As promised, Microsoft will ship its next-generation Xbox 360 video game console before the end of the year. But with a November 22 launch in the US, the Xbox will barely make it into the holiday season as expected. And the system's December 2 launch in Europe and December 10 debut in Japan are even later.

"This holiday season, gamers in Japan, Europe and North America pining to experience jaw-dropping high-definition graphics, unmatched online play and compelling digital entertainment features of Xbox 360 will finally have the chance," said Robbie Bach, the chief Xbox officer at Microsoft. "Renowned development studios around the world are busy putting the finishing touches on their Xbox 360 games. We expect a strong portfolio of titles on launch day and through the holidays that will appeal to fans of every genre and gamers in every region, and with more than 200 games currently in development, continuous new additions to the library are on the way."

In the video game world, a system's set of launch targets are indeed often important, though Microsoft will benefit strongly by beating its competitors, Sony and Nintendo, to market by several months. Sony and Nintendo intend to release new video game systems in early and mid-2006, respectively. Microsoft has yet to release a complete list of game titles that will be available at the Xbox 360 launch.