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Microsoft Prepares for Japanese Xbox 360 Launch

Microsoft has begun rolling out its promotional material for the December 10 Japanese launch of the Xbox 360, its next-generation console, which will be released for 39,8...
Microsoft has begun rolling out its promotional material for the December 10 Japanese launch of the Xbox 360, its next-generation console, which will be released for 39,800 yen ($335 USD) on December 10th. Unlike the American release, the Japanese version will come in only one format, which includes the system, a wireless controller, the 20GB hard drive, an Xbox Live headset, HD AV cables, the media remote controller, broadband cable, and a 1-month trial membership for Xbox Live Gold. The official launch event will take place at the Tsutaya electronics store in the Shibuya district of Tokyo, where the original Xbox also debuted in 2002. Unlike the midnight countdown celebrations seen throughout the U.S., the Shibuya launch will officially happen at 7 A.M. Those who attend will receive free bonus goods from a specially constructed gashapon machine at the site. Other promotional constructs around Japan include the large Xbox 360-shaped kiosks, with a monitor set in the side of the oversized system to display promotional video and trailers for the system's games. The kiosks also include larger-than-life versions of the Xbox 360 controller, though the demos on display will not be playable. Finally, consumer site GameSpot translates an interview that Japanese Xbox general manager Yoshihiro Maruyama granted to Weekly Famitsu. In it, Maruyama says that despite the system's launching with only 6 games (Perfect Dark Zero, Ridge Racer 6, Need for Speed: Most Wanted, Every Party, FIFA 06: Road to FIFA World Cup, and Tetris: The Grandmaster Ace), he expects there to be over 100 titles available by the end of 2006. Microsoft of Japan will themselves strive to release one first-party game per month in the second half of Japan, though half of those will be Japanese localizations of Western games. Maruyama also revealed that company hopes to ship 3 million units worldwide by March, and 4.5 million by June.

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