One of the stories we missed during the frenetic build-up to E3 earlier in the week was Microsoft's first official confirmation of sales figures for the Xbox in Europe. A disappointing debut saw Microsoft falling back on the excuse that "we typically don't provide sales breakdowns on a regional basis", but following a dramatic price cut and the arrival of some more Euro-centric software (namely soccer games), things are apparently starting to look up. Unsurprisingly Microsoft have abandoned their vow of silence now they have something positive to report... At a news conference on the eve of E3, Xbox supremo Robbie Bach revealed that over half a million Xboxes have been sold in Europe during its first two months on sale here. While this is certainly an impressive turn-around in fortunes, it bears remembering that the GameCube sold around 400,000 units during its first weekend in Europe, and has probably already overtaken the Xbox in terms of total sales. Still, the console war on our side of the pond is at least beginning to look more like a three horse race than a three legged pub crawl. Meanwhile, back in America, the Xbox shifted 1.8m units during its first five months (that's through to mid-April) and is no doubt hovering somewhere around the two million mark by now. Things remain tough in Japan, with Bach admitting that "a year ago people said Japan would be a tough market for us, and they were right". But on the bright side, coming off the back of a strong showing at E3 which was in stark contrast to last year's disappointing outing, things have arguably never looked so good for the Xbox. A worldwide installed base of over 2.5m just six months into its life, a solid line-up of exclusive and ported titles on the horizon and competitive pricing in all territories should ensure its future, even though it's highly unlikely ever to catch up with Sony's gargantuan headstart. Related Feature - Xbox delivers at E3
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