Curmudgeon Gamer
Curmudgeoning all games equally.
10 July 2006
4 million Xbox 360s sold, still not meeting expectations
According to sales figures, it appears Microsoft sold about 2 million Xbox 360 systems in the United States through 30 June 2006 and around 4 million systems worldwide. Previously Microsoft had stated it expected worldwide shipments (as opposed to sales) between 4.5 and 5.5 million Xbox 360s during that time period, and at one point set a goal of 10 million sales in the first 12 months. My take is that this is mostly bad news for Microsoft.

First, the domestic Xbox 360 sales data, courtesy of Dav2k on NeoGAF and

A bit of history: More than half of all sales of the original Xbox were domestic. Given that, let's be generous and say that 2 million Xbox 360s have been sold inside the U.S. and the same number outside. At best, then, Microsoft has sold 4 million systems worldwide since the Xbox 360 launch in November 2005.

Provided they've actually hit the low end shipping goal (not the same as sales, of course), Microsoft has a whole month's inventory sitting on store shelves or in warehouses. If they hit the high end of their shipping goal, then they have 1.5 million Xbox 360s just sitting around, which seems rather a lot of stock taking up space.

The upside for Microsoft, if there is one, is that if they keep the current sales pace, and they also sell one Xbox 360 outside the U.S. for every one they sell inside the U.S., then they'll add 500,000 or so new owners each month. At that rate, by the end of October they will have a 6 million system advantage when Sony finally launches the PlayStation 3. (Again, that's a best-case scenario, so I expect Microsoft will fall a bit short of that goal.) It will be interesting to see if the PlayStation 3 or the Wii can catch up over the long haul.

The real mystery to me is why everyone got the Xbox 360 sales so wrong. Most reports have been upbeat, especially after Microsoft overcame the shortages that plagued the first couple of months after the launch. But we should be far beyond that point now, and shelves should have plenty of stock.

Microsoft appeared to think its sales would pick up in the April-to-June period, and they didn't. If the 4 million worldwide sales number is right, and I think it's actually a little high, then that means that analyst expectations of 6 million sales (not just shipped systems) by this point were far too optimisitic. That same analyst's prediction of 10-12 million system sales by the end of 2006 seems equally dubious at this point, although at the time his report lent credence to Microsoft's expectation of selling 10 million Xbox 360s in the first 12 to 16 months after launch.

Normal folks like me aren't going to have hard information on why the Xbox 360 hasn't sold as well as people expected. While summer is an historically slack sales season, I wonder how much of an effect the Nintendo and Sony announcements at E3 had. Certainly the Wii and the PlayStation 3 aren't going to strangle the Xbox 360 like the PlayStation 2 did the Dreamcast. However, I wouldn't be one bit surprised if more than a few people opted to hold out until this winter when prices, games, and supplies are better known.

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--Matt Matthews at 19:35
Comment [ 4 ]

Comments on this post:

Finally, some hard numbers on just how much the 360 is selling. Thanks for that -- most interesting.

Personally, the reason I haven't picked up a 360 yet has nothing to do with PS3 or Wii announcements. It's simply because there aren't enough games that interest me available for it yet. I was suckered by the hype of the PS2 to buy one at launch and had to wait about a year until titles that really caught my interest started rolling in. Until then, I had PS1 games and DVDs to use on it. Not exactly my desired use for it, but at least I had something to show for my money -- the 360 doesn't seem to offer even that yet.

By Blogger Dan-o, at 10 July, 2006 23:55  

Im waiting for T4 (tetris grand masters 4) to come out. Im still very annoyed they didn't release tetris grandmaster:ace in the usa. It was a huge improvement over the sucky THQ tetris worlds.

halo 2.5 (hopefully halo 3) And a few more downloadable games that are enjoyable yet don't require massive mmo style grinding.

The only reason I would buy a 360 this very moment is to play-- Marble blast ultra-- UNO and Battlefield 2.

All not good reasons for the time being. There's also a rumor floating around about a HDMI on and possibly an hd-dvd switchout on all the consoles so we would have 2 tiers of x-box 360's.

I hope thats the rumor is false.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12 July, 2006 02:49  

NPD reports 277,000 360s sold for june.Your sources lose all credibility

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 15 July, 2006 11:06  

Anonymous: An excellent point. It was only Wedbush Morgan making a prediction of what NPD would report. Therefore we should throw out all the previously reported data in this article. You're a freaking genius.

By Blogger jvm, at 15 July, 2006 23:56  

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