‘Don’t kill off Xbox early’

There’s no doubting the market’s excitement about the impending launch of the 360 console. But with software sales on the original Xbox format at their lowest for a year (see below), the trade has called for the giant not to forget its first born.

“Microsoft seems to have taken its eye off the ball with regards to the current Xbox – sales of hardware have slipped to a low level recently,” said one publisher boss.

“With all the excitement of the 360 launch they could be forgiven, but they must refocus as there are still opportunities for the current market. And as a publisher we need them to get behind it more strongly. This gets the consumer excited and in turn sells more software.

“As it stands, great software on Xbox is underperforming significantly.” Microsoft, however, has denied that Xbox has lost any of the company’s focus.

“We’re doing a ton of work with third parties and with retail,” UK boss Neil Thompson told MCV. “A lot of retail will get a significant portion of their Microsoft revenue this Christmas from Xbox. We’re certainly not ceasing in our efforts to drive that platform.”

Xbox Software Sales (Units)

ChartTrack figures show that the Xbox format saw a slight rise in market share last month after it dropped to a year low in August…

September 2005 - 11.0%
August 2005 - 10.5%
July 2005 - 11.7%
June 2005 - 17.2%
May 2005 - 18.0%
April 2005 - 17.5%
March 2005 - 11.3%
February 2005 - 15.0%
January 2005 - 11.2%
December 2004 - 13.8%
November 2004 - 14.3%
October 2004 - 14.2%
September 2004 - 14.2%

Xbox Hardware Sales (Units)

The shortages of last Christmas and the first few months of this year have taken their toll on Microsoft’s hardware sales, too, according to ChartTrack…

2005 year-to-date sales - 183,000
2004 year-to-date sales - 304,000
Year-on-year change - -39.7%

Source: ChartTrack/ELSPA

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