NEWS - Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Analyst Predicts Xbox 360 To Exceed Expectations

Senior analyst P.J. McNealy of American Technology Research has published a new note estimating that Microsoft will sell greater-than-anticipated amounts of its Xbox 360 console, eclipsing even the company’s own sales estimates. According to McNealy, the system will sell 6 million units by the end of June 2006, and from 10 to 12 million by the end of the year. The numbers given by McNealy exceed those given by Microsoft corporate VP Peter Moore, who outlined a goal of 4.5 to 5.5 million systems sold by June at the 2006 Consumer Electronics Show, though McNeely’s estimates remain in line with previous estimates of the system’s first-year goal of 10 million units. In addition to the optimistic view for Microsoft, McNealy also painted a brighter picture than most for third-party publishers’ chances with Xbox 360 titles. The analyst said that negative effects on game sales as a result of the system shortage were likely over, presumably since stocks of the console are shortly to be more bountiful. However, the American Technology Research report also included a survey of current 360 stock levels at retailers, which concluded that supply was still scarce, with only 26 of 125 stores surveyed having any stock at all, and the majority of those having only 1 to 3 units for sale. Some of the retailer comments from those called by ATR included: "We’re very low on the pre-order list, only four or five people left, and we’ve been getting 2 core and 2 premium boxes per week", "We’re getting in 2-3 per week. We should have some for general sale in a couple of weeks", "Call back in the middle part of March", and "We’re receiving new units consistently; more than in the past." McNealy’s report also touched on Sony’s PlayStation 3 to note that he expects new information on the next-generation console to come out of the Destination PlayStation retail event in Miami, saying: "We expect Sony to give some directional information on the PS3 about launch plans and pricing, but we believe it is more likely that Sony will keep its commentary to a high level about the PS3 rather than specifics. The keynote address is expected to be tomorrow morning." In addition, McNealy noted: "Also, [Sony] is expected to host an event around Blu-Ray for the media industry in southern California on Tuesday morning. We believe this could mean a flurry of public announcements from movie studios around movies to be sold in the Blu-Ray format later this year."


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