Xbox 360 will launch in the US on November 22, as had been widely expected. This will be followed by a European launch slated for December 2 and a December 10 debut in Japan.
This sees Microsoft make good on its promises to get 360 hardware on shelves before the holiday season is over, though raises the question of allocation levels for such a massive global launch.
We were told by Microsoft representatives on the record that, as of late July 2005, production lines hadn?t begun rolling. What?s more, we were told that a press release would be issued to mark the event. To date, this has not happened, with no news of any movement from the Chinese manufacturing facilities.
"This holiday season, gamers in Japan, Europe and North America pining to experience jaw-dropping high-definition graphics, unmatched online play and compelling digital entertainment features of Xbox 360 will finally have the chance," said Robbie Bach, chief Xbox officer for Microsoft in a press release issued this morning in Japan. "Renowned development studios around the world are busy putting the finishing touches on their Xbox 360 games. We expect a strong portfolio of titles on launch day and through the holidays that will appeal to fans of every genre and gamers in every region, and with more than 200 games currently in development, continuous new additions to the library are on the way."
Other news this morning sees Microsoft price the 360 for the Japanese market at 37,900 Yen, a mere $343/£185, and only the premium 20GB hard disc version will be offered, an aggressive if loss-leading approach to the thus far uncrackable territory.