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Past Consoles Indicate 360 Sales Could Be Better

Microsoft has sold 600,000 Xbox 360’s since the console debuted in the United States on November 22, 2005. While retailers have been in short supply, sales expectations from Wall Street analysts have fallen short. Microsoft released a statement saying that their manufacturing facilities are running at full capacity and that a third is on the way. Microsoft’s target is to sell between 4.5 million and 5.5 million Xbox 360 consoles through June 30, 2006.

Now for a little perspective we turn to recent launch history for guidance as to how the Xbox 360 is doing nearly two months after launch. The original Xbox saw shipments (not sales) of 1.4 million in North America in 2001. That’s roughly equivalent to global shipments of Xbox 360 through mid-January 2006. A sales forecast from Microsoft put Xbox sales at 4.5 million to 6 million, only to be reduced to 3.5 million to 4 million units for the quarter ending June 30, 2002, according to News.com in April 2002 (lower than Xbox 360 estimates for the same time period).

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Looking back at actual sales comparisons, Sony’s second console attempt, the PlayStation 2, saw American sales in the first 24 hours reach 510,000. The GameCube meanwhile managed 500,000 in sales in its first week in 2001. The original Xbox managed 556,000 in sales through the end of November 2001, which was roughly a two week period between its November 15, 2001 launch and the end of the month. The Dreamcast managed sales of 500,000 in the United States in its first two weeks. If the past is any indication, the Xbox 360 appears to be lagging behind recent console launches, in part due to manufacturing problems.