Europe key battleground - MS

Sony's brand strength to beat.

Microsoft expects to sell more Xbox 360 consoles in Japan in 2008 than it did in 2007, but Europe will be the key battleground, reports.

The company told Reuters that recent and upcoming games from popular Japanese designers should help boost sales in Japan where the Xbox 360 lags behind both the PS3 and Wii.

"We will sell more consoles next year than this year," said Jeff Bell, head of global marketing for Microsoft's games business.

Bell said that the Xbox 360 was strong in Britain and gaining market share in France and Germany, but that sales of the PS3 had been lifted there by recent price cuts.

"Europe for us is still the swing," Bell said in an interview with Reuters. "The biggest challenge is that Sony as a brand has had greater staying power than in other areas. Not just PlayStation 3, but Sony as a brand."

Commenting on the potential benefit to Microsoft of Wii shortages, Bell pointed out that third-party publishers have not enjoyed success on Nintendo's console so far.

"Clearly, we have a competitor where they win and no one else wins. That is not sustainable, it has never been sustainable." wonders if having appealing videogames will be a battleground.

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