It could be game-over for Microsoft Corp after it launches the Xbox console in Japan tomorrow, as stronger Japanese rivals crush the US computer giant's quest to conquer the video-game industry, analysts said. \n"The foray into the gaming business is the biggest challenge for Microsoft in the 21st century and Microsoft has the financial power to meet such a challenge," said Hirohisa Oura, local managing director of the firm's Japanese arm. "We will make this year the year of the Xbox." \nXbox will compete directly against Sony Corp's PlayStation 2 and Nintendo Co Ltd's GameCube on their home turf -- a near-impossible challenge, according to analysts. \n"It seems there is almost no chance of Xbox becoming a major player in Japan," said Marusan Securities analyst Junji Nakauchi. "The domestic market will be where Nintendo and Sony engage in head-to-head battle." \nMicrosoft surprised skeptics when it sold 1.5 million Xboxes after launching the console in the US last November, while Nintendo has only shipped around 1.4 million GameCube machines there. \nBut in December alone, Sony sold around 2.5 million PlayStation 2 (PS2) consoles in North America and five million worldwide. \n"Judging by the available information, Xbox is unlikely to become an immediate threat to the PS2 or GameCube in Japan," said Tokyo Mitsubishi Securities senior analyst Nobumasa Morimoto. \n"We should not be too euphoric about the start-up of Xbox in Japan, and we should not make hasty decisions on the likelihood of success in making inroads into the Japanese games market just because of the initial sales," he said. \nAnalysts estimate Microsoft will ship around 300,000 Xbox consoles to Japan for the launch, compared with the 980,000 machines released at the debut of PlayStation 2 in 2000, and 450,000 for GameCube. \n"In Japan it will be difficult for Microsoft at the start," said BNP Paribas game and media analyst Takeshi Tajima. \n"The price-tag for Xbox is too expensive, it's pricing itself out of the market, also it does not have enough title games," he said. \nThe Xbox will cost ?34,800 (US$262) compared with ?29,800 for PlayStation 2 and ?24,800 for GameCube. But you pay for an array of special functions, including a built in hard-drive to download games faster, and Internet access, said Microsoft's Oura. \n"Although the price sounds higher than others, Xbox has pre-installed online functions ... and the most advanced graphic technology," he said. "We would like to create an online game world like Jurassic Park." \nBut Microsoft's machine will have a mere 12 games titles at first -- against over 400 on PlayStation 2 -- with only three exclusive to Xbox, analysts said. \n"Most are just remodeled versions of games for other consoles," said Mizuho Investors Securities analyst Satoshi Kurihara. "Overall, I see almost no `killer' title to attract consumers." \nMicrosoft may also loose out because -- at about 30cm wide, 30cm deep and 10cm high -- Xbox dwarfs rival consoles and would be harder to fit in the small apartments of typical young games players in Japan, analysts said. \nNews of Xbox's imminent arrival failed to ruffle the feathers of the competition. \n"We are not worried at all," said Koichihiro Katsurayama, a spokesman for Sony Computer Entertainment. "We shall keep developing our product by introducing new software." \nNintendo was equally calm. "It won't be a problem," said a spokeswoman. \nMicrosoft must slash its prices fast for Xbox to stand a chance at wrestling market share from PlayStation 2 and GameCube, said BNP Paribas' Tajima. \nBut despite the negative speculation, the US firm remained adamant its debut in Japan -- the world's second-largest video-game market -- would be a success. \n"[It] is the key milestone for the overall Xbox business worldwide," the firm said. Xbox will hit European shores on March 14.
‘HERO OF THE ERA’: President Tsai Ing-wen expressed deep sadness at Lee’s passing, and told the government to assist his family with all their needs Former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) passed away at 7:24pm yesterday at Taipei Veterans General Hospital. He was 97 years old. The hospital stated the cause of death as septic shock and multiple organ failure. Lee had been hospitalized there since February, when he choked on a mouthful of milk at home. He was later diagnosed with pulmonary infiltrates and aspiration pneumonia. The hospital said that Lee had been treated with antibiotics, but that his health had not improved, as his advanced age and diabetes had inhibited his immune system and led to recurring infections. During his hospitalization, Lee underwent daily kidney dialysis, which removed
‘WEAK POSITIVE’: The man arrived in Taiwan in May and was quarantined for two weeks, Chen Shih-chung said, adding that he might be infected a long time ago The government is considering tightening mask-wearing rules again in light of a potential domestic COVID-19 infection, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) confirmed seven new COVID-19 cases, six of which are imported. The other case involves a Belgian engineer who entered Taiwan on May 3 and remained in quarantine until May 17, said Chen, who heads the CECC. Although the source of infection has yet to be identified, the case could end the nation’s record of not having any domestic cases in the previous 110 days. The Belgian, in his 20s, is a technician
RECEIVING TREATMENT: President Tsai Ing-wen, Vice President William Lai and Premier Su Tseng-chang visited former president Lee Teng-hui yesterday morning Taipei Veterans General Hospital yesterday rebutted speculation that former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) had died a day earlier, saying that he was weak, but receiving treatment. The hospital said the 97-year-old Lee was not in good condition and needed ongoing care, adding that if there are any changes in his condition, it would make those public. The comments came after rumors emerged online on Tuesday that Lee had died after being hospitalized since early February. Soon after the unsubstantiated rumors emerged, reporters started flocking to the hospital seeking confirmation. Lee was admitted to Taipei Veterans General Hospital on Feb. 8 after choking while drinking
ROAD TO HISTORY: When Lee Teng-hui joined the KMT, the likelihood of a Taiwanese becoming ROC president, much less its first directly elected one, was hard to imagine Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), who was born on Jan. 15, 1923, in the farming community of Sanshi Village, Taihoku Prefecture — now New Taipei City’s Sanzhi District (三芝) — during the Japanese colonial era, and rose to become mayor of Taipei and not only the Republic of China’s (ROC) first Taiwan-born president, but its first directly elected one as well. Educated in the Japanese educational system of the time, Lee, who spoke Japanese, Hoklo (also known as Taiwanese), Mandarin and English, won a scholarship to Kyoto Imperial University, but his studies were interrupted by World War II. He earned a bachelor’s