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15m Xbox 360s sold by mid-2007?

So Microsoft says, we're not sure

Microsoft yesterday confidently predicted that it will have sold as many as 15 million Xbox 360 game consoles by the end of its fiscal 2007, which ends 30 June next year.

The company expects to have shipped more than 10 million consoles by the end of this year. By the end of June, 2007, the company expects its sales to total between 13 million and 15 million units since the launch.

Its forecast for its fiscal 2007 is to ship between 8 million and 10 million Xbox 360 game machines.

The bullish forecast could help give the company an edge in the game console wars against its main rivals, Sony and Nintendo. Microsoft faces a tough fight against the two Japanese companies, particularly since its first Xbox never fared as well as the PlayStation 2, and because Sony will launch its next generation console, PlayStation 3, later this year.

But an early launch for the Xbox 360 should help the company both in gaining users who want a next generation console immediately and in giving it time to figure out ways to lower production costs.

Capturing a portion of the Japanese market will be particularly tough.

"We always knew in Sony's and Nintendo's home ground it was going to be a tough market," said Alan Bowman general manager of Xbox Asia for Microsoft. He said the key to increasing market share in Japan is working with top game developers there to get their titles out for the Xbox 360.

Microsoft has sold 3.3 million of the popular game machines in the US, 1.3 million in Europe and 400,000 in the rest of the world since its 22 November launch last year.


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