GADGETS

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Xbox 360’s ‘99 Nights’ to launch in April











Microsoft Corp. said on Wednesday it will launch “Ninety-Nine Nights,” one of the highly anticipated games for its Xbox 360 console, on April 20 in Japan for 6,800 yen ($58). Microsoft is counting on the game to drive sales of Xbox 360s in Japan after sales of consoles in the first month fell short of those in the failed launch of the original Xbox four years ago.

The company has been struggling to gain ground in Japan against local rivals Nintendo Co. Ltd. and Sony Corp., whose PlayStation 2 console is the global best seller. While Xbox 360 has the advantage of being the only next-generation game console in the market — Sony and Nintendo both plan to launch next-generation game machines this year — Microsoft had sold 112,657 units as of January 29 in Japan, according to a survey by Enterbrain, the publisher of leading Japanese game magazine Famitsu.

“Ninety-Nine Nights” is a big-scale battle game produced by Japanese game designer Tetsuya Mizuguchi’s Q Entertainment in partnership with South Korean developer Phantagram. Mizuguchi, one of Japan’s top game developers behind titles such as “Lumines” for Sony’s Playstation Portable, was tapped in the hopes of attracting Japanese game fans. Microsoft said it does not yet have specific plans to launch “Ninety-Nine Nights” outside of Japan.

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