Xbox UK boss Neil Thompson has told GamesIndustry.biz that Microsoft is not surprised Sony has "backed away" from its commitment to a global launch for PlayStation 3.

"We know how challenging it is to pull off a global launch, so it's not surprising that Sony has backed away from their previously announced launch plan, due to the unproven technology they are trying to pack in to their console," he said.

Microsoft brought Xbox 360 to market in Europe, Japan and North America late last year, pulling off a simultaneous global launch - although hardware shortages did follow. With the PS3 delayed until March, MS now faces one less competitor this Christmas; but according to Thompson, that will make little difference to the success of Xbox 360.

"Europe remains a priority for us. That is why gamers have been able to experience Xbox 360 from day one, and why we're confident we're going to have a great Christmas - regardless of what competitors are or are not in the market," he stated.

Thompson went on to observe that Xbox 360 owners will have more than 160 software titles to choose from, with the likes of Viva Pinata, Gears of War, Pro Evolution Soccer 6 and FIFA 2007 due out in time for Christmas.

In addition, Thompson continued, Xbox 360 offers "a growing and innovating online gaming service, fantastic entertainment capabilities, optional HD-DVD capability and a great value price".

He concluded, "These factors will help us reach our goal of 10 million consoles sold worldwide by the end of the year."

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