Xbox 360: Head Start Hard To Beat

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Flanked by a $599 premium product from Sony on the side, and a $250 egalitarian approach from Nintendo on the other side, Microsoft's $299 and $399 Xbox 360 has been ceded the traditional video game mainstream for now. With a 1 million-plus-unit hit in "Gears of War," and a 12-month head start on securing market share, this is the system retailers can suggest to consumers looking for the safe and familiar.

Michael Pachter, managing director of research at Wedbush Morgan Securities, says Microsoft has a golden opportunity to capitalize, especially with young men between 18 and 30. "If they want to exploit that opportunity, they should pile up the ads."

Annual Video Game Industry Revenue

1994 - $4.5 billion 2000 - $6.6 billion

1995 - $3.1 billion 2001 - $9.4 billion

1996 - $3.6 billion 2002 - $10.3 billion

1997 - $5.1 billion 2003 - $10 billion

1998 - $6.3 billion 2004 - $9.9 billion

1999 - $6.9 billion 2005 - $10.5 billion

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