NEWS - Monday, February 13, 2006

Stock Shortages Over Soon?

During his DICE session last Friday Peter Moore tackled some of the burning questions regarding Xbox 360, including stock shortages and the rather splendid Xbox Live online service. The stock shortage problems should be ironed out in a couple of month’s time, according to Moore. "Within the next four to six weeks, anybody will be able to walk into a store and buy an Xbox 360,” Moore claimed. It's certainly true that the eBay 360 frenzy seems to have calmed down. Plus major online retailers such as Amazon seem to have more 360s available - although still being sold as part of overpriced bundles, rather than stand alone machines. On being asked if the simultaneous global launch of the 360 was the right move, Moore answered: "Was it controversial? Yes. But it's what we needed to do to bring next-gen gaming to a global audience. There have been short-term shortages, but we're driving a clear advantage as we go forward. It was the right decision." He went on to add: "There were component shortages, but they've been fixed. Now we're starting to cook. We're building a vibrant, rich and profitable business model for the future." Perhaps 'cook' was the wrong word to use there Mr Moore, bearing in mind the somewhat negative publicity surrounding your next-gen consoles tendency to overheat a little. However, minor gripes about overheating issues aside, it does seem that Microsoft is on track with its plans for 360 in many significant ways. Just look at the stats which Moore reeled off last week: 54 percent of Xbox 360 owners use Xbox Live, compared to 10 percent for the original Xbox and 4 million pieces of content have been downloaded from Xbox Live since launch. The try-before-you-buy model of Live Arcade has also been an unqualified success. Moore gives the example of Geometry Wars – with 36 percent of consumers who downloaded the demo having gone on to buy the full game. "Nothing normally converts from sample to purchase at a rate of 35 percent. It's proof positive that we are dragging gaming into the online era," Moore confidently stated.


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