Video Game Industry Readies for Biggest Week Ever

In the purple corner: a short, squat plumber with suspenders and a mustache. In the black corner: the world's richest man, a geek with glasses. It's Mario versus Bill Gates in a battle for a $20 billion industry. The next seven days mark the most anticipated and hyped week in the 29-year history of the video game business: the Thursday launch of the Xbox, a sleek black console from software giant Microsoft Corp. and next Sunday's debut of GameCube, a colorful next-generation platform for Mario and Nintendo Co. Ltd.'s other famed characters.

Analysts expect the twin launches, combined with sales of the year-old PlayStation 2 from Sony Corp. to ignite a five-year growth cycle in the video game industry, which already outranks Hollywood movies as a magnet for entertainment dollars. The anticipation for the product launches, which come just ahead of the year-end shopping season, has turned the video game industry into "Donkey Kong," the big gorilla to beat.

News source: Reuters

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