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July 2, 2010

Xbox 360 slim enjoys US sales spike, but will it last?

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by Darren Allan

Microsoft has said that the Xbox 360 has experienced an upsurge in sales with the release of the “slim” model of the console a couple of weeks back.

The revamped Xbox 360 comes with sleeker lines, runs more quietly, and has built-in wi-fi, a port for the motion control system Kinect, and a 250GB hard drive.

Microsoft told Industry Gamers that demand at retail for the new Xbox had been “unprecedented” over in the US.

Price cuts on the existing Arcade and Elite models (down to $150 and $250 respectively) also meant overall sales of the console had picked up, Microsoft claimed.

Obviously this is only in the States, and how the new model performs worldwide will have more of a bearing on Microsoft’s fortunes. It’s due to arrive in the UK in two weeks time.

One analyst firm, DFC Intelligence, believes that Microsoft has peaked in terms of its Xbox success. Gamasutra reported that DFC commented: “In terms of changing the overall video game hardware platform market share we see [Kinect] having a negligible impact.”

“The Xbox 360 has some good years left, but the platform is clearly on the downside of its lifecycle.”

DFC thinks that the Kinect motion controller will struggle to broaden the Xbox’s appeal to a more casual market as Microsoft intends.

Well, we shall see come the end of the year, but in our opinion a lot of Kinect’s potential success depends on the price point it’s pitched at. As we stated yesterday, the price is rumoured to be anything up to £130, potentially.

If MS can keep it down to a hundred pounds, or preferably lower, that will surely generate more mass appeal than it having almost the same price tag as a standalone console system.

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