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Xbox 360 Launches in Japan

Xbox 360 Launches in Japan

Microsoft has launched its Xbox 360 games console in Japan to what seems like a more subdued response than it received in Europe and North America reports BBC.

Surveys by Gaming Fan-sites, leading up to the Japanese launch, showed Japanese gamers pulling for the Sony Playstation 3, even though its a year away from release. Microsoft hopes to overcome Sony and Nintendo by being the first to release its next-generation console.

Queues formed for its main launch event in Tokyo but early sales were reported to be slower than at other launches.

Japan's games market is traditionally dominated by Sony and Nintendo.

The country is the biggest market for console games, after the US.

Microsoft is selling only the premium Xbox 360 package in Japan. It is priced at 37,900 yen and includes a removable hard drive that lets owners play games written for the first Xbox.

Microsoft is expected to easily surpass that number with its new console, which will have the market all to itself for several months while Sony and Nintendo ready their next-generation PlayStation 3 and Revolution consoles for launch next year.

Microsoft is working with some of Japan's top game developers, such as Hironobu Sakaguchi, who created the role-playing game series ``Final Fantasy,'' and Tetsuya Mizuguchi, who made the ``Sega Rally'' racing game series, to develop software for its 360.

Microsoft in October said the first shipments of Xbox 360 sold in Japan will come with a trial version of Square Enix Co.'s ``Final Fantasy XI.'' Games in the Final Fantasy series were the best-selling in Japan in 2003, 2001 and No. 2 in 2000 and 1999, according to Enterbrain.

``They've done better with the software lineup this time, but it's not spicy enough,'' said Yuuta Sakurai, a video game analyst at Nomura Securities Co. ``I still think they are lacking that killer software'' that will attract users away from PlayStation.













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