In an interesting announcement, Microsoft has delayed the European launch of the Xbox console until 2002, citing a need to meet Japanese and domestic product demand.
After Sony's debacle launching the PlayStation 2, Microsoft is apparently taking great care to ensure that a launch shortage doesn't happen to the Xbox as well. With their freshman console, Microsoft wants to make sure everyone who wants a unit has access to one. According to Microsoft Xbox official Robbie Bach, "Meeting Xbox customer needs is job No. 1. After analyzing the supply and logistics challenges faced by the gaming industry this holiday season, we decided to clarify our new manufacturing plans so that we successfully meet product demand."
Only time will tell whether Sony's mistake will visibly impact future console releases, or if Microsoft is simply taking excessive steps to be absolutely sure its first console launches successfully. The Xbox is currently scheduled for a fall 2001 release in Japan and North America.