How many Xbox 360s will ship Q4 2008?

Obviously Microsoft know the answer to this one because they have already decided their manufacture numbers. We can only guess. So lets look what happened in the last two years. In 2006 they shipped just 1 million units in Q3 and then 4.4 million units in Q4. So over a fourfold increase for the holiday season quarter. Then in 2007 they shipped 1.8 million units Q3 followed by 4.2 million units Q4, so just over doubling this time.

This year Microsoft have just announced a 2.2 million unit Q3, their best yet. Can they recreate that fourfold plus increase from 2006? It would give them a quarter of 9.68 million units. I think they can and here’s why:

  • The massive price drop to $199 now makes the 360 a casual impulse purchase. People will just put one in the trolley as they walk round Walmart, Carrefour, Tescos etc. Also critical is that it is now cheaper than the Wii so the very many people who buy on price alone could well switch their purchase.
  • Sony is now very widely perceived to have lost. And the PS3 is still very expensive and is a far weaker buying proposition. Lots of people are going to switch their attentions to the 360. Especially keen gamers who already have a PS3 and who can see how much they are missing out. There are going to be a lot of households with two current generation consoles.
  • Japan. The Xbox 360 has really taken off. It is selling far faster than Microsoft expected and they are suffering shortages as they struggle to keep up with demand. If the 360 become “must have” they could sell the entire 9 million units here. Seriously. The Japanese market is very fashion led and frequently winds itself into a frenzy.
  • Major revisions to Live. Pundits continually underestimate Live yet to Microsoft it is the main event. The consoles are just an enabling tool. This revision is seen by Microsoft as reinventing their whole offering. They are making the jump from gaming platform to being the most capable multimedia device on the market. With 14 million members the Live service now has massive momentum. But still nothing compared with what it will achieve as it becomes the essential entertainment hub.
  • The recession. A lot of people will see this Christmas as their last chance for a good time before the economic realities hit home. An Xbox 360 also makes sense in a recession as it is very cheap very high quality entertainment. So bad economic times may well actually help Microsoft.
  • Piracy. There has been a massive recent increase in Xbox 360 piracy whilst the PS3 is still largely pirate proof. The reality is that there are a huge number of thieves out there who like to steal their games for free. They see no need to contribute towards the cost of making their entertainment. So for this audience the Xbox 360 becomes the game console of choice.
  • The games. Quite simply the Xbox 360 has by far the best catalogue of games out of the current generation platforms. And playing games is what these machines are about. And when games are cross platform they generally play better on the 360. Till recently people were hoping that the Wii and PS3 would compete or even catch up with the 360 game catalogue. But now it is blatantly obvious that they won’t, the 360 is just too far ahead, Microsoft have tied up too many exclusives and it is a far better business proposition for publishers.

Looking at this I can see a potential for Microsoft cracking 10 million units Q4. Lets hope they are geared up to do it.


  1. Thanks voor your collum and i pretty much agree.

    I think that the price tag is the most important advantage that they have over the wii and the ps3. The biggest plus sony has is little big planet wich must sell pretty big but the 360 has lips and you’re in the movies coming up for the more “casul” gamer.

    So last thing Sony can do is invest massively in marketing this holiday season but the don’t have the cash (there not making profit) to do this. Microsoft will take this oppurtunity.

    exciting times and this kind of competion can only be good for the consumers, us!



    (proud owner of a wii and a 360)

  2. the Xbox 360 has by far the best catalogue of games out of the current generation platforms.

    a big fat lie

  3. It is selling far faster than Microsoft expected and they are suffering shortages as they struggle to keep up with demand. If the 360 become “must have” they could sell the entire 9 million units here. Seriously. The Japanese market is very fashion led and frequently winds itself into a frenzy.


  4. Japan: “If the 360 become “must have” they could sell the entire 9 million units here. Seriously.”

    No, not seriously. Very UNseriously.

    The 360 won’t even sell 9 million in Japan over its entire lifetime, more like 3 million maybe. And yet you’re suggesting it could sell 9 million there in Q4 2008?

    Your analysis is a joke, I’ll be sure to ignore you in the future.

  5. @gadget

    Care to explain why you think it’s a lie and who’s is better rather than just sounding like a fanboy?

