executives said.

It will have 8 gigabytes of memory, with an updated controller and new-generation Kinect sensor that communicates a user’s voice and gesture commands to the console. The technology is built on the Xbox operating system and the kernel of Windows software to handle Internet-based content.

The Xbox One will chiefly compete with Nintendo Co’s new Wii U and Sony Corp’s forthcoming PlayStation 4 for a bigger slice of the $65 billion-a-year computer game market.

But the world’s largest software company also sees it as a broader strategic piece in the battle with Apple Inc, Google Inc and others to control consumer entertainment in the age of tablets and smartphones.

Microsoft’s stock was off 5 cents at $35.03 in afternoon trading on Nasdaq.

(Reporting by Bill Rigby; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick, Dan Grebler and Nick Zieminski)

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