I think that Microsoft was in such a rush to release the system by the holidays that there were defects in its manufacturing process. I'm not saying that the systems bought in November were necessarily bad, but we all heard reports about returns and overheating. Perhaps there was enough cause for concern on Microsoft's part to step back and re-evaluate their manufacturing process.
I suspect a lot of systems that could be in stores right now were held back due to these concerns. Maybe Microsoft is overhauling their whole console production process, perhaps replacing certain parts. That would explain why only a trickle of 360 systems are being released right now. I suspect the few systems coming out have been through a thorough quality-control process.
Of course, Microsoft wouldn't want any of these difficulties made public due to their investors and stock prices. And of course the word "recall" is totally out of the question.
The only other explanation for the shortage is that Microsoft is holding back on purpose, trying to keep the "hype" factor elevated. But that doesn't make sense, because Sony still has a much larger console base than Microsoft, and these months ahead of the PS3 launch offer the only opportunity for Microsoft to catch up.
I'd like to hear your thoughts.
Whatever the reason for the lack of hardware Microsoft is making a big mistake right now. The only reason they launched early was to get ahead of the competition and since the system is technically "available" its a shame nobody can buy it. I don't think it will take Sony very long to catch up to Microsoft.
Also whats the deal with the software? Have any more games even been released since the holiday season? None of this is making me want to run out there and get one of these machines.
Microsoft don't really care about fluctuations in their stock prices. They treat their stocks as a long term deal - we're talking like 15 years minimum here. With the anticipation of Vista too I can't really see the 360 causing the business world to really care too much. I mean the XBox userbase are pretty loyal and XBox Live was a great way to lock people in to the XBox line.
I'm pretty sure MS knew all along they would have trouble with shipments. They made it publicly known they were behind in terms of production units well before launch. Microsoft's policy has always been to get the product out the door as soon as possible then fix it later and that strategy has always worked for them. While people may not be able to buy the machines it does mean people are talking about the games. I've got mates who have them so those of us who don't have the machines still get the hype through playing on theirs you know.
If they had waited till they had more units then not only would the graphics have seemed less impressive for the launch titles but overall there would be less hype. They have now had many months of exposure irrelevant of whether people have been able to get the machines or not.
Don't forget that if they had delayed the launch due to the production problems then this would have cost them millions. The advertising, magazines, distribution details, etc. would have been worked out many many months in advance. It would not have made good economic sense to have to restructure all those things a mere 2-3 months before launch.
Microsoft don't really care about fluctuations in their stock prices.[/QUOTE]
Whoa! Not so fast there. They may not care about tiny little fluctuations in their stock prices, but make no mistake, they would certainly care if something happened that caused stock to plummett, and that's what we're talking about here. Stocks and investors are basically ALL that big companies care about. I mean, everything they do is an effort to make them happy or keep them happy, that's how big business works. You may be confused with the fact that Microsoft DOES tell their investors to hang in there during the early stages (big-picture speaking) of their move to the console market, which they HAVE to do because soe far it really hasn't earned them any real money.
I can see them doing sort of a "silent recall" on machines because of problems, but I think the time has passed for them to be keeping a leash on the machines to prolong the hype. I think that one way or the other, they are shooting themselves in the foot right now. All around me, I see the 360 craze practically over. The other day, my wife and I had a bunch of the teenagers from our church over for a video game tournament, and before the tournament started we had all the machines running with different games on different TV's. We had a Gamecube runnning Mario Kart only, a PS2 running Tricky, Soul Caliber, and another one I can't remember, a Super NES playing Street Fighter 2, a Jag running Super Burnout, and a 360 running 2 games I don't remember the names of. For the first 15 minutes all the machines were busy with each controller being used (there were about 15 people here). But after that, The only two games being played or watched were Mario Kart Double Dash and Street Fighter 2. I overheard a few kids talking about how they were gonna but more games for their current systems instead of saving for a 360 "cause there's not that much of a difference". Later I busted out the NES and people were going nuts playing Punch Out, Excitebike, and some Powerpad games. If you ask me, all the next-gen consoles are in alot of trouble. Except maybe the Revolution, since it is offering something new. I just got a good firsthand look at the videogame markets key demographic yesterday, and they were all into old-school fun. You had to wait like 20 minutes for a turn on Double Dash, so that says something about what they are looking for in consoles. What do you all think?
Well on Live Arcade there's been Marble Madness and Crystal Quest.
In terms of main games there's been Full Auto and Fight Night 3 both very solid games.
In a year's time no one will remember whether the system had a slow start. The PS3 is also going to have a slow start. It is better to reach market as early as possible for maximum exposure. MS has some of the best business brains in the world.
That comment about their stock prices came direct from some MS employees I talked to. No confusion whatsoever. MS is rich enough that it can whether any storm in in stock prices. I also believe that the major stock holder in MS is the employees though I could be wrong on that as I have not checked the figures.
The problem is the same with every highend new chipset,yield.
The same problem is faced in the pc world were high end graphics cards have a high defect ratio at the manufacturing plant.So these high end devices get a pretty high price at retail to offset the losses.
The difference between a highend videocard and a console is that the latter is a mainstream product with a large amount of consumers.Combine the low yield with high demand and you end up with shortages.
PS2 faced a similar problem and I'm sure the PS3 will face more of the same.