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The newest motion-control systems from Microsoft and Sony are starting to be in short supply as the busy holiday shopping season approaches.

Microsoft said today that some stores are selling out of its Kinect motion-control system, which launched on Nov. 4 and sold 1 million units in its first 10 days. David Dennis, a spokesman, said the company is working hard to keep up with demand and has increased manufacturing of the systems, which sell for $149 and work with an Xbox 360 game console. The company has also started expediting shipments via air cargo to increase its supplies.

Last week, Microsoft game chief Don Mattrick warned consumers that they should get their Kinect units by Thanksgiving. He also predicted that Microsoft would sell more than 5 million Kinect systems by the end of the year. (See our review of Kinect here).

Meanwhile, Sony’s Peter Dille, senior vice president of marketing in the U.S., said in an interview that stores are running low on supplies of the PlayStation Move controller, a motion-sensing wand that you can use with the PlayStation 3 game console. There are plenty of bundles available for $299 that package Move with a PS 3. But Dille acknowledged that Sony misjudged the demand for the stand-alone Move controllers. He anticipates that supplies will be short through January for the Move controllers in all major territories.


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Overall, video game sales are down 8 percent year to date. Last year, consumers waited longer to make purchases. Sales in October were mixed, but Dille said that there are lots of high-demand items in the video game aisles of stores, including Move, Kinect and Call of Duty: Black Ops.

“That bodes well for the holiday selling season,” Dille said. “We have a catch-up problem in all three territories that will last until January or February.”

Sony hasn’t said how many units of the Move, which went on sale in September, have sold through at retail. The company said that it shipped 1 million units to stores in its first month. (See our Move review here). Tonight, Sony’s big exclusive game of the season, Gran Turismo 5, goes on sale. The racing game is the biggest title in part because Sony’s other big game, Little Big Planet 2, has been delayed.

Nintendo says it expects to have plenty of hardware for the holidays. Sales of the Wii and DS have slowed down this year after a torrid couple of years. I suspect that Kinect will be the winner of the season by a wide margin. But it’s going to have to set the world on fire to hit 5 million units sold.

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