September 14, 2005 9:01 PM PDT

Xbox 360 to hit shelves before Thanksgiving

After months of intense industry speculation, Microsoft revealed late Wednesday the launch dates for its much-anticipated Xbox 360 video game console.

In an announcement at the Tokyo Game Show, the company said the new Xbox--Microsoft's entrant in the next-generation console wars--would hit store shelves in North America on Nov. 22, in Europe on Dec. 2 and in Japan on Dec. 10. The company clearly wanted to take advantage of the holiday shopping rush just before and after Thanksgiving in the United States.

"That's what you want to do to launch a console," said International Development Group market analyst Mike Sabine. "You definitely want to have it on shelves to enjoy the Thanksgiving shopping period."

Last month, Microsoft said the Xbox 360 would come in two flavors: a base model for $299 and a souped-up version with a 20GB hard drive and wireless controllers for $399.

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The company is trying to alter a current-generation console landscape in which archrival Sony has sold 75.6 million PlayStation 2s worldwide, compared with Microsoft's global sales of just 19.8 million Xboxes, according to IDC analyst Schelley Olhava.

For months, Microsoft has said it would have the Xbox 360 out in time for the holidays, and Wednesday's announcement confirms the company will get several months of first-mover advantage over Sony's forthcoming PlayStation 3 and Nintendo's Revolution, both of which are expected to be released next spring.

Though industry observers agree that Microsoft will benefit by getting the new Xbox to market before its competitors, no one is sure how long that advantage will last.

"Microsoft is ahead of Sony, and that's driven by their being first to market," said Olhava. "Is that going to equate to being dominant in the next generation of systems? I don't think the answer is so clear-cut with that."

Still, Microsoft said that by combining its new machine with its Xbox Live online gaming initiative, it has every hope of taking over the top spot in console gaming now firmly held by Sony.

"Our view with Xbox is that it's an overall program, which is a combination of the console, software and services," said Mitch Koch, Microsoft's corporate vice president for worldwide retail sales. "We have an outstanding online proposition through Live, and I think if we execute on that software, services and hardware strategy, we have a differentiated offering which should allow us to be very successful in the marketplace."

Indeed, Olhava estimates that the new Xbox will far outsell the PlayStation 3 and Revolution next year. She forecast that by the end of 2006, the Xbox 360 will have sold 12.3 million units worldwide, while Sony will have moved just 3.9 million PlayStation 3s and Nintendo just 2.7 million Revolutions.

However, she said that by the end of 2009, Sony will have surpassed Microsoft, and that by then the PlayStation 3 should hold the top next-generation console spot.

Sony didn't return a call for comment. Nintendo declined to comment.

Meanwhile, Koch said that by the end of this year, there are expected to be between 25 and 40 games on the market for the Xbox 360, a number that impresses analysts.

"That's more than anyone's ever had before," said Sabine, "so it's a very, very robust lineup of titles."

Microsoft said in a press release that those titles will include "Final Fantasy XI" from Square Enix, "Need for Speed Most Wanted" from Electronic Arts, Capcom's "Resident Evil 5" and many others.

Still, Olhava said her estimates that the PlayStation 3 would overtake the Xbox 360 are based on an expectation that publishers will eventually have more games for Sony's offering than for Microsoft's, and that that's something Microsoft will have to address.

"Microsoft needs to continue working on content," she said. "The main reason people buy video game consoles is to buy games that are only available for that console."

In any case, while Sony is almost certain to be months behind the Xbox 360 release, there is a lot of speculation that the Japanese company has a card it can play to try to steal some of Microsoft's thunder this fall.

"It wouldn't surprise me if (Sony) did drop the price" of the PlayStation 2 this holiday season to $129 or $99, Olhava said. "I think they probably will."

But Sabine said that even if that happens, it won't affect Xbox 360 sales.

"It could drive some continued interest in their strong PlayStation brand," Sabine said. "At the same time, they're not going to be taking consumers away from (Microsoft). A consumer who buys a PlayStation 2 (at a lower price) is a completely different consumer from someone who is going to buy an Xbox 360 at $300 or $400."

And regardless of whether Sony eventually overtakes Microsoft in the next-generation console battles, Sabine continued, Microsoft has nothing to worry about in the short term.

