It looks like stock shortages of Xbox 360ís are to continue well into the Spring according to some reports emerging today, following on from the firmís announcement of its second-quarter business results earlier this week.
Whilst Microsoft announced a record-breaking revenue of $11.83bn, this still fell short of Wall Street analystís expectations of $11.93 for the key quarter of the year Ė the consumer frenzy that is the Christmas and Holiday shopping season.
Analysts are blaming this shortfall on availability of components for the 360 as well as the limited manufacturing capacity. Microsoft sold a lower than expected 1.5m Xbox 360 units throughout November and December. The Redmond giant has also cut its sales forecast for 360 in the first 90 days of 2006 down from 3m to 2.5m, due to capacity constraints.
Stock shortage problems lost the Xbox company $293m over the quarter, which when compared to a $55m profit for the same quarter in 2004, is a hefty loss.
Major US retailer Circuit City told USA Today earlier this week that "supplies are going to remain pretty tight for the next 90 days", and went on to say that the chain would not be promoting the console until it had stock to sell.
The continuing shortages are not only a concern for consumers, they are also a major concern for games publishers. SPOnG is already seeing a worrying number of 360 titles being delayed to later in 2006, with Splinter Cell and The Godfather being two of the latest triple-A titles pushed back. Add to this the wildly varying guesses as to when the PlayStation 3 is going to launch, not forgetting Nintedo's impending Revolution and you soon see that, for many publishers, developing for next gen is something of a lottery right now.
Microsoft has continued to shrug off suggestions that this is anything more than "a short-term manufacturing challenge" and that it will still be on target to meet previously promised sales of 4.5m to 5.5m for the full year.