More of Moore on Xbox 360

Xbox 360 News

Peter Moore of Microsoft had a good deal to say at the DICE Summit in the quiet little desert town of Las Vegas. Besides trying to kid us that Windows Vista is a completely new games platform, he was very enthusiastic about Xbox 360. We repeat some of the things he said and then compare them to reality for your amusement.

Returning to old ground, you'll recall that in a previous article we reported how Moore had said that Within the next four to six weeks, anybody will be able to walk into a store and buy an Xbox 360.

We presume he means anybody in the US, because the chances of that happening worldwide are rather slim. The Xbox 360 has yet to even launch in many territories, though I suppose it's possible that when it does there will be excess stock on shelves, as there was in the tail-end countries during the Xbox 1 and PS2 launches.

Even if he does meet that goal in the US, it's somewhat unlikely that every retailer will be able to get boxes to stock. You may be able to walk into Toys'R'Us and buy an Xbox 360 off the shelf - indeed, you probably already can - but you have a slim chance of finding one in a small independent retailer

With Korea launching on February 24th, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Singapore launching on March 16th, and Australia / New Zealand on March 23rd, it's hard to imagine the goal of 'anybody' being able to buy one off the shelf by the end of March being realistic.

Microsoft expects to sell 4.5 to 5.5 million units of their new console before the end of June. It originally failed to hit its target of 2.75 to 3 million units in the first 90 days on sale, so now it's invented a new target.

Whether Microsoft's new target is any more realistic than their old one remains in doubt. Where did they pull the new numbers from? Is is nothing more than a revised calculation of the number of consoles they think they can manufacture with their new manufacturing partner Celestica in the mix?

Moore was also keen to point out the success of Xbox Live Arcade demo downloads. Around 20% of people who downloaded demos bought complete games. Unfair comparisons to the PC market make this look impressive, but realistically we're talking about a new console that has very few available titles, and even fewer that are worth owning. That many people wanted to play Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved indicates more about the quality of that particular title than anything else.

Microsoft can crow (in its official press release) that everyone who buys an Xbox 360 is picking up 2.9 extra items, but that just demonstrates that their core bundle is missing key components that will ultimately find their way into the pack as competition with Sony heats up.

Chances are those 2.9 items are made up by the people who were forced to buy the absurd 'core system' package because that was the only way they could get a console. They would probably want the essential hard-drive, at least one wireless controller and maybe a DVD remote as well - though I'm not sure how many people watch DVDs on their consoles any more, when you can buy a dedicated player for less than the price of a Microsoft remote.

However, as they're still shipping useless composite video AV connects, people are also going to want a SCART or component video AV connect, as was the case with Xbox 1. When you mix in the people who bought (or were bundled) a replacement faceplate with a stupid pattern on it, it's pretty easy to make up that great 'attachment' rate.

With 3.7 games sold to every console owner so far, publishers should be reassured, but the ones that can do math may be calculating that it doesn't necessarily amount to a vast number of titles sold worldwide. It simply serves as confirmation that wealthy early adopters can afford to buy software, which is presumably available in much better supply than the consoles themselves. It tells us nothing about how titles will perform on the console in the future. For the time being, the mass market is still with the PS2.