Xbox European Launch a Success

LONDON, March 21, 2002 — The dust has cleared from the European launch of the Xbox™
video game system, the future-generation console from Microsoft Corp., and preliminary reports indicate it’s a runaway hit.

Thousands of gamers lined up at stores in the 16 European launch countries on the evening of March 13 to be among the first to purchase Xbox, resulting in a near sell-out in its first day at retail. Early reports also show a huge demand for games and accessories, with most customers leaving stores not only with an Xbox system, but with several games and accessories. Top-selling games include
“Halo™ ,” “Project Gotham Racing™ ,” “RalliSport Challenge™ ”
“Oddworld: Munch’s Oddysee™ ” from Microsoft® Game Studios, as well as
“Dead or Alive 3”
from Tecmo,
“Max Payne”
from Take-Two Interactive,
“WRECKLESS: The Yakuza Missions™ ”
from Activision and
“JSRF — Jet Set Radio Future™ ” from SEGA® .

“We have been pleased with Xbox sales over its first weekend,”
said Lisa Morgan, commercial director for GAME and Electronics Boutique.
“Hardware sales were particularly impressive on launch day and we’ve seen a good attachment rate covering both first- and third-party games. The strong lineup of day-one games has undoubtedly contributed to a successful console launch for Microsoft.”

Microsoft’s replenishment strategy means that a steady supply of Xbox systems will be hitting retail outlets weekly, helping ensure there is enough product to meet current demand. Microsoft expects to ship between 4.5 million and 6 million Xbox systems worldwide by the end of June. Xbox is the only console manufacturer with a European factory (in S
r, Hungary), which means stock can reach any retail outlet in Europe in less than three days.

“I’m excited to finally see Xbox in the hands of gamers,”
said Sandy Duncan, vice president of Xbox Europe at Microsoft.
“I’ve always known that Xbox is the best video game system ever, but after playing games with people at launch I see that gamers also recognize the amazing power and intense fun that only Xbox can offer. European gamers have welcomed Xbox into their hearts and into their homes in a big way.”

Word-of-mouth recommendations and stellar reviews are driving gamers to the great games available on Xbox, including
which earned a perfect 10 score from the influential European gaming bible Edge.

Twenty Xbox titles are now on sale, with more lined up in the next two weeks, such as
“F1 2002”
(Electronic Arts),
“Genma Onimusha”
“Championship Manager: Season 01/02”
(Eidos) and
“Shrek™ ”
(TDK Mediactive Inc.). A steady stream of titles will support Xbox up to June 2002, including
“2002 FIFA World Cup”
(Electronic Arts),
“International Superstar Soccer 2”
“Moto GP”
(THQ Inc.),
“Spider-Man® : The Movie Game™ ”
“Buffy the Vampire Slayer”
(Electronic Arts) and
“Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex™ ”
(Universal Interactive, Inc.).

“We had a very good weekend with Xbox,”
said Bruno Bonnell, founder and CEO of Infogrames Entertainment SA.
“We have had to produce more copies of ‘JSRF — Jet Set Radio Future,’ one of our Xbox launch titles, to keep up with demand. ‘TransWorld Surf’ is also doing well for us. This is a very good sign for the long-term success of Xbox, and we look forward to a long relationship.”

The buzz surrounding the launch of Xbox manifested itself in many ways. A survey of new Xbox owners by (’s U.K. division) suggested that 74 percent were planning to take a day off work to stay home and play games — nearly half (46 percent) were going to feign illness as an excuse.

About Xbox

Xbox ( ) is Microsoft’s future-generation video game system that delivers never-before-seen gameplay experiences. With more than three times the graphics performance of the latest generation of game consoles, Xbox empowers game designers with the technology to realize their vision of great games that are challenging, exhilarating and fun. Xbox is now available in North America, Japan, Europe and Australia.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.

Microsoft, Xbox, Halo and Project Gotham Racing are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

JSRF — Jet Set Radio Future™
is published in North America by Sega of America Inc. and in Europe by Infogrames.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

For more information on Xbox and the X01 event:

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at on Microsoft’s corporate information pages. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may since have changed. Journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team for additional assistance.

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