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Xbox Launch Kicks Off $500 Million Microsoft Marketing Blitz

The Xbox launched at midnight across North America today, and with $500 million in funds to promote the new console, Microsoft, retailers, and many game developers and publishers are pinning their hopes on its success.
In an interview with Reuters, Toys R Us Chairman and CEO John Eyler was upbeat about the 2001 holiday outlook, saying "We expect this holiday season to be a better-than-average one, particularly because of the tremendous excitement in the video game field." In New York, Bill Gates helped kick off the Xbox launch by signing consoles for consumers in the early morning who had been waiting in line for hours to buy the units. Microsoft says the console is available in 15,000 retail locations across North America, and that it plans to ship 100,000 new units to retail throughout North America each week. It says its goal is to ship 1-1.5 million units by the end of 2001. Analysts and industry executives, however, predict that the actual number will be at the lower end of that range.

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