Sony and Microsoft will open a new front in their computer game battles in Europe later this month, trying to win over trigger-happy recruits to the online gaming platforms they view as the next big growth segment in the industry.

Market research firm ScreenDigest predicts online gaming will surpass $1 billion in Europe by 2006. Sales of online gaming kits in the U.S. have exceeded expectations with Sony selling more than 500,000 and Microsoft more than 350,000, the companies said.

Good news for all you guys in Europe (especially those using broadband), more details on this story at CNN.