Microsoft denies Japanese Xbox launch delayed

Microsoft says it is on track to begin selling its Xbox game console in Japan on Feb. 22, despite comments made Wednesday by Richard Belluzzo, the company's president and chief operating officer, which indicated the console would begin shipping in Japan during March.

At a press conference in Taipei, Belluzzo responded to a question about whether the Japanese launch of Xbox had been delayed until March, saying, "We decided to take more time (launching Xbox in Japan) to be able to make more of an investment around online gaming and online services that go with the Xbox."

Speaking in Tokyo on Thursday, Belluzzo cited his remarks at the Taipei press conference as the reason for the confusion.

"The Xbox announcement confusion was caused by me," he said. "I did a press conference like this in Taiwan yesterday and there was a confusion about what I was saying about Europe versus the Japan launch. I didn't think I was confusing, but I must have been confusing. So, we are on track for launching the product here in Japan and we are very, very excited about that plan," he said.

Microsoft originally planned to put the Xbox on sale in Japan before the end of the year, in time for the Christmas shopping season. That release was later delayed until Feb. 22 as Microsoft focused its efforts on meeting demand for the console in the U.S., where Xbox was launched on Nov. 8.

At the same time it reaffirmed its commitment to a Feb. 22 Xbox launch in Japan, Microsoft confirmed that Xbox sales in Europe would begin on March 14.

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