Microsoft plans to launch the Xbox 360 in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and South Africa via both specialist and mainstream retailers by the end of 2007, according to European Xbox boss Chris Lewis.
Speaking to the Financial Times, Lewis said that launching in new territories was a key part of company strategy with regard to securing a strong foothold in the console market before the PlayStation 3 arrives in November.
Lewis identified Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland and Russia as key territories within Eastern Europe. He said that the Xbox 360 will go on sale in high street electronics retailers through deals with multinationals such as Media Markt and DSG International, as well as specialist retailers.
Lewis went on to say that each territory will have access to a localised version of Xbox Live, enabling them to communicate with other gamers using their own language, and that local helplines will also be established.
Europe is undoubtedly a key region for Microsoft with regard to the battle of the next-gen consoles. With the Xbox 360 performing well in the US but poorly in Japan, European sales could be the deciding factor in determining which of the big three leads the market following the release of the PS3 and Nintendo Revolution.