November 8, 2005 11:50 AM PST

Three million Xbox 360s in three months?

Microsoft expects to sell up to 3 million of its new Xbox 360 game consoles in the first three months the device is on the market, a top company executive said Tuesday.

"We think through the first 90 days of launch...we expect to have sold 2.75 (million) to 3 million consoles worldwide," said Bryan Lee, chief financial officer of Microsoft's Home and Entertainment unit. Lee's comments came as part of a speech at the Harris Nesbitt Media & Entertainment Conference in New York. Lee said the prediction should translate to about $1.5 billion in sales of Xbox devices, games and accessories during that period.

Microsoft plans to launch the Xbox 360 in the U.S. on Nov. 22. The company will follow up quickly elsewhere in the world, with the goal to have devices on store shelves in Europe on Dec. 2 and in Japan on Dec. 10.

The company had earlier said it expects to sell 4.5 million to 5.5 million Xbox 360 consoles by the time Microsoft's fiscal year ends in June. Lee said Microsoft remains on track to hit that goal as well.

"We're building a lot right now," Lee said during his speech, which was also broadcast on the Web. "We are building thousands and thousands and thousands of 360s every day. They are on boats. They are on planes. They are in distribution centers. They are hitting retail."

According to enthusiast site ActiveWin, Microsoft plans to launch the console in the California desert during an event billed as "Burning Man meets E3"--references to a popular Nevada desert arts festival and the computer game industry's annual trade show.

Microsoft is hoping for a big splash for the Xbox 360, which is launching ahead of the rival Sony PlayStation 3.

Whereas the original Xbox was a chance for Microsoft to prove that it could make a worthwhile game product, Lee said the new console gives Microsoft an opportunity to lead. Lee acknowledged that the original Xbox was, for many at Microsoft, a learning experience.

"On the Xbox, you might say there were some opportunities for improvement," Lee said. "It was a little bit big, a little clunky and not that friendly."

He noted that it was only about 18 months between when Chairman Bill Gates and CEO Steve Ballmer approved the Xbox project and when the console landed on store shelves.

"A lot of people like myself were kind of novices to the game space," Lee said. "It was a lot of learning on the fly. It's pretty easy to see that when you look backwards."

13 comments

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xbox360
According to many other articles, this thing was so rushed so bad to meet the annouced release date, that I don't think I wan't to get one right away.
I'd wait a bit for them to fix up some bugs, and the first games were also rushed and may be full of glitches.
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Posted by Roman12 (214 comments )
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XBOX 360
I brought my original XBox the first Friday after the launch and i will be in line to pick my new XBox 360 up at midnight on the 22nd. I hope to pick it up with out too much of a crowd, I have to work the next day.
Posted by Xbox_Live_Fan (5 comments )
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XBox 360
You're gonna have to get in line *after* me.
Posted by DrakeLoneStar (22 comments )
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Wait for the first price cut.
I know I am. I'll only have to wait a year. Maybe, by then, it will have the HD-DVD in it, and my PS3 will have the Blue-Ray, and I'll be set for the future movies.
Posted by i_am_still_wade (250 comments )
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HD-DVD & BLU-RAY NON ISSUES
I wouldn't worry about the movie playing capabilities of either machine. The original PS2 was a 3rd rate dvd player at best. The XBOX was better but didn't support progressive scan output. Don't get caught up in the hype of the next gen consoles movie playing capability. By the time Hi-def movies become a mainstream market both the PS3 and xbox-360 will be about 3-4yrs into their lifecycle. At that point there will be better cheaper HD players on the market and the format wars will be over. HD-DVD and BLUE-RAY will have very little impact on the quality of the games on either system.
Posted by Captain-Atari (80 comments )
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I don't like consoles but...
I'm gonna get an XBox 360... too much of a good thing for so little of a price.

Now, I hope that when I say Halo 3 is coming, that I am right :)
Posted by DrakeLoneStar (22 comments )
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"Microsoft remains on track to hit that goal"
How can they be "on track" when the train hasn't even left the station yet?

I guess I'm still "on track" to get my PhD by the time I turn 50, got a few more years to START working on it! :)
Posted by zaznet (1138 comments )
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Same old redundant games
Unless I see a totally different AAA game than just same old Halo and all those redundant EA sports games, I'm not going to get an XBox360.
It seems that the majority will buy the XBox360 just to play Halo 3.
Halo 3 is just like Half-Life 2, a story-line mixed into the gameplay. And the multiplayer is simply Quake 3 Arena. This is 2 years old technology.
Most of the new PC multiplayer shooter games have adopted the objective type gameplay where you have to build or blow up obstructions to advance further into enemy territory. Probably have to wait until Halo 4 for that to happen which most likely won't happen until 2008.
Posted by shortyness (12 comments )
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Where have they talked about Halo 3?
I haven't seen much said about Halo 3 yet. Not saying your wrong, just wondering where you got your information.
Posted by (69 comments )
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And all these sales....
... probably will reduce MS's loss to about 3.8 Billion dollars. At
least, it's a start toward some sort of profit.
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
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