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Microsoft Corp. released the list of game titles expected to be available at the launch of the highly-anticipated Xbox 360 game console. The list includes variety of game types and some exclusive titles to attract additional attention. Microsoft’s chief executive said that the Xbox 360 had “strong momentum” despite the lower-than-expected number of units to be shipped and boosted shipment estimates of rival Sony.

“We have very strong momentum, particularly in the northern parts of Europe, United States, Australia ... I know for sure, 100%, we will do much better in Japan than we did with Xbox 1,” Steve Ballmer, Microsoft chief executive, said at a press-conference in Tokyo, Japan, Reuters news-agency reports.

Analysts expect the Redmond, Washington-based software giant to ship between 1.5 million and 2 million Xbox 360 consoles to sell in the retail this year, up from 1.5 million of the original Xbox consoles which were planned to be shipped in 2001. Microsoft is aiming to sell 2.75 million to 3 million Xbox 360 units in the first 90 days after the launch date, according to Reuters. Three million is not a high figure for the console that will not have a direct competitor as Sony’s PlayStation 3 is only expected to arrive in mid-2006, according to some analysts. Given that Sony recently increased PlayStation 2 shipments estimates, it can be assumed that either Microsoft provides very conservative supply guidance or Sony has reasons to believe that the demand towards its products will higher than expected.

The head of Microsoft believes that the success of the Xbox 360 in Japan will be conditioned by success of locally developed games that will be eventually available.

“Given the excitement and enthusiasm from many of the game developing companies here in Japan, I expect us to do quite well,” Mr. Ballmer is reported to have said.

While Mr. Ballmer was seemingly optimistic about the Xbox 360 performance in Japan, the lineup of games to be available on “day one” does not include a single title developed for the Japanese audience by Japanese game developers. The list of games includes the following:

  • Amped 3 (2K Sports);
  • Call of Duty 2 (Activision);
  • Condemned: Criminal Origins (SEGA Corp.);
  • FIFA Soccer 06 Road to 2006 FIFA World Cup (Electronic Arts);
  • GUN (Activision);
  • Kameo: Elements of Power (Microsoft Game Studios and Rare);
  • Madden NFL 06 (Electronic Arts);
  • NBA 2K6 (2K Sports);
  • NBA LIVE 06 (Electronic Arts);
  • Need for Speed Most Wanted (Electronic Arts);
  • NHL 2K6 (2K Sports);
  • Perfect Dark Zero (Microsoft Game Studios and Rare);
  • Peter Jackson’s King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie (Ubisoft);
  • Project Gotham Racing 3 (Microsoft Game Studios and Bizarre Creations);
  • Quake 4 (id Software and Activision);
  • Ridge Racer 6 (Namco);
  • Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 06 (Electronic Arts);
  • Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland (Activision).

Microsoft Xbox 360 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 provide a broad set of multimedia capabilities in addition to games. Depending on the bundle, Microsoft Xbox 360 will cost $299 or $399.

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