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Microsoft confirmed today that its Xbox 360 game console and Kinect motion-control system sold in such large numbers during the holidays that it expects shortages in the near term.

Microsoft saw huge demand for the Xbox 360 and Kinect after the Nov. 4 launch of the motion control system. To deal with that, it pulled production of consoles that were previously planned for January and February, said David Dennis, a spokesman for Microsoft. The company found ways to expedite the shipments of Kinect systems directly from manufacturing to retail locations, for instance, in order to replenish the systems that were being sold out.

In its first 60 days or so, Microsoft shipped 8 million Kinect systems to retailers. Most of those sold through, as spot shortages appeared in late December. Now, Microsoft has the same problem that Sony had a year ago when it saw high demand for its slimmer PlayStation 3 console. But Microsoft’s position is a little more severe since Kinect sold so well and because the slimmer version of the Xbox 360 has been selling well since its introduction in June. Microsoft said today that the the Xbox 360 sales were up 42 percent for the year, and in December the company sold 1.9 million consoles.

It ended the year with 30 million Xbox Live members and 50 million consoles sold to date.


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