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Xbox 2 announcement looks unlikely as CES looms

Xenon's unveiling likely to be pushed back to GDC or E3.

Microsoft chairman Bill Gates' preconference keynote address is set to open the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas tomorrow, but it now looks highly unlikely that the expected Xbox 2 announcement will be made in his speech.

Comments from senior industry figures last autumn raised hopes that the new console, codenamed Xenon among development partners, would be shown off during Gates' CES keynote - just as the original Xbox was in 2001.

However, Microsoft has never commented on the possibility that Xbox 2 will appear at the show, and insiders at the company have told that anyone expecting to see Xbox 2 in Las Vegas this week would be making "a wasted trip".

Although it's likely that Gates will at least mention Xbox 2 - due for launch before the end of 2005 - during the speech, it's not expected that he'll confirm any unrevealed details about the system or show off any hardware.

Instead, his keynote is likely to focus on other Microsoft products which will be showcased at CES, including technologies for media centres and entertainment-focused PCs, portable video players, digital rights management (DRM) software and "smart watches".

The likely venue for more information about Xbox 2 to be announced now looks like being the Game Developers Conference - which we mention with a sense of deja vu, since an announcement Xbox 2 was expected there last year as well, but ultimately turned out to be the launch of the XNA development platform instead.