Although Microsoft has seen strong sales of its Xbox 360 in recent months, surging over the holidays on the back of Kinect's launch, the company doesn't expect to lead hardware sales when December's NPD results come out later today -- and it blames supply constraints.
Xbox Live program manager Larry "Major Nelson" Hryb said on Twitter
that Microsoft "ran out of consoles" at the end of December, and that as a result those on the Xbox team "don't expect to win [December]."
Nelson warned that Xbox 360 hardware supply
for January and February would be "tight as well," but that December's NPD results should bring "likely amazing [year-over-year] growth numbers for Xbox."
The console's been doing brisk business at retail. Between June and October 2010, Xbox 360 hardware sales rose 63 percent over 2009. And the company beat that rate in November alone, with sales up 68 percent year over year.
Gamasutra analyst Matt Matthews found
that when comparing average weekly sales rates, November 2010 saw the Xbox 360's best pace ever with 344,000 units per week. Overall, the console sold 1.37 million units in November.
If sales remained at the same pace, the Xbox 360 would have been on track to see its first 1.7 million-unit Christmas -- when the data is released later today, we'll see how the constrained supplies will affect these projections.