Microsoft has finally named the day for the European launch of X-box, and says there will be no stock shortages.
The games console will go on sale on 14 March priced at £299 - £100 more than Sony's PlayStation 2, and the slated price for Nintendo's GameCube when it launches next year.
Some 1.5 million X-box consoles will go on sale across 16 European countries in the three months after the launch, the firm said, although no day one figures have been provided and the total includes "weekly replenishment" totals from Microsoft's Hungarian factory. X-box launches in the US next month, and in Japan in February 2002.
The 1.5 million available consoles will be split between Germany, France, the UK, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
Despite the number of countries being supplied, X-box European vice president Sandy Duncan insists that nobody who wants one will have to wait.
"Gamers will not have to wait to get their X-box home and start playing," he said. "Thanks to our dedicated X-box factory in Hungary, we can ensure that the large demand in Europe will be met without shortages."
Games will be priced at around £45, but Microsoft has yet to say how many will be ready by launch day.
It has, however, detailed more developments at a lavish event in Cannes to celebrate the release confirmation. In all, demos of over 40 game titles are being shown, although some show video footage only.
Newly unveiled demos of X-box titles include the Peter Molyneux-guided pair of Project Ego and BC, F1 2002 from EA, Wreckless from Activision, Dead or Alive 3 from Tecmo, Championship Manager from Eidos, and others from Sega, Infogames, Ubi Soft and THQ.
Unlike its rivals X-box has features such as a hard drive and broadband-ready connections to allow more PC-like gaming, such as data-intensive strategy games and online game playing.
But thanks to X-box's March 2002 date, and a similar slow European arrival for Nintendo's GameCube, Sony has been handed a two-Christmas head start for its rival PlayStation 2 machine.
Sony recently lopped £70 off PlayStation 2, which now has a street price of around £199, and the company promised 90 additional titles before Christmas. The firm claims it has now shipped 20 million PlayStation 2's worldwide.
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