Xbox One momentum strong as stock shortage not seen easing

Dec 11, 2013
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Microsoft's two million Xbox One sales are likely to grow by another million before the year is out, it's predicted, assuming retailers can keep stock on hand, though questions remain about the longevity of the next-gen consoles in the new year. The sales figure - an average of 111,111 units sold per day, Microsoft highlighted - was announced this morning, and followed Sony's 2.1m PlayStation 4 global sales stat earlier this month.

Whereas supplies of the PlayStation 4 have been effectively non-existent, however, at least through online retailers in the US, the Xbox One has had at least some availability. So far Amazon has been the most likely candidate for stock of Microsoft's next-gen console, with short bursts of units coming in over the past few days.

Today alone, in fact, Amazon has been alternately in and out of stock; at time of writing, only consoles through third-party Amazon Marketplace sellers are available, though earlier today the retailer was accepting orders for a post-December 19th delivery date. Earlier in the week, Amazon warned that it might not be able to meet Christmas day deliveries unless buyers paid for express shipping.

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That degree of demand, analysts say, is likely to hold out until the end of the year at least. "Our checks suggest there is strong demand for next gen hardware among both game enthusiasts as well as holiday shoppers," Baird's Colin Sebastian said, "and most retailers still have open orders for both platforms."

However, the lifespan of a console ranges across more than just the few seasons the average smartphone or tablet generally manages, and questions still remain about how sales of the Xbox One and the PS4 will hold up in comparison to their well-selling predecessors. Microsoft has said that the pace of Xbox One sales so far has set records for Xbox hardware, though it's still early days for both platforms.

The company's strategy has been to diversify the Xbox One's appeal, making for a device with other applications in the living room beyond simply gaming. Whereas the PlayStation 4 - which we reviewed last month - is arguably the more focused gaming machine, the Xbox One extends its reach into entertainment like film and television, with voice and gesture control over live and on-demand media.

On the flip-side, however, that - and the mandatory Kinect sensor bar - has meant the Xbox One carries a price premium above the PS4, and it's one that Microsoft is unlikely to be able to trim in the near future unless it's willing to stomach a loss on each unit sold. According to teardown analysis, each console Microsoft sells for $499 costs it $471 to produce.


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