"The 360 is going to sell every unit they can possibly get into retail," he said. "Demand will always outstrip supply."

51 comments

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Microsoft will take the lead with ver 3.0 of the XBOX
While XBOX 360 will give Sony a great race, Sony will win out end the end. But as history has pr oven so many times Microsoft will get it right the third time with the 3rd version of XBOX.
Posted by (43 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Xbox 3.0?
if this is the 3.0 version, where is the 2.0? Outside of some hardware fixes, the curent Xbox is the same one that's been on the shelves sence it first came out.

Just wondering.
Posted by startiger (50 comments )
Link Flag
Then Hang On
If the 3rd MS game system is the winner, then hang on. You must have forgotten that they got their feet wet by developing the OS for the Sega DreamCast... which makes XBox360 the third Microsoft-powered gaming console.
Posted by David Arbogast (1709 comments )
Link Flag
Then Hang On
If the 3rd MS game system is the winner, then hang on. You must have forgotten that they got their feet wet by developing the OS for the Sega DreamCast... which makes XBox360 the third Microsoft-powered gaming console.
Posted by David Arbogast (1709 comments )
Link Flag
You sure MS has a "third chance"?
Let me see, Sony's PlayStation did everything right and become a blockbuster, and PS2 is a solid winner in the console war. And you are telling me Microsoft needs the third-generation console to "get it right"? What a joke.
Posted by Jess McLean (61 comments )
Link Flag
The Name Game!
It's 2.0 of their box and they've spent the better part of 6 months (not 3 years as some claim) working on it. The name is done on purpose to confuse consumers and is a long time tactic of Microsoft.

360 is just a name and nicely done to coincide with the Playstation 3. Sony needs to rename it to Plastation X or maybe even Playstation 9 to take advantage of consumer confusion. :)
Posted by zaznet (1138 comments )
Link Flag
Microsoft will take the lead with ver 3.0 of the XBOX
While XBOX 360 will give Sony a great race, Sony will win out end the end. But as history has pr oven so many times Microsoft will get it right the third time with the 3rd version of XBOX.
Posted by (43 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Xbox 3.0?
if this is the 3.0 version, where is the 2.0? Outside of some hardware fixes, the curent Xbox is the same one that's been on the shelves sence it first came out.

Just wondering.
Posted by startiger (50 comments )
Link Flag
Then Hang On
If the 3rd MS game system is the winner, then hang on. You must have forgotten that they got their feet wet by developing the OS for the Sega DreamCast... which makes XBox360 the third Microsoft-powered gaming console.
Posted by David Arbogast (1709 comments )
Link Flag
Then Hang On
If the 3rd MS game system is the winner, then hang on. You must have forgotten that they got their feet wet by developing the OS for the Sega DreamCast... which makes XBox360 the third Microsoft-powered gaming console.
Posted by David Arbogast (1709 comments )
Link Flag
You sure MS has a "third chance"?
Let me see, Sony's PlayStation did everything right and become a blockbuster, and PS2 is a solid winner in the console war. And you are telling me Microsoft needs the third-generation console to "get it right"? What a joke.
Posted by Jess McLean (61 comments )
Link Flag
The Name Game!
It's 2.0 of their box and they've spent the better part of 6 months (not 3 years as some claim) working on it. The name is done on purpose to confuse consumers and is a long time tactic of Microsoft.

360 is just a name and nicely done to coincide with the Playstation 3. Sony needs to rename it to Plastation X or maybe even Playstation 9 to take advantage of consumer confusion. :)
Posted by zaznet (1138 comments )
Link Flag
Microsoft will take the lead with ver 3.0 of the XBOX
While XBOX 360 will give Sony a great race, Sony will win out end the end. But as history has pr oven so many times Microsoft will get it right the third time with the 3rd version of XBOX.
Posted by (43 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Xbox 3.0?
if this is the 3.0 version, where is the 2.0? Outside of some hardware fixes, the curent Xbox is the same one that's been on the shelves sence it first came out.

