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    Microsoft Executive: Xbox 360 Sales Likely To Stay Strong In '08

    February 11, 2008: 07:28 AM EST


    SINGAPORE -(Dow Jones)- Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) expects sales of its Xbox 360 game console to continue to grow this year - even if there is a global economic slowdown.

    Demand for high-definition TV sets is likely to continue as consumers tend to focus on home improvement and home entertainment during economic downturns, said Alan Bowman, general manager of Microsoft's entertainment and devices division for Asia Pacific and Greater China.

    He added that the 360's focus on high-definition games puts it in a good position to weather the economic problems.

    "If people are going to buy HD TVs, they're going to want to put content through that," he said.

    Sales in the last three months of 2007 were brisk at 4.3 million consoles, said Bowman, despite the concerns of a U.S. recession.

    "We were selling everything we could make," he said.

    The XBox 360 is currently second in terms of the number of consoles shipped at 17.7 million units since its launch in November 2005.

    Nintendo has shipped more than 20 million units of its Wii console since its November 2006 launch while Sony has moved about 10.5 million units of its PlayStation 3 console since then.

    But Bowman said the XBox 360 revenue, including sale of accessories, games and services, was 3.5 times higher than that of the PlayStation 3 and about 2.5 times that of the Wii in the U.S. market alone.

    "It's not just about the actual number of consoles," said Bowman.

    He also said that Microsoft can take advantage of its XBox Live online service to provide content such as movies and TV shows for download.

    The company has already reached its target of 10 million XBox Live online service users for fiscal year 2008 ending in June.

    Microsoft is also working with developers in various countries in Asia to develop games more attractive to the region and is exploring how to provide regional video content to the markets through its online service.

    Bowman declined to provide figures on how much Microsoft expects the console business to grow by and did not say how many consoles the company expects to sell by the end of 2008.

    -By Se Young Lee, Dow Jones Newswires; 65 6415 4155; vincent.lee@dowjones.com

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