Microsoft details Asian 360 launches

Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore to receive 360s early next year despite shortages in North America.

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Supplies of the Xbox 360 remain tight in North America and Europe, but that's not stopping Microsoft from continuing its plans to introduce the console around the world in record time. The game publisher adds Japan to the list of 360-equipped regions with its launch this coming Saturday, and Reuters is reporting that the system's Far Eastern exposure is going to increase early next year.

Alan Bowman, head of Microsoft's Asian Xbox operations, has said the console is slated for a Korean release February 24, 2006, followed a week later by March 2 launches in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Singapore.

There was talk of delaying these launches in order to meet US demand for the system, but in the end, Bowman said, Microsoft stuck to its guns.

"Believe me, that conversation happened," he told Reuters. "We wanted to make sure within the first six months that we could get the 360 into all existing Xbox 1 markets."

Where Microsoft is going exclusively with a hard-drive-equipped model of the 360 in Japan, gamers in these new markets will have the same choice of core or premium systems as their European and North American counterparts. Bowman said the prices for the Asian systems will be in line with those from other regions, which currently range from $299 for an American core system to 279 pounds (about $485) for a premium Xbox 360 in the UK.

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