Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Xbox 360: Japan Launch, Etc.

From Bloomberg
Dec. 13 (Bloomberg) -- Microsoft Corp., the second-largest maker of video game systems, sold 28 percent of Xbox 360 consoles on store shelves in Japan, according to preliminary figures from market researcher Media Create Co.

Microsoft sold 41,817 consoles in the first two days since the Xbox 360 was introduced on Dec. 10 in Japan, Tokyo-based Media Create said...

So that means there were (roughly) 150,000 units in Japan at launch. It's hard to believe they wasted 100,000 units of production in Japan when they could easily sell another 500,000 tomorrow in the U.S.

But they did.

Next-Gen is estimating a higher sales number (60,000+), but it's still almost 100k short of the available units. Certainly, those numbers would have been higher if Dead or Alive 4 had shipped at launch, but even if that had doubled sales, they would still have significantly overestimated demand.

I think people will look back at this launch in a few years and be amazed that Microsoft launched in three major territories in a month. That's incredible, really. It's just too bad that the FUBAR'd the estimates of initial demand, because any mistakes cost another territory units that would have sold immediately.

The good news is that Japan shouldn't be taking any more production units for at least a month, so that manufacturing capacity should provide increased numbers of units to the U.S. and Europe.

Next-Gen also reported today that an analyst from American Technology Research claims that 300,000 additional units will ship in North America this week. That would help.

Microsoft may be facing another problem--a software drought. The only game scheduled to come out between now and 1/23 (at best) is Dead or Alive 4. That will be almost two months from launch with only one additional title. That's pushing it.

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