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Microsoft confirms March launch date for Xbox 360 in Australia

In the midst of an ambitious and unique tri-continent hardware launch, Microsoft has confirmed the pricing and dates for the arrival of its next generation Xbox 360 console in Australia.

In the midst of an ambitious and unique tri-continent hardware launch, Microsoft has confirmed the pricing and dates for the arrival of its next generation Xbox 360 console in Australia.

Despite being one of the most successful territories for Microsoft, Australia will not be receiving the next generation games console until March 2nd, 2006. However, given the early reports of a widespread lack of retail units in the US where the console first hit stores yesterday, it is likely that the delay will aid the Australian launch in terms of both hardware stocks and available software titles.

The pricing structure has been confirmed as AUD 649.95 (EURO 407) for the premium system, including hard-drive, wireless controller and additional accessories, or AUD 499.95 (EURO 313) for the core system minus hard drive and with a wired controller. Peripheral pricing was also confirmed for the wireless controller at AUD 79.95 (EURO 50), the 20Gb hard drive and wireless networking adaptor for AUD 169.95 (EURO 106) each and the 64MB memory unit will be available for AUD 49.95 (EURO 31).

In terms of the all-important software line-up, no firm details have been released, though given the delay between launches, it is likely that Australian gamers will benefit from a much wider selection of both first and third party software in March. Microsoft has stated that some 200 games are currently in development for the system, 18 of which were on the shelves from day one of the US launch on November 22nd.

The first of the forthcoming next generation consoles will be released in Europe on December 2nd, following a week later on December 10th in Japan. Early reports from the US launch suggest that numerous retailers have completely exhausted their initial stock, as fans queued for almost 28 hours to secure the new machine.

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Paul Loughrey

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