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Due to later than expected release of a game that is highly-anticipated in Japan, Microsoft Corp. did not only sell out the whole stock of the Xbox 360 consoles in the country, but even could not sell the amount of gaming machines that were acquired when the first Xbox was launched years ago.

Only about 62 000 units were purchased on December 10 and 11, according to an independent study by Enterbrain, which publishes leading Japanese game magazine “Famitsu”, reports Reuters news-agency. The company shipped 159 000 units to Japan for the launch, but it sold about half of the number of the original Xbox consoles in the first three days of sales in February 2002, according to the news-story.

The publication claims that lower than expected sales of the console were conditioned by the fact that the software giant had to setback the release of “Dead or Alive 4” game that was a highly-anticipated title in Japan. As is known, the portfolio of launch games for the Xbox 360 mainly includes titles that may interest gamers in the U.S. The consequence is that gamers in Japan may wait till December, 29, 2005, when the 3D fighting game is available, to get the new gaming platform from Microsoft. About 61.5% interested in buying the Xbox 360 were interested in getting the “Dead or Alive 4”.

“Microsoft had to start out strong and it failed to do that,” said Deutsche Securities analyst Takashi Oya, who also attributed the slow sales to the delay in the release of "Dead or Alive 4".

The world’s biggest software developer sold fewer than 500 000 of its original Xbox consoles in Japan, where Sony is estimated to have an 80% market share. Still, at this time, Microsoft Xbox 360 has the advantage of being the only next-generation console available for the next few months while Sony and Nintendo prepare to launch their PlayStation 3 and Revolution consoles next year.

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