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Market and equity research firm Goldman Sachs believes Microsoft Corp. will ship three million of Xbox 2 consoles already this year, which will put the company into a much more favourable position in the U.S. market compared to Sony, who is not expected to unleash its PlayStation 3 until mid-2006, according to the analysts.

Initial Xbox 2 Sales May Double Xbox Sales

In a research note released to clients on Tuesday Goldman Sachs projected that Microsoft’s next Xbox console will go on sale in October or November, 2005, and claimed that the software giant may ship 3 million units already this year. The gaming machine will cost between $250 and $300, according to Goldman Sachs, but other analysts predict the cost of the Xbox 2 to be $400, CNET News.com web-site notes.

The October and November timeframe for the Xbox 2 launch sounds reasonable, as Microsoft probably wants to be in position to sell the consoles during the pre-Christmas season, when buyers are more active.

By February, 2005, Microsoft Corp. had shipped more than 22 million of Xbox console, according to the company. In the first two weeks of sales more than a million of Microsoft Xbox consoles were sold in 2001 and the company said it aimed to ship up to 1.5 million of the Xbox machines totally in 2001.

Microsoft Xbox 2 console is based around microprocessor developed by IBM, high-definition visual processing unit designed by ATI Technologies, I/O controller engineered by SiS and some other key components. The gaming machine will feature wireless network connectivity and will provide a broad set of multimedia capabilities, it is projected.

Microsoft Xbox 2 May Debut Days Before Sony PlayStation 3

The next-generation console by Microsoft Corp. will be formally announced on the 12th of May, 2005, during a special show at MTV channel. Viewers will get the first look at the Xbox vision for the next generation – one that ensures that the user experience is always connected, always personalized and always in high definition. The special will feature never-before-seen gameplay of future Xbox games, a peek into the future of the Xbox Live online gaming service, backstage celebrity interviews and exclusive insider footage on the making of the next-generation console.

Goldman Sachs claims Microsoft Corp. will continue to manufacture and supply the original Xbox console for quite a while after the Xbox 2 launch to address price-conscious customers and emerging markets. Microsoft officials recently confirmed that new games for the Xbox console launched in late 2001 would be released throughout 2007.

Sony’s PlayStation 3 console is expected to debut on the 16th of May, 2005. It is yet unclear when the console will be released commercially, but game developers project the console to be available in 2006.

Neither Microsoft or Sony representatives commented on the news-story.

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