Early Xbox 360 sales beat expectations

Early Xbox 360 sales beat expectations

With Sony's long-awaited PS3 delayed overseas until November - and no word yet on an Australian release - Microsoft has had a clear run launching its Xbox 360 games console.

A week on from midnight launches at 350 stores across Australia and New Zealand, Ingram Micro and its mass merchant channel were reporting better than expected sales figures.

Ingram Micro boss, Guy Freeland, said the distributor had already sold $40 million of consoles and accessories for Xbox 360. It began planning a campaign with Microsoft in Q3 of last year to ensure a smooth retail rollout.

"It was a huge exercise for us but it went off as planned despite our warehouse and carriers feeling some pressure," Freeland said.

Myer electrical business manager, Neil Merola, said its three-month pre-sales campaign had beaten targets by about 20 per cent.

Kmart electronic games buyer, Chris Allen, agreed sales had exceeded expectations.

According to industry watcher, GfK, more than 30,000 consoles shipped in the first week of release.

Senior games analyst, Daniel Morse, said this reflected a significant market shift in the gaming industry.

When Sony's PS2 console was released six years ago, for example, it sold less than 4000 units in its opening week.

Games and accessories had added significantly to the overall Xbox 360 spend, according to retailers.

"Wireless controllers are by far our best selling accessory [for Xbox 360]," Allen said. "Customers love them because there are no more cords to trip over."

Allen said a 'play and charge' kit - which recharges wireless controllers during gameplay - had also been popular. Leading games in week one were Oblivion Elder Scrolls IV, Call of Duty 2 and Project Gotham Racing.

Myer's Merola said customers were typically buying two games per console. GfK estimates put that figure at 2.6 games sold per console.

Merola said that despite a significant price difference, the $649 'pro' bundle had outsold the $499 'core' by a ratio of 9:1 in Myer outlets. The pro bundle adds a 20GB hard drive and high-definition cables.

With the initial launch over, Myer's Merola predicted the buyer demographic will begin to change.

"For the first few days, as we expected, the gaming fraternity was a key part of the early sell through, but we are expecting a shift as families start getting involved," he said. "We've wired all our downtown stores to promote the console on high-definition displays."

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