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Tuesday, 23 April, 2002, 10:59 GMT 11:59 UK
Xbox creator resigns
Xbox
The Xbox launched in the UK in March
One of the creators of Microsoft's Xbox has resigned, just a week after the company reported below par sales of the games console.

Seamus Blackley is setting up a new company and said his resignation had nothing to do with the console's performance at shops.

Last week, Microsoft said that by the end of June it expects to have shipped 3.5 million to 4 million XBox consoles worldwide, down from an earlier estimate of 4.5 million to 6 million.

Seamus Blackley had been at Microsoft since 1998
Seamus Blackley had been at Microsoft since 1998
The company has also slashed the price of the Xbox, down from 300 to 199.

Mr Blackley said that no-one in the games industry was surprised at his resignation.

He said: "There's no good time to resign.

"I've really poured my entire soul into XBox. There's no way I would leave if there was something wrong."

He joined Microsoft in 1998, initially working on Windows, the company's flagship operating system.

Then he and a group of colleagues dreamed up XBox in 1999.

Competition

The Xbox launched amid great fanfare in the UK in March as excited fans queued to get their hands on the long-awaited machine.

Its main competitors are PlayStation 2 and the upcoming GameCube.

But there have been mixed reports of Xbox's popularity.

Sony's PlayStation 2
Sony's PlayStation 2 leads the market

The price cut comes into effect on 26 April.

Those who bought the Xbox at the higher price have been promised a "thank you package", which will include two free games and an Xbox game controller.

There are also concerns it is not selling well enough in Japan, which will become the only country where the Xbox is sold at a higher price than the PlayStation 2.

Microsoft said the company plans to make hefty investments in XBox over the next year, and thinks it could sell as many as 11 million consoles by June 2003.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Alex Ritson
"Microsoft faces tough competition from Japanese firms such as Sony and Nintendo"
The BBC's Martin Shankleman
"Retailers have complained that the higher cost of the Xbox couldn't be justified to customers"

In DepthIN DEPTH
Video games
Console wars, broadband and interactivity
See also:

18 Apr 02 | New Media
Microsoft drops Xbox price
04 Apr 02 | New Media
Microsoft 'should cut Xbox price'
14 Mar 02 | New Media
Fans rush to buy Xbox
14 Mar 02 | New Media
No party like an Xbox party
07 Mar 02 | New Media
Online future for PlayStation 2
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