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Analysts estimates US launch week sales of 400,000 for Xbox 360

Launching in the US last week and entering European stores today, Microsoft's next-generation Xbox 360 console has reached US first week sales of 400,000, according to American Technology Research analyst, P.J. McNealy.

More than 400,000 Xbox 360s have been sold in the US since the console launched there just one week ago, according to American Technology Research analyst P.J. McNealy.

Numerous US retailers had ceased taking pre-orders for the console weeks, or even months before the November 22nd launch, and massive queues formed outside major stores in preparation for the midnight release. Thousands of customers were forced to leave empty handed as stock rapidly depleted nationwide, though Microsoft has promised the retail channel a weekly re-supply in the run up to Christmas.

According to McNealy, the widely publicised stock shortages - a consequence of an ambitious tri-continent launch strategy - have seriously hampered the potential first week sales. McNealy estimates that Microsoft could have sold up to three times as much if the stock was readily available at retail.

"I think they would have been happy to have sold another million if they could have. They just didn't have them," he said.

The US pre-launch situation has been largely mirrored in the UK, with retailers complaining that initial stock allocations will fall drastically short of consumer demand for the new machine. Pre-order customers have been advised that they may not receive their new console before Christmas, and while Microsoft has remained relatively quiet on official stock figures for the European launch, estimates of around 300,000 are "not far removed from reality" according to MS executive, Chris Lewis.

Microsoft has repeatedly stated that it is doing everything possible to manufacture, package and ship the consoles to retail, operating plants on a 24-hour basis in a bid to meet the current consumer demand. Day one stock allocations for Japan, where the console will launch on December 10th, have not been revealed.

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