Wednesday 6 September 2006
In the wake of the news that Sony won't be launching PS3 in Europe until March 2007, we were keen to find out what Microsoft's official response - not just the obvious unofficial whooping, cheering and high-fiving - to the bombshell would be. And this is what Neil Thompson, Microsoft's UK director of Home and Entertainment Division, told us:
"We know how challenging it is to pull off a global launch, so it's not surprising that Sony has backed away from its previously announced launch plan due to the unproven technology it is trying to pack in to its console.
"Europe remains a priority for us and that is why gamers have been able to experience Xbox 360 from day one and why we're confident that we're going to have a great Christmas, regardless of what competitors are or are not in the market. Xbox 360 will have over 160 high-definition games including Viva Pinata from Rare, Gears of War from Epic, Pro Evolution Soccer 6 from Konami and FIFA 2007 from EA, a growing and innovating online gaming service, fantastic entertainment capabilities, optional HD-DVD capability and a great-value price.
"These factors will help us reach our goal of 10 million consoles sold worldwide by the end of the year."
So, while diplomatically sympathetic, Microsoft is keen to reinforce the fact that it is delivering the next-gen era in Europe right now, while Sony is still some way from the starting blocks.
Of course, with nearly 40 million PS2s shipped in Europe to date, Microsoft - and the rest of us - knows better than to underestimate the power of PlayStation. We'll just have to see what happens in Christmas 2007...