  6. you need to watch the hiphopgamershow about what he thinks about the 360 and ps3. he tells the truth more about whats to come for the ps3 and why its smarter to buy it rather than the 360. sure the 360 is cheap but only for the arcade. ppl are acting like you get the prime unit for 200 but you dont. you get one with no hard drive. sure you could go pay 50-100 for one but really whats the point.
    you have XBL but you have to pay $50 compared to the same service being FREE.. o wait its not the same the ps3 has an internet browser and everything.. mybad. after the holiday season what does xbox have left? halo recon, alan wake, and … o wait i havent really heard of many more exclusives.. im sure they’re there but not none like the ps3 will have. ubisoft AND EA show that they make more money off of the ps3 brand than the 360. you add the psp and the ps2 and you’re looking at about 1/3+ of their market. thats huge especially since they have a smaller user base.. when it expands most this next year.. think about it. gear of war2 is gunna be a sick game im not gunna lie im about to play it. fable 2 is probably sick but way toooo short.. but you think about Resistance2 with its huge multiplayer, killzone2 coming out soon which graphically is the sickest game ever, LBP which is crazy. but at the same time you have to think.. ppl dont want to spend hundreds of dollars on video games this year. im only gunna end up getting like 2 games this season. maybe three after the holiday.. you say the 360 plays better almost everytime but you kno by next year the publishers will learn to port the games right and the ps3 will start to look better. sure the japanese market is very trendy but you think they’ll want the 360 after the RROD kick in for them? they’ll see ppl in cali are sueing and there will be a public outcry.
    Sonys only seen as lost because of A$$holes like you bad mouthing their brand and saying how much it failed while trying to show the public light of an old product. microsoft is working on the next gen system they arent gunna care so much for the 360 anymore. all the new games are going to be devoloped for the 720. think about it. whats in the future for ps3? Home, GOW3, killzone2, a possibly exclusive GTA V!, heavy rain, white knight chronicles, Crysis on ps3, rockband ps3 exclusives, i am alive, infamous, and that huge multiplayed game i cant even remember of. 360 exclusive titles (mass effect2, bioshock2) will now be shipping as ps3 titles too.. they’ll have trophy awards so you get exclusive content like demos for playing more games and having more trophys..
    you MUST be right with all of that the 360 is the better choice…..

  7. I humbly disagree with this article. Here is why:

    1. If we look at the failing economy it is less likely that people are going to impulse buy this Christmas, thus I expect despite the price drop the 360 will only sell around 4-5 million.

    2. I find it hard to believe that people still are claiming Sony has lost when the following are true:
    2a. The PS3 has sold more units from launch in it’s relative life span than the 360 did at the same point in it’s life cycle.
    2b. The PS3 is selling at almost the exact same rate the PS2 was in it’s life cycle, and the 360 is currently at about half that. Indicating the 360 is more likely to loose.

    3. Yes the 360 has taken off in Japan as of recent, but also realize that the ps3s presence there dwarfs the 360 by literally millions currently, and many have been speculating that people have been holding out for some of the new system bundles like the Little Big Planet bundle. This is the “Quiet before the storm.”

    4. Live is another reason people are less likely to purchase a 360 during a recession. It instantly adds $50 to the initial price, and keeps growing every year. in 4 years it’s the same price as the PS3.

    5. I’ll give you that Piracy is occurring to a degree on the 360; however, that shouldn’t affect the average user as in order to pirate one has to mod their xbox in most cases. That is going to be beyond the scope of the average consumer so will only get a small portion of the market.

    6. There is a huge difference between Quantity and Quality. Best is very subjective, and can mean either Quantity or Quality depending on the individual. It is true that the xbox 360 has more games available on it, but it’s debatable if it has more Quality games. Lets not forget that the Xbox 360 has been out for a year longer, and many of it’s extra titles are also available on a PC where as very few if none of the PS3 exclusives are available on a PC.

    7. This is an adendum to points 5 and 6. People skilled enough to hack a 360 can add linux to a ps3 and gain access to additional games and emulators for it if they wanted to.

    8. And this is a BIG one. Microsoft is currently being Sued in California because they knew about the hardware failure known as the Red Ring of Death before the consoles launch, and yet still sold the broken system to the public in order to get their console out first. The red ring of death still plagues an inexcusable amount of people every month, and the only action Microsoft took was to extend the warranty to 3 years.

    9. Based off points 3 and 8, how much damage is Microsoft doing to them selves? There is an old saying, “Fool me once fool are you, fool me twice fool am I.” Almost every one I know that has a 360 that has red ringed on them has told me that if it dies after the 3 year warranty expires they will not be buying another one. Yes Microsoft May have gotten an initial sale from these individuals, but as more people experience the problem the more hesitant others will be. I know at least 5 individuals who simply will not buy an xbox 360 until it can be proven the problem has been fixed, and no it has not been yet.

  8. Xbox selling 9M. I wasn’t under the impression that Microsoft lowered the Xbox prices because demand is overwhelming. The current rise in sales will only be temporarily. Let’s see how long it will last. 9M? You can’t be serious.

  9. Man 360 will sell a lot just got a PS3 and its not as good as I heard, I played Ratchet and Clank: QOB and Uncharted they are really not AAA for sure and the graphics are not 10X better than Gears like said. ALso R &C looks less than upcoming Banjo. It looks good but not stellar.
    PS3 is good but, not to the extent that I read in the comment hell I spen first 45 mins in loading, installing and updating.

  10. Once again people talk about the fact that the PS3 ‘will come good’ and has ‘better games coming out’ whilst ignoring the fact that the current games catalogue is weaker than the 360’s.

    As an owner of both consoles I can safely say that my PS3 is mainly used as a Blu-Ray player and not a games console, which is where IMHO Sony have dropped the ball.

