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Microsoft quiet on Xbox 2 at CES

But Bill Gates did have time to talk about hardware and Halo 2 sales.

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Image credit: Eurogamer

Microsoft chairman Bill Gates used his keynote address at this year's CES trade show to announce various initiatives in music, photos, movies, television and communications, but made no mention of company's next-generation Xbox 2 platform.

Gates did touch on the Xbox's progress briefly, however, claiming "industry-leading sales for the 2004 holiday season," with a projected 40 per cent console market share for the months of November and December, and said Microsoft expected to have sold 20 million units worldwide by July 2005.

He also paid tribute to Bungie's Halo 2, which generated $125 million in revenue in its first weekend of availability in the US and Canada, Gates said, and has sold more than 6.3 million units to date - exceeding sales of the first Halo.

Halo 2 has also driven adoption of Microsoft's Xbox Live online games service - which now has more than one million unique users according to Gates - and generated 69 million hours of play to become the most popular title on the service by far.

Gates also commented on Lionhead/Big Blue Box's Fable, sales of which topped one million in two months on sale, and outlined what he sees as three major trends driving "the gaming phenomenon": HDTV, broadband and wireless connectivity, and "rich personalisation" - something he illustrated by racing against Conan O'Brien on a Manhattan track in Forza Motorsport using custom cars.

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