Xbox 360's 'Tales of Vesperia' Launches in Tokyo

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"Tales of Vesperia," the latest in Namco Bandai's long-running "Tales" series of games, debuted to a couple of hundred waiting gamers in Tokyo on Thursday morning.

Sales of the Xbox 360 title began a little after 8 a.m. at Yodobashi Camera in Tokyo's Akihabara electronics district, where about 200 people were waiting by the time the game launched. The first person in line arrived late on Wednesday night.

Yodobashi opened sales at 8 a.m. to people buying a bundle of the game and a special-edition "Tales of Vesperia" Xbox 360 console. The bundle, which includes a Vesperia faceplate and additional DVD, costs ¥37,800 (US$345), while the game itself costs ¥7,800, although major electronics retailers are discounting the game price by about ¥1,000.

Japan is the first country to see the game, which will go on sale in North America on Aug. 26 and in Europe in the first half of next year. The role-playing game follows other titles, including "Tales of Symphonia" and "Tales of the Abyss," and sees characters Yuri and Flynn embark on a quest to save their world.

Microsoft is betting on popular Japanese role-playing games like "Tales of Vesperia" to help popularize the Xbox 360 in the market. The console trails Nintendo's Wii and Sony's PlayStation 3 in a distant third place in Japan. Sales of the console totaled 4,941 units in the last week of July, according to figures from Media Create. In contrast, the Wii sold 41,024 units, the PlayStation 3 sold 10,692 units and the PlayStation 2 sold 9,291 units, the company said.

Another Xbox 360 title awaited by Japanese gamers, Square Enix's "Infinite Undiscovery," is scheduled to go on sale Sept. 11.

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