Just wondering.
Posted by startiger (50 comments )
Link Flag
Then Hang On
If the 3rd MS game system is the winner, then hang on. You must have forgotten that they got their feet wet by developing the OS for the Sega DreamCast... which makes XBox360 the third Microsoft-powered gaming console.
Posted by David Arbogast (1709 comments )
Link Flag
Then Hang On
If the 3rd MS game system is the winner, then hang on. You must have forgotten that they got their feet wet by developing the OS for the Sega DreamCast... which makes XBox360 the third Microsoft-powered gaming console.
Posted by David Arbogast (1709 comments )
Link Flag
You sure MS has a "third chance"?
Let me see, Sony's PlayStation did everything right and become a blockbuster, and PS2 is a solid winner in the console war. And you are telling me Microsoft needs the third-generation console to "get it right"? What a joke.
Posted by Jess McLean (61 comments )
Link Flag
The Name Game!
It's 2.0 of their box and they've spent the better part of 6 months (not 3 years as some claim) working on it. The name is done on purpose to confuse consumers and is a long time tactic of Microsoft.

360 is just a name and nicely done to coincide with the Playstation 3. Sony needs to rename it to Plastation X or maybe even Playstation 9 to take advantage of consumer confusion. :)
Posted by zaznet (1138 comments )
Link Flag
Hmm, I wonder?
I wonder how long it will take for the hackers to either chip, upgrade harddrive and incoporate linux as well?
Posted by heystoopid (691 comments )
Reply Link Flag
It's supposedly "hackerproof"
So I give it three weeks, tops.

:)
Posted by Christopher Hall (1205 comments )
Link Flag
Upgrade is open...
From what I heard the drive is upgradable. I expect to see a larger drive in systems that come out later.
Posted by zaznet (1138 comments )
Link Flag
Hmm, I wonder?
I wonder how long it will take for the hackers to either chip, upgrade harddrive and incoporate linux as well?
Posted by heystoopid (691 comments )
Reply Link Flag
It's supposedly "hackerproof"
So I give it three weeks, tops.

:)
Posted by Christopher Hall (1205 comments )
Link Flag
Upgrade is open...
From what I heard the drive is upgradable. I expect to see a larger drive in systems that come out later.
Posted by zaznet (1138 comments )
Link Flag
Hmm, I wonder?
I wonder how long it will take for the hackers to either chip, upgrade harddrive and incoporate linux as well?
Posted by heystoopid (691 comments )
Reply Link Flag
It's supposedly "hackerproof"
So I give it three weeks, tops.

:)
Posted by Christopher Hall (1205 comments )
Link Flag
Upgrade is open...
From what I heard the drive is upgradable. I expect to see a larger drive in systems that come out later.
Posted by zaznet (1138 comments )
Link Flag
MS's little trick is working.
I was saying back when they chose the name XBox 360 that it was at least in part because Xbox 2 sounds inferior or behind Playstation 3. So why not name it XBox (Three)60 so you can just skip version 2.
Posted by (69 comments )
Reply Link Flag
How come the name showing up for my post is wrong?
Weird
Posted by (69 comments )
Link Flag
MS's little trick is working.
I was saying back when they chose the name XBox 360 that it was at least in part because Xbox 2 sounds inferior or behind Playstation 3. So why not name it XBox (Three)60 so you can just skip version 2.
Posted by (69 comments )
Reply Link Flag
How come the name showing up for my post is wrong?
Weird
Posted by (69 comments )
Link Flag
MS's little trick is working.
I was saying back when they chose the name XBox 360 that it was at least in part because Xbox 2 sounds inferior or behind Playstation 3. So why not name it XBox (Three)60 so you can just skip version 2.
Posted by (69 comments )
Reply Link Flag
How come the name showing up for my post is wrong?
Weird
Posted by (69 comments )
Link Flag
MS's little trick is working.
I was saying back when they chose the name XBox 360 that it was at least in part because Xbox 2 sounds inferior or behind Playstation 3. So why not name it XBox (Three)60 so you can just skip version 2.
Posted by (69 comments )
Reply Link Flag
MS's little trick is working.
I was saying back when they chose the name XBox 360 that it was at least in part because Xbox 2 sounds inferior or behind Playstation 3. So why not name it XBox (Three)60 so you can just skip version 2.
Posted by (69 comments )
Reply Link Flag
MS's little trick is working.
I was saying back when they chose the name XBox 360 that it was at least in part because Xbox 2 sounds inferior or behind Playstation 3. So why not name it XBox (Three)60 so you can just skip version 2.
Posted by (69 comments )
Reply Link Flag
XBox 360 or gas for my car? hmm
Wouldn't it be nice to afford both.
Posted by the liquid man (44 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Money isn't the problem
Thank goodness I live in the U.S., where $3/gallon is STILL cheaper than gas in MOST countries.

