5M+ Xbox 360’s mid ’06? Plus HD DVD support, CES news

>5M Xbox 360 by June? I noted on the newswire tonite that at CES today, Peter Moore (corp VP for interactive entertainment) said that the Xbox 360 is on track to sell between 4.5 and 5.5 million consoles by the end of the MS fiscal year (June 30). He went on to say that “we’re going to have inventory on shelves and then our problem is going to change.”

Mine is still on order. Hello? When will the backlog for consoles be filled? (OK, no whining.)

My guess is in the next 30 days (as I’ve had one on order since September). My boys certainly enjoyed looking at the game case artwork over the holidays… I already have my games, exceeding the already amazingly high attach rate of 4:1, the tie ratio of games to the console. For as long as I can recall (back from my days at 3DO), the industry average of games to new console purchases was a little more than 2:1 (reported as 2.4:1 today in the news).

An HD (DVD) Keynote… While the keynote this evening was offered streaming on the web in highly compressed Windows Video format, Bill Gates provided a look at Vista and touted the HD DVD format on Xbox 360 (more details available on the webcast), with external HD DVD drive support offered as an Xbox peripheral. Which is great as I don’t have any HD DVD discs (yet) but a library full of DVDs, so the Xbox 360 as-is, with the vanilla DVD drive will be just fine. Heck, content companies have a hard time just filling a DVD-9 disc today.

Personally, I’ll be happy to wait to add an HD DVD player, as I am loathe to be a bleeding edge buyer of new gear anymore. By the time I’m ready to add that level of new hardware support, I’ll bet by case of laserdiscs that there is an Xbox with an HD DVD drive built in. As to when, I couldn’t dare to guess; for me there would have to be a stable of titles at Blockbuster and available on Netflix before I take the plunge and get a next generation HD DVD player. (I’m still smarting from my Pioneer Laserdisc player that I eagerly purchased, costing more then than most PCs today… ‘though Blade Runner did look fabulous on it.)

More on CES: For more info from CES, check out the great resources on the PC World CES Info Center and  CNET’s CES News coverage.

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