1.6m X360s to ship by year-end?

Analysts again.

Analysts at Piper Jaffray have released a set of estimates for the shipment figures of Microsoft's Xbox 360 when it launches at the end of this year, suggesting that Europe may get as few as 400,000 units by Janaury '06.

The figures, which were reported by Forbes Magazine, show 1 million Xbox 360s shipping in North America during 2005, with 400,000 units going to Europe and 200,000 to Japan.

Piper Jaffray belives that Microsoft will hit a November launch in the USA and Europe, with Japan following a few weeks later - but if their estimate of only 400,000 units in the channel for Europe is correct, the launch in this territory could be affected seriously by shortages.

In terms of software, the analysts believe that Xbox 360 will be accompanied by 15 titles at launch, with 25 to 40 games available by the end of the year - and expect North American software pricing to be $59.99, which almost certainly ties in with the UKP 45 price point suggested by senior sources here last week for Xbox 360 games.

Piper Jaffray also takes a stab at guessing the launch price for the system - coming down at a $299 price point for the standard console, with a $399 price point being suggested for an enhanced hardware pack including a number of additional components.

No pricing detail has yet been officially confirmed for the Xbox 360, with the only solid comment made on it so far being J Allard's observation that the price is unlikely to be very different to the last Xbox - which rolled out at $299 in North America.

However, some sources have hinted that since Ken Kutaragi has begun indicating that the PlayStation 3 may be extremely expensive, Microsoft has been considering higher price points for its system.

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