With a total of 65,000 Xbox 360 consoles sold in New Zealand, and a projected 100,000 by July 2009, the gaming console of choice is set to make a big splash again this upcoming holiday season. Microsoft is encouraging retail partners to familiarise themselves with new pricing and soon-to-be-released games.
“The six months to Christmas is the most exciting time for the [gaming] industry,” said Tom Hunt, Xbox Product & Marketing Manager for Microsoft NZ. “The Xbox 360 is still clearly the number one platform. It’s a great thing to have a leadership position and be maintaining that.”
Nearly half of the next generation consoles sold in New Zealand are Xbox 360, according to Hunt, the company has introduced new pricing across the board – with the entry-level Arcade offering now priced at RRP NZ $399, a price point Hunt believes will attract a new league of buyers.
From a retail perspective, the Xbox LIVE products can offer a good revenue stream. Customers can upgrade from the free level of LIVE service by paying for additional functionality via a “point” system. “In its infancy, retailers were wary,” commented Hunt, “but the points offer ongoing revenue as a regular customer purchase.”
While the hardware itself is admittedly a low margin sale, Xbox LIVE points offer an 18 point margin, while games and accessories clock in at a higher 27 point margin. The value proposition, especially heading into the holiday season, said Hunt, is “part margin and part high foot traffic”.
Several pre-order offers are on hand which will offer higher RPL SKUs. Having a larger pool of “casual” games and a lower price point may encourage a wider purchasing base, which means that even though it’s only September, it’s time to start preparing for the Christmas rush.