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XBOX EUROPEAN LAUNCH A SUCCESS

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XBOX EUROPEAN LAUNCH A SUCCESS


Preliminary Reports Show Xbox Has Taken Europe By Storm


LONDON, 20th March 2002 - The dust has cleared from the
European launch of Xbox, the future-generation video game system from Microsoft,
and preliminary reports indicate it's a runaway hit.


Thousands of gamers queued up at stores in the 16
European launch countries on the evening of 13th March to be among the first to
purchase Xbox, resulting in a near sell-out in its first day at retail. Early
reports also show a huge demand for games and accessories, with most customers
leaving stores not only with an Xbox, but with multiple games and accessories.
Top-selling games include "Halo(tm)," "Project Gotham Racing(tm)," "RalliSport
Challenge*" and "Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee(tm)" from Microsoft® Game Studios,
and "Dead or Alive 3" from Tecmo, "Max Payne" from Take-Two Interactive,
Wreckless: The Yakuza Missions from Activision, and "Jet Set Radio Future" from
Sega/Infogrames. "We have been pleased with Xbox sales over its first weekend,"
said Lisa Morgan, Commercial Director for GAME and Electronics Boutique.
"Hardware sales were particularly impressive on launch day and we've seen a good
attachment rate covering both 1st and 3rd-party games. The strong line-up of
day-one games has undoubtedly contributed to a successful console launch for
Microsoft." Microsoft's replenishment strategy means that a steady supply of
Xbox systems will be hitting retail on a weekly basis, ensuring there is enough
product to cope with current demand. Microsoft expects to ship between 4.5
million and 6 million Xbox systems world-wide by the end of June. Xbox is the
only console manufacturer with a European factory (in Sárvár, Hungary), which
means stock can reach any retail outlet in Europe in under three days.


"I'm excited to finally see Xbox in the hands of
gamers," said Sandy Duncan, Vice President, Xbox Europe. "I've always known that
Xbox is the best video game system ever, but after playing games with people at
launch I see that gamers also recognise the amazing power and intense fun that
only Xbox can offer. European gamers have welcomed Xbox into their hearts and
into their homes in a big way." Word-of-mouth recommendations and stellar
reviews are driving gamers to the great games available on Xbox, including
"Halo," which earned a perfect 10 score from the influential European gaming
bible Edge.


Twenty Xbox titles are now on sale, with more lined up
in the next two weeks such as F1 2002 (Electronic Arts), Genma Onimusha (Capcom),
Championship


Manager: Season 01/02 (Eidos), and Shrek (TDK Mediactive).
And, a steady stream of titles will support Xbox up to June 2002, including FIFA
World Cup 2002 (Electronic Arts), International Superstar Soccer 2 (Konami),
Moto GP (THQ), Spiderman: The Movie (Activision), Buffy the Vampire Slayer
(Electronic Arts) and Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex (Universal
Interactive). "We had a very good weekend with Xbox," said Bruno Bonnell,
Founder and CEO, Infogrames. "We have had to produce more copies of Jet Set
Radio Future, one of our Xbox launch titles, to keep up with demand. Trans World
Surf is also doing well for us. This is a very good sign for the long-term
success of Xbox, and we look forward to a long partnership." The buzz
surrounding the launch of Xbox manifested itself in many ways. A survey of new
Xbox owners by Amazon.co.uk suggested that 74% were planning to take a day off
work to stay home and play games - nearly half (46%) were going to feign illness
as an excuse. Celebrities are not immune to the charm of Xbox either - it even
contributed to Britney Spears' recent split from Justin Timberlake due to his
apparent preference for Xbox. And anecdotal reports show that Xbox has entered
our vocabularies - sorry Harry Potter, but "wizard" is out...if something's
cool, then it's "totally Xbox"!


About Xbox


Xbox (http://www.xbox.com/)
is Microsoft's future-generation video game system that delivers never before
seen gameplay experiences. With more than three times the graphics performance
of the latest generation of game consoles, Xbox empowers game designers with the
technology to realise their vision of great games that are challenging,
exhilarating and fun. Xbox is now in Europe for an anticipated retail price of
¤479/£299.


About Microsoft


Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the
worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal
and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services
designed to empower people through great software - any time, any place and on
any device.