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Xbox shipments top one million

Shipments of Microsoft's Xbox games console have passed the one million mark, three weeks after it went on sale in the US, the company announced.

Sales to retailers have reached 1.1 million units and Microsoft said it plans to ship at least an additional 300,000 units before the end of the year, which will take total shipments since the launch on 15 November to around 1.4 million consoles. Microsoft has yet to announce retailer sales figures although it said customers are picking up "several" games when they buy a console.

A week ago Nintendo said its Gamecube console, which went on sale in the US several days after the Xbox, had hit sales of 600,000 during its first two weeks. The two companies are battling to dominate the Christmas and end-of-year sales season. Sony's PlayStation 2 is also competing although the year-old console is currently settled in third place.

As a result of the strong sales, Nintendo has said that it is considering increasing shipments of the Gamecube.

"Nintendo is planning to ship four million consoles by the end of this fiscal year because of the very good initial sales in the US and good sales in Japan," said Yasuhiro Minagawa, a company spokesman. Nintendo's fiscal year ends in March 2002 but at present there are no concrete plans to increase shipments, he said.

He declined to specify whether the extra machines would be for the US, Japan or European market. "So far, we know we are facing shortages in the US and the best sales season in Japan is in the new year after children receive Otoshidama," he said, referring to gifts of money given to children in Japan at New Year.

Nintendo has yet to launch the Gamecube in Europe and Minagawa said a launch before the end of March, remains "at least a possibility."

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