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Xbox 360 hibernates 'til Spring

Where did the console go?

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Component shortages and a lack of manufacturing capacity have forced Microsoft's Xbox 360 console into hibernation, a situation that looks set to continue until Spring.

Despite its spectacular launch in November, US retailer Circuit City told USA Today earlier this week that "supplies are going to remain pretty tight for the next 90 days", with the consequence that the chain won't be promoting the console. There's no point throwing resources at a product it can't sell.

"Damage to Microsoft and 360 is growing every week with no clear explanation," adds Richard Doherty of consultancy and research group Envisioneering.

In terms of column inches, the Xbox 360 was one of Microsoft's most successful debuts. But supply constraints dimmed sales. The paper reports that Microsoft sold only 600,000 in the first two months, compared to 1.4m of the original Xbox in the same time frame. Redmond planners had wanted to ship 2.75m consoles in the first three months, a target it will now miss by a mile.

Earlier this month, Microsoft told the Financial Times that component shortages and a lack of manufacturing capacity were to blame.

The stuttering follow-up to the November launch has had a knock-on effect on publishers. Games site The Man Room describes Xbox 360 delays as "commonplace". ®

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