No shortages, 'God willing'

August 5th by Johnny Minkley

With retail increasingly fearful of a repeat of last year’s crippling hardware shortages, SCEE this week moved to reassure the trade that it’s confident stocks are being managed effectively ahead of Christmas.

With allocations already tight on PSP and a similar situation expected for Xbox 360, a twitchy High Street believes more current-gen shortages could deal a devastating blow to a sector still on the recovery.

But SCEE president David Reeves (pictured) was quick to play down fears and inform the trade that his company is firmly on top of the situation this time around.

“Last year there was a shortage and I know that it affected retail quite dramatically,” he told MCV. “But at the moment, I don’t see anything on my radar that tells me there’s going to be a repeat of last year.

“It’s natural that retail is nervous about getting enough product – it’s their livelihood. We understand that and we are simply going to do our best this year, and every year, to make sure they have a sustainable business during the peak and beyond.”

And despite last year’s mass Xbox and PS2 shortage, which cost the UK games sector an estimated £75 million over the festive period, Sony claims production is on track to meet Q4 demand.

“From a SCEE point of view we are managing stocks very tightly, as we have for the last 10 years,” Reeves added. “We now have better stock levels than we’ve probably had before – we’re very comfortable.”

Asked whether he had added advice for panicking retailers, he added: “Make sure you have your regular meetings with our marketing and sales people and tell them what your expectations are. I’m sure our people will be able to deliver.”

Microsoft, however, was less open on the matter, choosing to avoid commenting on the stock situation directly.

Xbox product marketing director Richard Teversham told MCV: “We are looking forward to a great Christmas for Xbox across Europe. The response from both consumers and retailers for Xbox 360 has been very positive, and we still have a couple of surprises up our sleeve, which will be rolled out before launch."

“We are currently working with retail to ensure that we meet the high demand for Xbox and Xbox 360 over the Christmas period.”

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