MS sets tough 360 retail targets

Sell 20 consoles and 40 games or none at all, MS tells Norwegians.

Reports from retailers in Scandinavia have revealed that Microsoft is planning for a complete sell-out of its initial allocation of Xbox 360 units on day one - and is demanding that its retail partners work to ensure that it happens.

An anonymous retail source in Norway, speaking to US technology site Gizmodo, said that some stores in the country are each being allocated 20 units of the new console for the launch day - 14 Xbox 360s and six Core System packs.

However, according to the retail source cited in the report, they'll only get their allocation if they sign a form guaranteeing that all 20 units will be sold out on day one (presumably based on preorders), and what's more, Microsoft is insisting that two games be sold with each console.

"Microsoft Norway even said themselves that they're gonna use the 'Sold Out' as a marketing strategy to hype the console," he told the site.

However, some other sources have questioned the veracity of the report, with Frode Haugen of Norwegian trade magazine Faro Journalen commenting that "not one single of the major Norwegian retailers I have contacted (20+) have heard about this agreement, or have been told that they have to sell at least two games with each machine."

However, Haugen did go on to say that it was possible that the agreement mentioned in the report applied only to smaller stores outside the major cities - where Microsoft would undoubtedly be less confident in early sell-through figures.

Initial volumes of the Xbox 360 are expected to be low due to the worldwide roll-out of the console, but Microsoft has promised to support retail with ongoing shipments of the hardware right up to Christmas and beyond.

A policy of demanding a sell-out first day from smaller stores is also not unusual; one UK retail source told this afternoon that many platform holders in the past have requested that retailers give guarantees about sell-through levels on day one and tie ratio of software in order to be given sensible allocations of consoles.

Update #1: Added comment from Frode Haugen regarding veracity of original report.

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