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Xbox European launch details revealed

Microsoft remembers there's life on this side of the Atlantic

Dark blue icons of video game controllers on a light blue background
Image credit: Eurogamer

Microsoft has finally broken its vow of silence in Europe to reveal the first concrete details of the Xbox launch on this side of the pond. The console will be released in sixteen European countries on March 14th for £299 or €479, with 1.5 million units expected to be available by the end of June. Weekly stock replacements from the Xbox assembly plant in Hungary are being promised but there is no clue as to how many consoles will actually be on store shelves for launch day. Meanwhile the games themselves are mostly expected to cost £45 / €69. All of which is (give or take a few days and a couple of euros) much as we had anticipated. Amongst the other announcements coming out of Microsoft's X01 event in southern France this week were a handful of new games - a mission-based driving game from Activision called Wreckless, a predictable enough Xbox version of F1 2002 from Electronic Arts, and claims that Ghost Recon from UbiSoft will be an Xbox exclusive. Which is odd, because the game was running very nicely on a PC at ECTS, and the last we heard it was due for release here on the beige box in December. Maybe Microsoft have some strange definition of the word "exclusive". Finally Peter Molyneux was on site to show off another (truly) Xbox exclusive game from one of the Lionhead satellite studios, in this case BC from Intrepid Games. No, we're none the wiser either. No doubt we will soon be hearing more about this title ad nauseam though... Sega were showing off playable versions of GunValkyrie, Sega GT 2002 and Jet Set Radio Future, but all three games were at the Tokyo Game Show last week anyway, as was Tecmo's Dead or Alive 3. Eidos had the Xbox version of Championship Manager up and running, which must really have pushed the console's graphical capabilities, while Infogrames demonstrated Transworld Surfing for the first time. UbiSoft showcased Rayman M and Batman Vengeance, but both games had already been pushed on PlayStation 2 at the ECTS trade show in London just last month. To round things off THQ gave the first European demonstration of the Xbox-exclusive Moto GP. So that's it, for now at least. More details should start to leak out over the coming days as the lucky handful of journalists who were invited to the event recover from their hangovers and the Carl Cox DJ set that rounded the night off, and maybe one day Microsoft will even explain how the console's online gaming capabilities are going to work in Europe. For now though they are preserving their .. um .. mystique. Related Feature - Is Xbox the future of online gaming?

Source - press release

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