Friday, January 04, 2008

Microsoft: Xbox 360 sells 17.7 million consoles worldwide.

According to Major Nelson of Xbox Live, their PR team recently released this statement:

"The PR team has just released some interesting numbers on where we are with the Xbox 360 that I thought you would enjoy discussing:

We have sold more than 17.7 million Xbox 360 consoles worldwide
More than 8.1 million copies of "Halo 3" have been sold since its launch (September 25, 2007)
Mass Effect" reached 1.6 million units sold, in just six weeks (on sale November 20, 2007)"


17.7 Million Xbox 360s sold worldwide. That's NOT a typo.

Of course, some might contest that Microsoft might be making up these figures, or that these figures reflect consoles shipped and not sold. Two things:

1. Is Microsoft making this stuff up? I disagree. Microsoft's a publicly traded company and if they were to lie about something as big as this, they can (and WILL) get in trouble. I'm sure that a lot of people are waiting for a reason to sue Microsoft to get some of their billions.

2. Shipped versus sold. The truth is, the numbers given out by Microsoft are SHIPPED. However; note that Microsoft would *only* ship consoles to retailers if retailers ordered the consoles from them. If there were no demand for Xbox 360s (and if those Xbox 360s that retailers already had weren't selling), retailers wouldn't order that many systems from Microsoft. But they did. And whether or not those retailers sold those systems is already irrelevant to Microsoft. They've made their money already. The retailers problem now is to sell the consoles that they had shipped to them. Now, they wouldn't have that many consoles shipped to them if they weren't confident that they couldn't sell those things, would they?

Now the other big argument against this is the NPD figures...which I already saw coming because I've seen arguments like this rage on Teamxbox for pages and pages without end. NPD figures provide a good idea of sales but they don't give the entire picture because they don't consider some outlets like Wal-mart. Read these articles for more information:

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0PJQ/is_19_2/ai_n6227089

http://kotaku.com/gaming/npd/npd-how-it-works-229825.php

So while NPD is a great guide on who's doing well in the games business, they aren't the absolute when it comes to determining the overall sales of each of these console makers and game developers. I'm NOT saying NPD is totally irrelevant---I'm just saying they provide part of the whole picture, but not the complete picture. So Microsoft's claim of 17.7 million sold is not entirely improbable; in fact, if they were to lie about it, again, they can get in trouble for it because they're publicly traded, and sooner or later the truth will come out (if they're lying) and that would hurt their company reputation in the end.

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