LOCAL owners of the Xbox 360 will not be petting their Chocobos in March as expected.
The widely popular Final Fantasy XIII (FFXIII) role-playing game, which the yellow fowl-like creatures are synonymous with, will not be released on Microsoft's game console in Singapore.
Digital Life understands that the 2008 announcement, which stated that the latest sequel of the hit Final Fantasy franchise was finally moving to the Xbox 360 console, referred only to the North American and European market.
Since the first role-playing game was released in 1987 by the Japanese developer, the recent game sequels have been linked very closely with the PlayStation console, a device by the Japanese electronics giant, Sony.
A surprise announcement at the 2008 Electronic Entertainment Expo by developer Square Enix triggered elation from Xbox 360 owners, who thought they could start enjoying the popular game on a competing console.
When the Japanese version of the game was released on Dec 17 last year, it sold 1.7 million copies in two weeks.
When contacted, Square Enix declined to comment.
A spokesman from Xbox Singapore said: 'Square Enix has not announced the availability of an Asian version of FFXIII.'
The news - and silence on the reason for the no-show - is not going down well with the game's fans.
Accounts executive Lincoln Mah, 26, bought his Xbox 360 console in late 2008, on the assumption that FF XIII would be available for his console.
'Growing up, I played a lot of the Final Fantasy games, as did many of us in Asia. Final Fantasy is an Asian game and now, to have skipped Xbox owners here, it's just not right.'
While the original E3 announcements made no mention of an Asian release, nothing was mentioned to indicate otherwise either.
'They have already said that the game would be available for the Xbox, and though they worded things carefully, I am shocked there are no release plans,' says Lincoln.
The Xbox 360 consoles use region coding security features to differentiate content for the different markets - like the United States and Asia - so there is no option to buy the US game for use on local consoles.
The only way local gamers can indulge in the game is through their PlayStation 3 consoles, to play either the current Japanese language version or wait for the English version to hit markets on March 9 in the US.
The other not-so-good news? Sony Computer Entertainment Hong Kong says the final release date for the game in Singapore 'has yet to be finalised'.
Given the popularity of the game, which created a triple jump in sales of PS3 consoles in Japan during the week of the game's launch, it is expected that Sony's console, with its Blu-ray capabilities, will now win over more fans.
'There will definitely be a negative impact on Xbox 360,' notes Richelle Lee, an account manager with research company GfK Asia's imaging and entertainment department, though she says it is too early to predict how the numbers will shift.
Currently, the PS3 commands the highest market share in Singapore, at 40 per cent, followed by 35 per cent for the Xbox 360 and 25 per cent for the Nintendo Wii.
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