Microsoft has announced its results for the quarter ended December 31st, revealing that the Xbox is still on track to meet its sales target of 14.5 to 16 million units in June despite a small shortfall over the Christmas period.
The installed base of the console at the end of 2003 totalled 13.7 million units, according to the company's figures, with strong sales in the last two weeks of December almost compensating for weaker sales earlier in the quarter.
Revenues at the Home and Entertainment division of Microsoft, which includes the Xbox business and Microsoft Game Studios, was down to $1.27 billion - a drop of five percent year on year.
Although the company pointed to lower sales of PC games as the reason for this drop, the fact is that units sales of the Xbox were down six per cent for the quarter - not a massive shortfall by any means, but not what Microsoft would have wanted in a quarter which saw Nintendo's GameCube overtake the Xbox' global sales rate with a 70 per cent sales boost.
In terms of Xbox Live, the company now claims 750,000 subscriptions to the service worldwide - a figure which does not include the free two-month subscriptions which were handed out with many games over Christmas. A key priority for Microsoft is now to convert those free subscriptions into full-term subs, which should help it to reach its target of 1 million subscriptions by the end of June.
Results overall for the company were mixed, with Microsoft reporting a record revenue figure of $10.5 billion dollars during the quarter, but a 17 per cent drop in profits to $1.55 billion.