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Are Microsoft and Sony Fibbing About Shortages?

| 29 Nov 2010 21:24
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The word on the street is that both Move and Kinect could be in short supply over the holiday season, but analyst Michael Pachter thinks that Sony and Microsoft might just be playing games in order to crank up demand.

Remember how tough it's been over the years to come up with a Wii during the holidays? And how it seemed like, no matter what Nintendo did to maximize its production capabilities, it could just never keep up with the insane demand? Industry analyst Michael Pachter is pretty sure Sony and Microsoft do, and he thinks that they might be trying to use a similar tactic to generate interest in the Move and Kinect motion controllers.

"I think both companies would very much like for consumers to believe that their devices are highly sought after and difficult to obtain. That usually works to spur demand," he told IncGamers.

But the numbers just don't add up. "Sony shipped 2.5 million units in the U.S. and Europe, and their sales are nowhere near that level," he continued, "so I'm not sure how they can reconcile the fact that units shipped far exceed units sold."

He said Microsoft appears to be doing a better job of managing Kinect inventories than Sony is with Move, but that both companies appear to be following the same basic strategy: putting out truckloads of console bundles while keeping a tight rein on standalone units. The ready availability of bundles ensures that the price of the standalone controllers won't break the $300 mark on eBay, he added.

Even discounting the apparently out-of-balance numbers Pachter quoted for the Move, my inherent distrust of huge corporations leads me to suspect that he's probably onto something. Not that this transgression is as serious as, say, lying about dumping toxic sludge into the water supply for 20 or 30 years; after all, Nintendo has very clearly demonstrated that sometimes, the best way to sell your stuff is to not have quite enough of it to go around. Can we really blame Sony and Microsoft for wanting a piece of that action and maybe cooking the books a bit to get it?

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