MS has three months to ship 3m Xbox 360s

CFO's proud prediction

Microsoft hopes to sell up to 3m Xbox 360 consoles by the end of February 2006 - three months after the next-generation machine machine debuts in the US in two weeks' time.

The 360 arrives in the US on Tuesday, 22 November, and the UK and Europe on Friday, 2 December. Japanese consumers will be able to get their hands on the console on Sunday, 10 December.

Together, Microsoft hopes, they will all buy 2.75-3m units in the 360's first 90 days, Bryan Lee, the Xbox division's CFO, said at an analyst conference in New York yesterday.

"I'm very proud to announce that we think through the first 90 days of launch... We expect to have sold 2.75-3m consoles worldwide," he said.

Add together the consoles, the accessories, the Xbox Live subscriptions and, crucially, the software, and the overall revenue accrued from the 360's launch period will be "well over" $1.5bn, Lee forecast.

"I can't think of many other, if any other, products that have had an initial launch that have sold $1.5bn to consumers in their first 90 days," he said.

Microsoft has said it expects to sell 4.5-5.5m Xbox 360 consoles during its current fiscal year, which comes to a close on 30 June 2006. ®