Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) has answered Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE) in the video game console wars, sort of. The software and would-be technology giant sold more than 1 million Xbox One units in its first 24-hour period. The launch took place in thirteen countries, but the dirty little secret is that Microsoft could have sold far more units. The limited supplies could also have a bit of an impact on GameStop Corp. (NYSE: GME) and other key retailers, and GameStop decided not to open its doors on Thanksgiving Day.
Selling a million units of a $500 video game console in just 24 hours is no easy feat on the surface. That is right at a half-billion in sales in one day, minus the wholesale price to the distributors and retailers. Sony said in the middle of November that it sold more than 1 million units of its PlayStation 4 in North America in the first 24 hours.
Both figures were records for the companies. Again, Microsoft seems hampered by supply constraints when you consider that the console was launched in 13 nations. Sony’s quoted sales were in North America. If the console makers and their contract manufacturers do not get their manufacturing machines cranking into overdrive, then they may leave hundreds of millions in sales on the table each (or possibly more). These supply limitations are also felt by the video game content and game creation houses.
Outside of a few exclusive game titles and sports league exclusives, the biggest difference between the PS4 and the Xbox One is not just the entertainment and connectivity ambitions of Microsoft. It is the $100 higher price of the Xbox One. Here is what is happening at the major retailers as of Monday:
- Best Buy is sold out online for the Xbox One and also for the PlayStation 4.
- GameStop is sold out online for the Xbox One and also for the PlayStation 4.
- Wal-Mart is sold out online for the Xbox One and also for the PlayStation 4.
- Even Amazon.com is sold out of the Xbox One and PS4 except for the much higher priced special editions.
The good news for Microsoft and for Sony is that there is still 30 calendar days until Christmas. The bad news is that sales of the next full deliveries are already spoken for. Bloomberg signaled that GameStop alone has a waiting list of 2.3 million in total for PS4 and Xbox one systems.
Microsoft and Sony both could have added more to their top-line sales figures had they supply issues been worked out ahead of time. The saving grace here may be that there is still another five weeks before year-end for the company to cram in as much as they can in sales. GameStop recently gave its earnings report and the stock fell from $52 down to $48 before recovering a bit.