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Microsoft confirms Xbox 360 sales targets

Microsoft's Peter Moore has stated that the company expects to sell 5 million Xbox 360 consoles by the end of June, confirming previous estimates for the eight months period since launch.

Bill Gates has stated that the company expects to have a 10 million unit head start on its rivals by the time any other next generation console reaches market.

The bold forecast was an extension of the current sales figures and mid-year targets announced by Peter Moore at the start of the pre-E3 conference, who said that the initial Xbox 360 sales were better than those of "other consoles" and described the machine as a cultural phenomenon.

Microsoft recently confirmed that it had shipped 3.3 million consoles worldwide since the US launch in November, journalist and Xbox 360 Uncloaked author Dean Takahashi stating that he believed the figure was actually the number of units sold through, rather than shipped.

However, that would still leave 1.3 million units to be sold in little over a month in order to reach the midway point, with a further 5 million sales expected by the November launch of the PS3 - an exceptionally ambitious target even with production now in full swing, following the widely reported component shortages that plagued the console's debut.

Microsoft remains confident however, and in a shower of further praise for the current success of the console, which has held the market lead in next generation console hardware for almost eight months, Peter Moore described the online Xbox Live services as "a gateway to new worlds of high definition content."

"In the next year, Xbox Live will surpass 6 million users," Moore stated, adding that the system has gone beyond early adopters and achieved a 57 per cent attach rate by the end of last week.

Paying special tribute to the Xbox Live Arcade service, which "strikes at the very core of what makes gaming fun," a demonstration reel of new content was played that included multiple new releases from over a hundred third party partnerships Microsoft has put in place.

Pushing beyond games, Microsoft talked about its partnership with Warner Music Group and additional movie and entertainment partnerships, confidently stating that "other consoles don't even come close."

The success of the Xbox 360, given the highly publicised issues surrounding the launch, is certainly something to be proud of. But this year's E3 is all about the introduction of new consoles from Sony and Nintendo, both of which share similar (and in some cases bolder) ambitions for next generation gaming and online entertainment. Whether or not Microsoft can maintain its lead and reach that ambitious 10 million target by November remains to be seen.

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