Leave it to EA's ever-controversial president John Riccitiello to put the boot. According to El Ricco, by way of Blooomberg, "Microsoft has had its teeth kicked in, in both Europe and Japan". Ouch. This may help explain why EA has been quietly shuffling all of their European Xbox releases further back into the summer for the last few weeks...
Bloomberg has picked up on what we all suspected already, reporting that the Xbox has fallen short of its sales targets in both Europe and Japan.
Sales in Japan slumped to around 10,000 units a week by its third week on sale there, meaning that the initial shipment of 250,000 Xboxes which were sent to Japan on February 22nd almost certainly haven't all been sold yet, a month on from the console's launch.
And while European numbers still aren't being given out, it is obvious that things haven't gone as well as Microsoft had hoped in many countries on this side of the pond.
Xbox marketing director John O'Rourke puts a brave face on things by claiming that "we're off to a great start in every region".
Analysts now suspect that Microsoft's strong showing in America won't be enough to let them reach their target of selling 4.5 to 6 million Xboxes worldwide by the end of June, and some suggested that the company may have to cut pricing soon. While this would undoubtedly provide a huge boost to the console's fortunes here in Europe, we're not convinced that pricing is the problem in Japan.
The Xbox is already cheaper in Japan than anywhere else, and lack of Japanese games probably has more to do with its slow sales there, not to mention the fact that its rivals both have a huge head start on their home turf. ®