Microsoft targets 15 million shipped Xbox 360 consoles by June 2007

Posted by Wolfgang Gruener

New York (NY) - In yet another bid to draw attention to itself before the release of the more closely watched PS3 and Wii consoles, Microsoft today announced the latest shipment forecasts for its Xbox 360 system, which is expected to get a bump in sales during the holiday shopping season.

According to Peter Moore, marketing vice president from Microsoft's entertainment division, global shipments of the Xbox 360 are esitimated to reach 10 million by the end of the year, with upwards of 15 million planned by June 30, 2007, the end of Microsoft's fiscal year.

The Xbox 360 will officially enter the next-generation video game console battle when the PS3 and Wii are launched this month, on the 17th and 19th respectively. With nearly one year of post-release production under its belt, Microsoft's console will be much more available in retail stores than the PS3, which was shortened to a global launch allocation of only 500,000 units. Nintendo has said the Wii will be able to meet a lot of the demand, with 6 million consoles planned for release by the end of the year.

However, despite having the more mature console out in the market, Microsoft is facing several obstacles, that are somewhat unexpected: In its most recent quarterly earnings result, the company said that Xbox and PC game revenue sales have jumped to $319 million. However, the company ackowledged that it has been hit with increasing cost in numerous areas, such as sales and marketing, development as well as Xbox 360 production: According to the company, the Xbox 360 is more expensive to manufacture than one year ago. And considering the fact that Microsoft was estimated to pay $550 to get one Xbox 360 out the door in November of last year, the company could see increasing pressure and have little room to fend off the PS3 and Wii through more aggressive pricing.

As part of its campaign to stimulate growth in Xbox 360 sales, Microsoft has begun to re-package the console as a source for casual games and game players, a market segment highly sought after by Nintendo. "The real growth here is getting to that moderate gamer. We need to bring them to the box," said Moore. The shift towards casual games will likely have a strong presence in the holiday advertising of the 360 as Microsoft attempts to grab new customers that weren't interested in the console during last year's holiday season.