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10m 360s by end 2006 - Moore

As in 'sold', not 'I will have'.

Microsoft corporate vice president Peter Moore has given the first firm indications of the company's sales ambitions for the Xbox 360 over the coming year, which see ten million consoles being shipped by the end of 2006.

Moore outlined the company's targets in an interview with US website GameSpot at the Zero Hour launch event for the Xbox 360, which was held this week in an airplane hangar in Palmdale, California.

"In the first 90 days, I believe we'll be somewhere between two and a half and three million units worldwide," he said, echoing projections made by Xbox division CFO Bryan Lee at an investment conference earlier this month.

"Perhaps equally importantly," he continued, "by the end of the calendar year [2006], I think we'll be at 10 million units worldwide."

That figure is important not only because it gives a clear indication of how quickly Microsoft expects to build up its installed base, but also because Moore himself attached a special importance to it when he spoke to the ELSPA Games Summit earlier this year - telling the audience that he believed that the first console to hit the 10m mark would have a significant advantage in the next-gen battle.

Xbox 360 will follow up on its sell-out US launch with a European launch next Friday, December 2nd.