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360 to Hit Asia by Early March 06

Microsoft plans to offer its Xbox 360 in Asian markets outside of Japan by early March, despite tight supply in the United States. The head of Microsoft’s Xbox business in Asia, Alan Bowman, said the console would hit the market in Korea on February 24 and March 2 in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore. Microsoft’s second offering in the game console market went on sale in the United States on November 22, December 2 in Europe, and is scheduled to reach shops in Japan on December 10.

Bowman, Asia-Pacific general manager for the Entertainment and Devices division, said Microsoft had resisted the temptation to delay international launch dates to meet U.S. demand. “Believe me, that conversation happened,” he told Reuters in a telephone interview on Friday. “We wanted to make sure within the first six months that we could get the 360 into all existing Xbox 1 markets.”

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Microsoft has not yet decided on prices, though it said Asian prices would be in line with the United States and Europe. The Xbox comes in a bare-bones “core unit” and a premium version with more accessories such as a hard drive. Microsoft is trying to cut into Sony’s commanding 70 percent market share of the global console market with the Xbox 360, a year ahead of the slated launch of PlayStation 3.