March 14 to be the date for Xbox Europe release

Microsoft Xbox will be available in Europe on March 14 and will cost about $435 at current exchange rates, or or 299 British pounds.

The software giant, which will be making its first foray into video game hardware with the console, said Wednesday it expects to ship 1.5 million Xbox units to 16 European markets from launch until the end of June, with shipments coming from the Xbox manufacturing facility in Hungary.

The company previously announced it would delay its U.S. release to Nov. 15, a week after originally scheduled, and push its Japan launch date back to Feb. 22.

Microsoft has refused to explain the delay, although analysts have speculated that a production problem is holding things up.

Games for the machine, which will go head-to-head with Sony PlayStation 2 and Nintendo Co. Ltd.'s GameCube, will each cost 69 euros, or 44.99 pounds, Microsoft said.

The system will sell for $299 in the United States.

News sources: CBS MarketWatch and CBS MarketWatch

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