Microsoft delays Xbox launch date

Date now Nov. 15, closer to Nintendo's GameCube bow

Microsoft said Friday that it is delaying the launch of its Xbox vidgame console by a week to Nov. 15. Move now once again pairs its release closely with that of Nintendo’s new console GameCube, which bows on store shelves Nov. 18.

The news has lead major retailers to ask for increased shipments of GameCube to offset an expected shortfall in supply of Xbox consoles.

Microsoft said that it still plans to ship 1 million to 1.5 million units to retailers by the end of the year. It declined to comment on how many will be available the day the device goes on sale.

Microsoft will reportedly not be able to meet first-day shipments of 600,000-800,000 and will instead have to scale back to an initial 300,000 units. Following the introduction, Microsoft plans to provide retailers more than 100,000 units weekly. The devices are priced at $299.

Microsoft had already shifted Xbox’s intro in Japan to next year in order to focus on its U.S. bow.

Robbie Bach, Microsoft’s chief Xbox officer, said that the delay can’t be attributed to one thing. “We want the first weekend to be a great event for consumers and moving it to Nov. 15 is a way to ensure that,” he said.

Nintendo last month delayed the U.S. launch of GameCube from Nov. 5 to two weeks later in order to be able to ship 700,000 consoles. System will retail for $199.

Sales of GameCube in its Japanese launch last week were seen as disappointing as consumers in the country were more interested in news coverage of the terrorist attacks in the U.S. than in playing vidgames. Company sold 300,000 units, fewer than the 500,000 industryites had expected Nintendo to move.

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