X-Box is a game console developed by Microsoft to provide players with a more realistic and immediate interactive experience than current consoles and to gain Microsoft a leadership position in the game console market. The X-Box includes a 600 MHz Intel processor, a custom-designed graphics processor referred to as the X-Chip, 64 megabyte of memory, and a built-in digital versatile disk movie player. Microsoft claims that the X-Box delivers 300 million polygons per second (imagery in games is developed in uniformly-sized polygonal units) and they compare this performance with the 66 million polygons per second delivered by Sony's PlayStation 2 console. A modem for Internet access is optional.
Microsoft expects to develop about 30% of the games offered for the X-Box and offers its DirectX graphics development interface to companies that will develop the remaining 70%. Although Microsoft is relatively new to the console player business, it currently is a leader in software for the PC game market. According to Microsoft, there are about 29 million console players, 11 million PC game players, and 7 million people who play both. Console games emphasize extremely fast interactive response and are described as more "visceral," whereas PC games tend to take longer to play and are more "cerebral."