Microsoft unveils Xbox 360 worldwide release dates

New Microsoft's Xbox 360 games console will be in US shops on 22 November, the company has announced.

The software giant is set to be the first of the console makers to release a next generation machine.

Once launched in the US, the Xbox 360 is due to be in stores in Japan and Europe in early December. Up to 20 games will be ready at the launch.

The move could give it an vital edge over rival Sony which plans to release its PlayStation 3 in spring 2006, reports BBC.

According to Forbes, Microsoft earlier announced it is selling the Xbox 360 game console at 300 usd in the US and 299 eur in Europe.

"Japan is a very important market for our global strategy and launching our console ahead of rival platforms will give us certain advantage," said Yoshihiro Maruyama, head of the Xbox division at Microsoft KK, the Japanese unit of the US computer giant.

"Unless we achieve meaningful success here, we cannot say we are a winner in the next-generation console battle," Maruyama told a news conference.

Rival Sony Computer Entertainment Inc earlier said it would release its next-generation game console, PlayStation 3, around the spring of 2006.

In a bid to build a strong foothold in one of the world's key entertainment markets, Microsoft said it has partnered with some well-known Japanese game creators including Hironobu Sakaguchi, creator of the popular 'Final Fantasy' series, former Capcom Co Ltd chief operating officer Yoshiki Okamoto and Sega Corp creator Tetsuya Mizuguchi.

'The key to success is how effectively we can make Japanese players understand that we have rich content and software line-ups,' Maruyama said. 'Because one of the key reasons for the failure of our first generation Xbox is lack of blockbuster titles which can satisfy Japanese players.'

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