Xenon Set to Shine Bright

Recently, Microsoft co-founder and chair Bill Gates slipped a teaser to a convention of business journalists regarding the upcoming next-gen XBOX, code named Xenon. While staying vague on details, Gates outlined a plan involving the Xenon console to use a version of Windows Media Center Edition to play as part of a digitally-networked hub, connecting PC’s with home electronics and gaming consoles alike. This move brings Microsoft closer to Gates’ vision of a fully-integrated digital world, delivering conventional media like television or radio seamlessly alongside traditionally standalone content such as internet or gaming.

Due to be revealed during a half-hour MTV special on May 12, Xenon is set to not only challenge Sony’s dominance of the console world with their Playstation 2 and PSX handheld, but aims even higher in delivery of rich content as well. All eyes will be on MTV now to find out how high Microsoft is going to reach. Too high, and consumers won’t know what to do with it, but too low, and it will be dismissed as a bump upgrade. Will Xenon glow, or will it be a flash in the pan? MTV will tell… [Britt Godwin]

Jake Says: If you can’t wait for the televised special, Engadget offers some behind the scenes snaps from a private launch party.