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Microsoft Plans October 360 Elite Launch For Japan

Microsoft Plans October 360 Elite Launch For Japan

July 5, 2007 | By Jason Dobson

July 5, 2007 | By Jason Dobson
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Microsoft has confirmed that it will release the Xbox 360 Elite, which includes a 120GB hard drive, a high-definition multimedia interface (HDMI) port, a high-definition cable, and a premium black finish, in Japan on October 11.

According to a Reuters report, Microsoft will debut the console in the region for 47,800 ($390), a significant discount from the $479 price carried by the console in North America, where the Elite debuted in April. The regular Xbox 360 currently costs 29,800 ($243) in Japan.

Despite the console's generally anemic sales compared to that of the Wii or PlayStation 3, with the most recent regional sales charts showing just 17,616 units sold in June, compared to the 270,974 Wii consoles and 41,628 of the PlayStation 3, the company continues to try and make inroads with the country via software exclusives.

Apart from Mistwalker's Blue Dragon (which registered 80,348 units in its debut week), June saw Bandai Namco's RPG Trusty Bell: Chopin's Dream (to be known as Eternal Sonata in the West)debut at 49,334 unit sales, alongside an exclusive console bundle.

Final Fantasy and Blue Dragon creator Hironobu Sakaguchi continues to focus his upstart Mistwalker studio on the console, with Lost Odyssey, a Feel Plus co-created Xbox 360 RPG exclusive still forthcoming, in addition to the Artoon co-created Xbox 360 title Cry On.

In May, though, Sakaguchi said Microsoft "has to change its marketing strategy in Japan."

"There are a lot of excellent games on the 360," he continued, "far better games than what's on the Wii or PS3. But not a lot of people in Japan have a clear idea what games like Gears of War are all about. Just look at the Windows Vista commercial - it's terrible.""

Microsoft has yet to announce a European release for the lite console, though some rumors have predicted an August release, speculation that Microsoft has neither confirmed nor denied.


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