    Yes Drake’s was good, as was MGS4 – BUT (and here’s the big but) the 360 games catalogue CURRENTLY (and I use this word so the Sony fanboys cannot mistake what I am saying) is FAR stronger.

    Any true gamers who love games for what they are would have picked up a 360 alone for Gears of War, Fable 2 (which is a triumph for Lionhead Studios) and Bioshock (yes I know it’s now out on the PS3, but any true gamer worth their salt would not have waited to play it).

    When Sony have all these Killer Exclusive games people keep saying are ‘coming’, I might change my mind and think I have another great games console alongside the 360, and not a glorified Blu-Ray player which also has some good games for it.

  11. The issue of things upcoming with sony, and why PS3 gamers keep say that things are coming falls back on the whole 1 year head start Xbox had. What did Xbox have 1 year ago compared to what the PS3 has today? Think about it in those terms and you see that the argument its coming out in the next 3-8 months makes it a logical argument as 1) Xbox had a head start so claiming that its software is more plentiful and better relies on this and 2) it’ll take new gamers 3-8 months to catch up on all the AAAAA games on the PS3 (that’s enough time if they only play the best of the best) then after this stretch, the wait will be over.

    As for software, yes there is some differences, but 85% of games are multi plat, and the differences are what make us buy one over the other.
    Hardware, $200 is for a paired down system, $400 (same as PS3) gets you something comparable. Plus the controller on 360 *is hard to enjoy*. I mean i get rigamortis holding the thing.
    Let’s not compare Networks 1) as one you pay for (why?) 2) both are going to be updated in the next month, then we can compare apples to pies
    Paid for by the coalition of gamers for a dystopian electronic world.

  12. When it comes to purchasing a system most people dont have 400 at once so starting at 200 and adding 24-149 for a 20 or 120 gig hard drive is something they can handle. One month get the system, second month get a hard drive and gold service. I’m sure Bruce was talking about WORLD wide sales being near 9 million not Japan sales! That would not be a four fold increase it would be a 20 fold increase. So he obviously was talking world wide sales. If ps3 had better games it would have more than 10 system sellers, compared to 360 33 (based on million sales each game). And now the VP of MARKETING is dropping strong hints that MGS4 is being considered on xbox360. That is the only game I hear 360 fans saying they want. And about 360’s breaking making you a fool. What does that say about ps1? For that matter what does that say about ps2? You had more than ONE break if you used it and it was always disk read error. And there was only a 90 warranty! They NEVER fixed the issue until they ANNOUNCED the ps3 was coming, THEN they fixed it! That was 8 straight years of the same hardware error for the disk reader a VERY fixable problem! Yet Microsoft fooled no one! They manned up and paid to fix your system, extended the warranty to 1 year! Then once they saw people where having problems after 11 months extended it to 3 YEARS! No company has EVER taken care of the customers like that before. Spending 3 billion dollars to do it! They didn’t fool anyone! It is Sony that fooled you with PS1 and PS2 and yet you are calling Microsoft a ripoff? HUH? Irrational! So let me get this straight Sony refused to fix the PS1 and PS2 for 8+years and you become a fool attacking the ONLY company to fix systems for free EVER? And the only company to have a year warranty? And the only company to extend the warranty twice, and or up to three years? So moral is if you abuse some people they will become your loyal fan! Even the Capcom marketing VP said a big part of those PS2 125 million sales where just replacements! Microsoft did not count repairs as replacements by the way because you didn’t ever have to buy a second one. In fact they pay for all your shipping! And in some cases give out extra microsoft points which you can use to buy what you want. So PLEASE, get off the Sony is doing you good lie. If my PS3 broke I would be out of $400-500 if my 360 broke I would be out of nothing! Not even shipping!

  13. Second point about sales, Sony is not competing against how fast the ps2 sold during a point in time! It is competing against xbox360 NOW. Prime example, when xbox(1) was out people where saying it is a few hundred thousand ahead of where PS2 was during its first 1 and a half. Yet because it was not competing with where PS2 was during it’s first year and a half it got blown away! Dispite having supperior graphics to the PS2. All the developers where developing for ps2 already! Just like is happening with 360 now, 465 games for 360 and 180 games for ps3! It was a much closer ratio last year! Now it is really becoming a blowout! Plus people that have both tend to buy the top games on 360, because it allows developers to make supperior graphics(especially reguarding textures), AI, and frame rates, on a consistant basis. All in a short period of time! It usually takes a month or less to translate a game from ps3 to 360, with extras! But it usually takes a year to translate a game from 360 to PS3, and usually it still have graphical glitches! Only the early games are intact. So how is PS3 going to compete this time? There is not grand theft auto to save them! The only possible one is WOW world of warcraft! I Don’t think they are stupid enough to bring it to ps3 without getting a counter offer from microsoft to ensure the best deal. And once that happens Microsoft would be a fool not to try to get the deal if not buying blizzard.

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