SPOnG has received emails that indicate a complete withdrawal of Xbox hardware in the coming months, with claims surfacing today of a total end to generation one Xbox production.
According to senior sources within publishing, retailers are being instructed not to list Xbox hardware in their next catalogue publications. “They are telling us that they have reached their targets and want to clear the way for the next machine,” we were told, with our source speaking under terms of anonymity. “It’s reached the point where the amount of money they lose per unit, combined with the fact that they might well eat into their own [Xbox 360] market share, means that continuing the run is just not feasible.”
Of course the big question remains of exactly how many Xbox hardware units are still available. “There are only two million units left and no more will be produced,” continued our source. “There are 400,000 allocated for the whole of the European territory. After that there will be no more. It was confirmed to me that Microsoft has no plans to manufacture the original Xbox once the new console hits the market.”
However, Microsoft has indicated to key retailers that it plans to having around a million Xbox 360 hardware units available in time for Christmas of 2005, as reported by MCV last week and recently confirmed to SPOnG.
Microsoft’s official line on the matter is that the Xbox supply situation will improve, offering a six week wait-and-see window to retailers. Some cynics may argue that six weeks brings the welcome distraction of a 360-powered E3 show in Los Angeles. The Windows giant also claimed that manufacture of the original Xbox unit continues, although this end-of-cycle production run is likely to comprise the two million figure offered by our source today.
We will bring you updates on this story if anything changes.