Dubai: Microsoft officially launched its next generation console - Xbox 360 - in the UAE yesterday.

The estimated retail price of the third-generation 20GB hard drive console is Dh1,799.

The highlight of the three-day event, which kicked off at the Galleria in the Mall of the Emirates, offers X-perience competition, where participants will have a chance to take home a spectacular prize package and be named Xbox 360 ME Gamer of the Year. Registration is open to all and the winner will be announced tomorrow.

"Microsoft eyes Saudi Arabia as its next destination followed by other Gulf markets. The console will be easily available across all the other Gulf markets within six to seven months, said Armagan Demir, Head of Entertainment & Devices Division Middle East for Microsoft.

Dubai-based Pluto Derinton Games will be responsible for the distribution of Xbox consoles and high-definition games.

The estimated retail price of the games is between Dh139 and Dh279 and will be available at all major retailers.

"We expect a strong demand from the region as the Middle East is a very huge market," says Demir.About 160 games have been launched worldwide for Xbox 360, but only 100 are currently available here.

Microsoft Gaming Studios have launched only 10 games out of the 160 games available, and the rest are developed by third parties.

This console delivers high-definition games in up to 1050p resolution.

Microsoft claims that about 200 games are backward compatible.