Both Microsoft and Sony have been applying pressure on consumers in a simple, yet historically effective manner: by letting them know if they didn’t get their devices right now, that they would not get them for Christmas, which could lead to crying children who would be scarred for life. Frankly, I didn’t buy it, and to his credit, neither does Michael Pachter of Wedbush Morgan, who has flat-out accused Microsoft and Sony of “managing” (read: shorting) their stock, especially of standalone sets.
I think both companies would very much like for consumers to believe that their devices are highly sought after and difficult to obtain. That usually works to spur demand. Sony shipped 2.5 million units in the U.S. and Europe, and their sales are nowhere near that level, so I’m not sure how they can reconcile the fact that units shipped far exceed units sold.
He went on to state that both Microsoft and Sony were managing things so that stock of standalone units is tight, but bundles with the system were readily available.
This is nothing new, and is a tactic that stretches way back to the 80s, when Nintendo had what they deemed a shortage of chips for Zelda II: The Adventure of Link which served to artificially drive up demand. Nintendo was also shorting stock of Wiis seemingly every Christmas for the past few years.