XBOX EUROPEAN LAUNCH A SUCCESS
Preliminary Reports Show Xbox Has Taken Europe By Storm
Thousands of gamers queued up at stores in the 16 European launch countries on the evening of 13th March 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, but with multiple games and accessories. Top-selling games include “Halo™,” “Project Gotham Racing™,” “RalliSport Challenge” and “Oddworld: Munch’s Oddysee™” from Microsoft® Game Studios, and “Dead or Alive 3” from Tecmo, “Max Payne” from Take-Two Interactive, Wreckless: The Yakuza Missions from Activision, and “Jet Set Radio Future” from Sega/Infogrames.
“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 1st and 3rd-party games. The strong line-up 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 on a weekly basis, ensuring there is enough product to cope with current demand. Microsoft expects to ship between 4.5 million and 6 million Xbox systems world-wide by the end of June. Xbox is the only console manufacturer with a European factory (in Sárvár, Hungary), which means stock can reach any retail outlet in Europe in under three days.
“I’m excited to finally see Xbox in the hands of gamers,” said Sandy Duncan, Vice President, Xbox Europe. “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 recognise 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 “Halo,” 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 (Capcom), Championship Manager: Season 01/02 (Eidos), and Shrek (TDK Mediactive). And, a steady stream of titles will support Xbox up to June 2002, including FIFA World Cup 2002 (Electronic Arts), International Superstar Soccer 2 (Konami), Moto GP (THQ), Spiderman: The Movie (Activision), Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Electronic Arts) and Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex (Universal Interactive).
"We had a very good weekend with Xbox," said Bruno Bonnell, Founder and CEO, Infogrames. "We have had to produce more copies of Jet Set Radio Future, one of our Xbox launch titles, to keep up with demand. Trans World 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 partnership."
The buzz surrounding the launch of Xbox manifested itself in many ways. A survey of new Xbox owners by Amazon.co.uk suggested that 74% were planning to take a day off work to stay home and play games – nearly half (46%) were going to feign illness as an excuse. Celebrities are not immune to the charm of Xbox either – it even contributed to Britney Spears' recent split from Justin Timberlake due to his apparent preference for Xbox. And anecdotal reports show that Xbox has entered our vocabularies – sorry Harry Potter, but “wizard” is out…if something’s cool, then it’s “totally Xbox”!