Xbox 360 to expand to three more regions

Microsoft is reportedly eyeing Eastern European, Middle Eastern, and South African launches for its console in the next 18 months.

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After bringing the Xbox 360 to market in America, Canada, parts of Europe, and Japan last holiday season, Microsoft set to work filling in the territorial gaps in between. Already this year the console has launched in Mexico, Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, Colombia, Taiwan, New Zealand, and Australia, and at least one Microsoft suit has indicated a desire to launch in China in 2006. The list of Xbox 360-equipped countries looks to grow even more, as The Financial Times is reporting that Microsoft has plans to launch its system in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and South Africa in the next 18 months.

In particular, The Financial Times focuses on the Eastern Europe launch. It says Microsoft is aiming to target Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland, and Russia with the Xbox 360, and that Microsoft's plans call for it to initiate the launch through specialty game retailers and international retailers like Germany's Media Markt or DSG International, the British owner of Dixons, Currys, and PC World. Outside of the UK, DSG's retail brands include Elkjøp, UniEuro, Kotsovolos, Electro World, and PC City.

Chris Lewis, Microsoft's head of Xbox operations for the regions in question, told The Times that the expansion into new territories was instrumental in the company's strategy to fend off Sony and its forthcoming PlayStation 3. He also said Microsoft, which has already made high-profile acquisitions of European development studios Rare and Lionhead, would continue to cater to European tastes, and possibly might create niche offerings for specific countries.

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