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Korea gets Xbox – in Oct 2002

Nearly a year after US

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Korean gamers won't get their hands on Microsoft's Xbox until the second half of next year, sources close to the software giant's Korean operation claim.

Xbox launched in the US last week. Having initially promised to ship the console globally on day one, Microsoft more recently delayed the Japanese launch to February 2002. Xbox arrives in Europe the following month.

But Korean buyers will have to wait until October 2002 - almost a year after the console's US launch, a Microsoft Korea source claimed, according to the Korea Herald.

Curiously, Microsoft could be the first company to launch a next-generation console in Korea. Nintendo has announced no plans to release GameCube there, and Sony has still to decide whether it's worth launching the PlayStation 2 into the Korean market.

Korean gamers, it seems, much prefer to play on PCs than consoles. Rates of software piracy are far higher there than those of Japan and Europe - a major disincentive to console companies, which subsidise hardware prices heavily on the back of software sales and licensing.

Serious would-be Xbox owners probably won't have to wait until October, in any case. Grey imports from Japan will almost certainly satisfy their demand next February.

And in South Africa…

Speaking of late, South Africa won't be seeing any Xbox consoles on retail shelves anytime soon. A press release on Microsoft South Africa's site reveals that it only plans to offer the device in November 2002, writes James Watson.

According to the statement, this is because the console is being released carefully around the globe to ensure that demand matches supply. Does this mean that there are not enough gamers in South Africa jumping up and down and demanding their consoles?

Nintendo has never had an official distribution channel into the country, so it's not certain when gamers will get their paws on the new GameCube, although Sony's PS2 has been available for a long time in the region. ®

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Korea Herald: Xbox to debut in second half of 2002

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