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Monday, 27 August, 2001, 18:29 GMT 19:29 UK
Microsoft delays Xbox launch in Japan
Microsoft's Robbie Bach unveils the X-Box
The Xbox is Microsoft's first games console
Microsoft has said it is to delay the launch of its new Xbox game console in Japan until 22 February next year.

The company said it wanted to concentrate its efforts on the Xbox's US launch before rolling it out to other markets, and denied that technical problems were behind the delay.

"The Xbox is Microsoft's biggest challenge in the 21st Century," said Hirohisa Ohura managing director of Microsoft's Japanese unit.

"We want to first succeed in the United States and then ride the wave of popularity into the Japanese market," he added.

On target in the US

Microsoft reiterated that the Xbox will go on sale in the US on 8 November as originally planned.

It said it was aiming to send out an initial 600,000 to 800,000 machines to the stores.

The Xbox is expected to go on sale for $299, but no price has yet been set for when it goes on sale in Japan.

Tough competition

The Xbox is Microsoft's first venture into the game console market and will face fierce competition from rivals Sony and Nintendo.

Sony has already sold nearly 15 million of its Playstation 2 consoles, and Nintendo is preparing to launch its new GameCube console.

Analysts in Japan think the Xbox could struggle to make a big impact in the Japanese market.

"Sony's Playstation 2 is probably number one. Nintendo, because they are Japanese and because they are out to market sooner, probably has more likely of a chance of being second.

"That doesn't leave much room for Microsoft," said Lisa Spicer, senior analyst at ING Baring.

See also:

16 Jun 01 | Business
Microsoft settles Xbox dispute
28 Jun 01 | Business
Microsoft's business challenges
16 May 01 | New Media
Playstation 2 steps up its game
30 Mar 01 | New Media
X-Box steals the show
29 Mar 01 | Business
Microsoft's X-Box goes online
21 Mar 01 | Business
Nintendo launches new GameBoy
31 Jan 01 | Business
Sega scraps the Dreamcast
16 May 01 | New Media
Console wars at E3 show
07 Jan 01 | Business
Gates unveils Playstation rival
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