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XBox (Games) Businesses Microsoft

360 Shortage Rumours Marketing Ploy? 28

Posted by Zonk
from the not-the-sleaziest-thing-ever-done dept.
Joystiq wonders out loud if the shortage rumours going around about the Xbox 360 may not just be a marketing ploy on Microsoft's part. From the article: "The bottom line: in all likelihood, you'll be able to walk into just about any store on November 22nd and obtain an Xbox 360. But all it takes is a little, good, old-fashioned FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) to drive sales through the roof and make this rumor a self-fulfilling prophecy." If this is in fact a ploy, it may be backfiring on them. Gamasutra is reporting that an analyst is downgrading his opinion of how the launch will go based on these hardware shortage rumours.
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360 Shortage Rumours Marketing Ploy?

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  • by \\ (118555)
    "An analyst downgrading his expectations"? Are you fucking kidding me? So when they blow the fucking roof off the even lower expectations they can be ZOMG even MORE bullshit amazing than they will already surely be?

    This is like MS having elevnty million consecutive quarters beating earnings expectations because they had them lowerered just to beat them every time.

    Bullshit.
    • Re:Ha.y (Score:5, Informative)

      by badasscat (563442) <basscadet75&yahoo,com> on Wednesday October 19, 2005 @04:48PM (#13830308)
      This is like MS having elevnty million consecutive quarters beating earnings expectations because they had them lowerered just to beat them every time.

      Not sure you really understand how this works. MS can say whatever they want; they can say they expect to sell one single unit and then afterwards claim they beat expectations by 1.5 million percent. But analysts don't base their expectations on what manufacturers say. They never have and they never will.

      Analysts do their own research. They literally will do things like call up the factories involved in producing the various parts required and asking them how many units they can produce in a month. If necessary, they'll visit said factories to look at the assembly lines themselves. Sub-contractors are usually public corporations themselves so they have to publish stuff like manufacturing capacities, and it's not hard for an analyst to independently verify these numbers. (And they do require verification; the fact that a factory turned out 15 million doorstops last year does not mean it will also be able to turn out 1.5 million Xbox 360 outer casings by the end of November.)

      They'll do this for everything; packaging, materials, assembly infrastructure, delivery logistics.

      That's on the supply side.

      To determine demand, they'll also survey stores to get a sense of the number of preorders in various regions, and with a large enough sample size they can extrapolate that nationally. They'll do their own cold-calling too, random phone or other surveys of end-users, and/or more targeted focus groups and surveys geared just to people of a certain age or who identify themselves as gamers.

      There are also laws that govern how these analysts can function; they can be accused of orchestrating or participating in pump and dump schemes just like the companies themselves.

      The point being, if an analyst downgrades something like this, it's because he/they knows something we don't and that maybe even MS doesn't want us to know. It's not something that can be orchestrated by MS. In this case, there are probably a few weak links in the supply chain - it doesn't sound like it's the demand that's being downgraded, just the supply. And he even says it's probably not going to affect MS at all in the long run.

      I'm not convinced that you won't be able to walk into a store and buy an Xbox 360 at or soon after launch, though, but day one and immediately afterwards, you will probably have to hunt. They're not going to have 3 million systems out there if analysts believe they'll only have half that.
      • You sir, are SEVERELY wrong. While I applaud the thought process, you left off one key bit... Who exactly is employing this analyst? Who exactly would even benefit from the knoweldge this analyst gains? I have three words for you:

        My Crow Soft.

        Simple fact is that anyone else who would/could benefit from this news:

        1) Is either Microsoft, Sony or Nintendo. In either case, the responsible party has a vested interested in turning out biased news.

        2) Is a small-time 'stakeholder' and would not get a big enough r
        • TFA says that the analyst works for UBS Securities [ubs.com]. He's a stock analyst, same as any other, who produces analysis that his employer sells as a product. The point is that the analysis is used by investors to help them decide where to put their money.

          In this case, the analysis is probably really good news for investors in the companies supplying the parts for the 360, since it indicates that at least some of them are working to capacity, and it's still pretty good news for MSFT (though the part about them
      • Uh-huh. Back to the real world kiddo.

