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Byline: Sharon Pian Chan
Feb. 26--This is a conference room where you could plot the end of the world.
The entrance is flanked by steel panels. The room glows Kryptonite green. Metal walls slide back to reveal technology prototypes. A laser light of green is embedded on the surface of the conference table. Tap on a flat-screen monitor, and a projector screen hums out of the ceiling. Tap it again, and a live video of the room streams onscreen. This den of destruction is Microsoft's.
This isn't your daddy's Microsoft, though. The room is in a building that sits four miles from the main campus. From One Microsoft Way you have to drive east to the end of Highway 520. And the 1,000 employees inside aren't working on the next killer office application. They're working on the Xbox, Microsoft's first video-game console, due this fall.
There is no other conference room like this at Microsoft. But there's never been a project like this at Microsoft, either. The zombie-shooting, civilization-saving, car-smashing culture of the video-gaming industry has gone underground into …