Microsoft ramps up 360 distribution

Microsoft plans to increase its weekly distribution of the Xbox 360 game console by at least twofold, the company announced yesterday at the Game Developers Conference.

The software giant said the addition of a new manufacturing partner, Celestica, will allow it to ship "two to three times" more Xbox 360s to retailers each week. Celestica joins Wistron and Flextronics in manufacturing the system and components for Microsoft.

The announcement coincides with Microsoft's release of its new spring line of games. The company also announced additions to its downloadable digital-content zone, Xbox Live Marketplace, which it says is being used by more than 85 percent of connected Xbox users.

Microsoft suffered a shortage in Xbox 360 supplies in the United States and Europe, following the November launch of the device, and some frustrated would-be buyers were forced to wait for their consoles. The company blamed the shortage on component production issues. In Australia, Microsoft Home and Entertainment Division Regional Director David McLean had previously warned that local shortages were "absolutely possible".

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