In Hong Kong, they are paying almost $6. In Germany, $5.30. In Italy, $4.85. In Austria, $4.50. In the UK, $5.50.

It is really sad to hear Americans whine about gas prices. The rapid change is what angers people, but our prices are still low in comparison to most countries. Want REALLY cheap gas? Then move to Venezuela or Azerbaijan.

My problem is not money, but time. When am I supposed to find time to sit down and waste hours playing games??
Posted by David Arbogast (1709 comments )
Link Flag
XBox 360 or gas for my car? hmm
Wouldn't it be nice to afford both.
Posted by the liquid man (44 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Money isn't the problem
Thank goodness I live in the U.S., where $3/gallon is STILL cheaper than gas in MOST countries.

In Hong Kong, they are paying almost $6. In Germany, $5.30. In Italy, $4.85. In Austria, $4.50. In the UK, $5.50.

It is really sad to hear Americans whine about gas prices. The rapid change is what angers people, but our prices are still low in comparison to most countries. Want REALLY cheap gas? Then move to Venezuela or Azerbaijan.

My problem is not money, but time. When am I supposed to find time to sit down and waste hours playing games??
Posted by David Arbogast (1709 comments )
Link Flag
XBox 360 or gas for my car? hmm
Wouldn't it be nice to afford both.
Posted by the liquid man (44 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Money isn't the problem
Thank goodness I live in the U.S., where $3/gallon is STILL cheaper than gas in MOST countries.

In Hong Kong, they are paying almost $6. In Germany, $5.30. In Italy, $4.85. In Austria, $4.50. In the UK, $5.50.

It is really sad to hear Americans whine about gas prices. The rapid change is what angers people, but our prices are still low in comparison to most countries. Want REALLY cheap gas? Then move to Venezuela or Azerbaijan.

My problem is not money, but time. When am I supposed to find time to sit down and waste hours playing games??
Posted by David Arbogast (1709 comments )
Link Flag
They missed a bigger opportunity...
Microsoft blew it then. They missed an opportunity to make the first day of Xbox 360 sales on the biggest shopping day of the year. By their schedule they will already be sold out of the 360 before the Friday after Thanksgiving. This eliminates it as a power-buy item that drives the consumer train to Christmas.

They just need to wearhouse the units until Thanks giving and get them on shelves the morning after. Doing this would ensure they had the chance to say "We sold the most consumer electronic devices in one day in all of history". I really do expect it to sell out quickly, but it would sell out in 4 hours on that one Friday.
Posted by zaznet (1138 comments )
Reply Link Flag
They missed a bigger opportunity...
Microsoft blew it then. They missed an opportunity to make the first day of Xbox 360 sales on the biggest shopping day of the year. By their schedule they will already be sold out of the 360 before the Friday after Thanksgiving. This eliminates it as a power-buy item that drives the consumer train to Christmas.

They just need to wearhouse the units until Thanks giving and get them on shelves the morning after. Doing this would ensure they had the chance to say "We sold the most consumer electronic devices in one day in all of history". I really do expect it to sell out quickly, but it would sell out in 4 hours on that one Friday.
Posted by zaznet (1138 comments )
Reply Link Flag
They missed a bigger opportunity...
Microsoft blew it then. They missed an opportunity to make the first day of Xbox 360 sales on the biggest shopping day of the year. By their schedule they will already be sold out of the 360 before the Friday after Thanksgiving. This eliminates it as a power-buy item that drives the consumer train to Christmas.

They just need to wearhouse the units until Thanks giving and get them on shelves the morning after. Doing this would ensure they had the chance to say "We sold the most consumer electronic devices in one day in all of history". I really do expect it to sell out quickly, but it would sell out in 4 hours on that one Friday.
Posted by zaznet (1138 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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