The first solid shipment targets to be specified by Microsoft for the Xbox 360 have emerged, with the company's CFO Chris Liddell stating a target for the middle of next year - but warning once again that launch volumes will be low.
The US edition of Official Xbox Magazine reports this month that Liddell addressed a gathering of industry analysts after Microsoft's financials were announced last week, and told them that the company hopes to have 4.5 to 5.5 million consoles on the market by the middle of next year.
That figure - which is a worldwide figure, not just for North America - is particularly relevant since it could be read as the shipment figure for Xbox 360 by the time the PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Revolution are looming on the marketplace, with both consoles expected to launch in mid to late 2006.
Liddell once again reiterated Microsoft's warning that launch volumes of the console may be low, with the firm focusing on keeping a steady flow of consoles into retail from launch onwards rather than delivering a large batch for day one.
This approach may well be a symptom of the firm's decision to launch simultaneously worldwide, which means that it's difficult for the company to manufacture enough units to satisfy demand at launch, but that it can ensure a steady flow post-launch as it doesn't have to stockpile for another regional launch somewhere else in the world.