Delay for XBL down under?


XBox Australia regional director, Alan Bowman, said the online gaming service would be launched this year, but wouldn’t provide a

description of the time-frame for the launch more specific than “soon”.

“There’s a whole lot of things we need to do to make sure that the Australian consumer experience is right…we’re definitely

committed but we’ve just got to confirm the time-frame,” a spokesperson for XBox Australia said today.

Sony Computer Entertainment Australia (SCEA), incumbent game console market leader, late last year committed to launching its

PlayStation2 online gaming service by mid 2003.

Microsoft has used aggressive tactics to challenge the domination of SCEA’s Sony PlayStation 2 platform console, including

drastically marking down the price of the XBox in April 2002 shortly after its launch. At the time it was widely seen as move to gain

the confidence of game developers.

Microsoft yesterday claimed that XBox’s market penetration had reached critical mass required for development of titles for the

console to accelerate.

According to market intelligence firm Informa, Microsoft has sold around 225,000 units since its launch 10 months ago — which it

claims is 100,000 more than the number of PS2 units SCEA sold wthin the same period after its launch.

“We are proud to say that we already have around 150 great games available and expect to have around 250 games by June this

year,” said Bowman.