Pre-TGS '07: Microsoft lays out latest Japan plan

Console maker prepares for the shopping season in island nation with new titles, budget reprints, and additional hardware.

TOKYO--At the Xbox 360 Briefing 2007 in Japan today, Takashi Sensui, general manager of Xbox Japan, disclosed Microsoft's upcoming holiday strategy for the retailers and game dealers in attendance.

Takashi Sensui proudly displays the Xbox Messenger chatpad.

Addressing the current statistics of the Xbox 360, Sensui noted that there are 170 titles available for the console in Japan, including those on Xbox Live Arcade. The library will grow to 250 titles by the end of the year. Sensui emphasized that Microsoft won't be pulling its punches for this shopping season in Japan and is readying a significant lineup of games as well as new hardware.

The major titles for this shopping season are similar to those anticipated elsewhere in the world, including Project Gotham Racing 4, Halo 3, Beautiful Katamari, Ace Combat 6, Viva Pinata: Party Animals, and Lost Odyssey. Microsoft will also be adding new best-selling Xbox 360 games to its discounted Platinum Collection beginning November 1. Tecmo's Dead or Alive 4 and Dead or Alive Xtreme 2, Microsoft Game Studios' Blue Dragon and Gears of War, D3 Publisher's Chikyu Bouei-gun 3 and Onei-chanbara, and Square Enix's Project Sylpheed will be released at 2,940 Yen ($26), while Capcom's Lost Planet: Extreme Condition will be offered at 3,990 Yen ($35). A special bundle featuring Dead Rising and Gears of War will also be available for 5,240 Yen ($46).

Japan is seeing blue.

Microsoft also plans to release in Japan the same lineup of hardware that's offered in North America. As previously reported, Japan will be getting the Xbox 360 Elite bundle and black wireless controller on October 11, with the light blue and pink wireless controllers following on November 1. The Xbox Messenger Kit, which includes an attachable chatpad and a headset, will also be released in Japan, although no date was announced at today's briefing.

Sensui also revealed the latest figures for the worldwide use of Xbox Live. Microsoft's online service currently has more than 7 million users, and the publisher is aiming to boost that number to 10 million worldwide by the end of June 2008. He also said Xbox Live users have spent a total of 2.9 billion hours online so far, and the approximately 9,000 bits of content have been downloaded more than 220 million times.

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