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The Tokyo Game Show, going on right now, is where Microsoft is beginning its efforts to try and prove to Japanese audiences that the Xbox is a console worth buying. Major Nelson has put the keynote address including Microsoft's Robbie Bach into his blogcast this week (as usual, in MP3 and WMA formats).

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Next Generation quotes Jonathan Hayes of Microsoft as saying that manufacture of the Xbox 360 console began on last Wednesday, September 7.

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Buried in the news about Microsoft's global launch of the Xbox 360 console starting this November was the revelation that unlike the controversial two-tiered pricing system in the US, where the unit without the hard drive is $300, and the unit with the hard drive and some extras is $400, the Japanese market will get a single configuration-- fully loaded, with the hard drive, for less than $350.

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Microsoft's "simultaneous" worldwide release has morphed into a more logistically manageable sequence of three staggered launches: November 22 in North America, December 2 in Europe, and December 10 in Japan. The New York Times has the story. (Use the username/password rampancy/rampant if you don't have an account--Ed.)

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The BBC has a story up on how Microsoft is trying to protect their next console platform against would-be modders and hackers. (Insert Microsoft security joke here--Ed.)

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With Halo 3 still aways off, Microsoft is pushing Perfect Dark Zero as the launch shooter of choice for the Xbox 360. Kiziko mentions that the game will ship in a standard and deluxe version (as Halo 2 did) and PerfectDarkZero.com has an interview with the game's senior designer, Duncan Botwood.

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Microsoft may open an Xbox Store in Times Square, says the Seattle Times. Thanks Voodoo Extreme. (Let's hope this is MS taking another page from Apple's book, rather than Gateway's--Ed)

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[image:9676 align=left hspace=5 vspace=5 border=0] Despite not even using an Intel CPU in its newest iteration, the latest Xbox console was spotted by Trusted Reviews at the Intel Developer Forum, streaming HD video from a Media Center PC to a Samsung DLP rear projection TV.

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Spotted by HBO, an article by Variety says Halo is hitting the big screen in 2007, and while Microsoft (and thus, we assume, Bungie) will be "guaranteed extensive consultation on the project" it will not have final approval on anything.

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The following is excerpts from the transcript of the online chat with Microsoft's J Allard that Major Nelson posted on his blog. Some of the answers I thought bore a little extra scrutiny, so I've added some comments below.

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Major Nelson is hosting on his blog a transcript of the recent online chat with Microsoft's J Allard. A lot of emphasis was placed on the recent announcement of two versions of the Xbox; a premium one with all the bells and whistles, and a "core" system $100 cheaper with no headset and no hard drive.

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Microsoft wants to know if you've ever heard of a little game called "Halo 2". If you have, fill out their survey.

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Microsoft's Peter Moore is interviewed over at SPOnG about the Xbox and the Xbox 360 and Microsoft's digital entertainment strategy.

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Eric Trautmann wanted to thank all the Halo fans who purchased The Art of Halo, which has sold quite well and earned him his first-ever (and apparently "big fat") royalty check.

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