Microsoft Corp. has confirmed it will launch the Xbox 360 in Japan and Europe in time for Christmas according to Reuters, the news agency.

Microsoft, which unveiled the Xbox 360 on MTV in May ahead of this years E3, had already announced plans to launch the console in the United States in November but the company never pinned down a launch date for the rest of the world.

It has said though that it was likely to follow within six weeks of an American launch.

The plan seems to be following the same ones Microsoft used to launch the original Xbox - ie to get it out a good couple of months before Sony's latest version hits the shops.

In other related news, rumours surfaced on the internet last week that Sony would release its PS3 console in Spring 2006 following a leaked presentation.