        You've obviously never worked as an analyist or for a large bank. What you've described is what an analyist _should_ do. Analyists work for banks. A given bank is often long on some set of stocks (abc) and short on others. Bank analyists often provide 'analysis' that lines attempts to move the market in such a way to help thier banks long positions go up and thier short positions go down and find numbers to support thier analysis. How many times have you sean an analyist
  • by KDR_11k (778916) on Wednesday October 19, 2005 @03:38PM (#13829623)
    "Slashdot Stories about XBox 360 Marketing Ploy?"
  • by WTBF (893340) on Wednesday October 19, 2005 @03:50PM (#13829758)
    Here [theinquirer.net] is some more information about what the proposed shortage is causing people to do.
  • Every console release is met with reports of (mostly artificial) shortages.

    This drives up demand and makes the fanboy froth over.

    I once found a stash of Nintendo64 systems in Wyoming of all places when there was a "shortage" nationwide. I promtly bought all I could afford (three) and resold them on ebay for record profits. The same thing will happen with this one, too.
  • Dur (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Gogo0 (877020) on Wednesday October 19, 2005 @03:53PM (#13829784)
    If MS were truly afraid of there being a shortage, they would delay the launch of the Xbox2. Arent they always touting how they will have such a headstart that will put them in an unbeatable lead?
    Delay it for a month and fix your launch planning issues, an eleven-month lead can still be spun by marketing.
  • No, that's the plan! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jspayne (98716) <jeff@p a y n e s p l a c e .com> on Wednesday October 19, 2005 @04:35PM (#13830186) Homepage
    Are you kidding? They want there to be a shortage during the Holiday rush. Not a big one - not so much that they miss making fistfulls of money - but one just big enough so that there are TV news reports of soccer moms beating each other senseless over the last unit at the local Toys R Us.

    The real marketing question is how many units to ship to make sure there are just enough so that almost everyone gets one.

    • The real marketing question is how many units to ship to make sure there are just enough so that almost everyone gets one.

      I suspect around 5 or 6 units would be pretty close.
  • How do I get a job as analyst? I can make up random BS with the best of them... is there some kind of school youhave to go to?
    • I, for one, believe that it's not what you know, it's who you know.

      So, no, schooling won't help. I, for one, think that socialization is the best answer.

      But then again, wtf do I, for one, know?

  • by ShadowsHawk (916454) on Wednesday October 19, 2005 @05:15PM (#13830558)
    Marketing is your best friend when you have a mediocre to crappy product. How many people bought a pet rock?
  • Remember the Xbox? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by metamatic (202216) on Wednesday October 19, 2005 @06:02PM (#13830948) Homepage Journal
    There was supposedly going to be a big Xbox shortage too. I used to work across the street from Best Buy. I remember walking through every day, and they had stacks of unwanted Xboxes. Same at EB, they couldn't shift 'em and started offering special bundles.

    Now, PS2 on the other hand... Those were hard to find. The worst bit was when I got a PS2, I couldn't find any Sony memory cards anywhere.
  • I don't get how this actually translates to someone wanting or not wanting to buy a XBox360. I figure, if someone wants one, they will likely be of the mind that they will be buying one regardless any supply issues. On the flip side, hearing this does not make you more likely to want to buy a xbox if you haven't already. I can somewhat see the 'marketing trick' in that people who want one will be even more eager to ensure they get theirs first, but that doesn't translate to more sales in the long run.
    • Its not a marketing ploy for people who already made up there mind but for the ones that can't decide yet. They might think oh no if I dont get one right away I wont get a chance for a while if I decide I want it. They want people to buy them without figuring out how much it sucks first. It happens every time, poeple buy the consoles on launch then relize that they realy didn't want it. If you don't beleave me just go see how many used systems are up for sale about a month after launch.
  • The thing is, nobody trusts Microsoft. When it comes to marketing, even more so. They can hype something all they want but everyone knows that Microsoft is just going to jerk their chain. They've done it before, they'll do it again.

    In Japan, Microsoft just look try-hard. I saw their ads over here. It just screamed "try-hard" at me. Looking try-hard in Japan just turns people off - doesn't matter how good the product is. I wouldn't be surprised if the Xbox 360 flops over here again.
  • Based upon the fact that I talk to 5-10 people every couple of weeks that are not at all interested. I'm talking about people you could consider gamers, many who have every console from Xbox/PS2/Cube back to the Atari still and more (handhelds up the wazoo).

    Will it sell well? No doubt. Will it sell astronomically well? Not bloody likely.

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