With champagne corks no doubt still popping at Microsoft HQ following yesterday's news that Kinect shipped a staggering eight million units in its first 60 days on sale – three million more than its creator anticipated – industry analysts have conceded that the peripheral took them by surprise.
Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter told Eurogamer, "The Kinect shipment number suggests seven million sold to consumers. I initially expected three million, and was surprised when they forecast five million. So I am very surprised by this figure; it is truly impressive."
EEDAR research and communications VP Jesse Divnich echoed the sentiment. "The success of the Kinect was a surprise to us all, and to Microsoft as well," he said.
"Among all the analysts, I was the most bullish, forecasting five to six million in sell through by the end of the year. While Microsoft announced eight million in 'ship-in', it would imply at least 6.5 million units, surpassing even the most bullish of estimates."
Despite Kinect's huge success, neither were prepared to write off Sony's PlayStation Move controller. Back in November, Sony revealed that it had shipped 4.1 million units of its motion-sensing wand. That's an impressive achievement in its own right, reckons Divnich.
"The PlayStation Move is doing phenomenally and certainly Sony should not be disappointed by their holiday results," he explained.
"Yes, in comparison, the Kinect did outsell the Move, but that shouldn't discount the tremendous success the Move has had over the holidays. Selling in over four million of anything in this sector is an incredible accomplishment, even if a competitor sells more."
Divnich went on to hail both peripherals for helping to bail the industry out of a potentially gloomy Christmas sales period.
"Regardless of which side the gamers take, all should acknowledge that both products played a tremendous role in driving sales and videogame awareness this holiday season.
"Even without the official December figures in, I have no doubt in concluding that both the Kinect and Move saved the holiday season from what would have been a disastrous situation of negative dollar comparisons.
"If Nintendo 'saved' us in 2008 and 2009, Microsoft and Sony returned that favor in 2010," he concluded.
Pachter also refused to write off Sony's Move add-on, speculating that when it came to "new buyers" the two platform holders could actually be neck and neck.
"It's premature to say Move is beaten," he insisted.
"Around 60 per cent of Kinect sales were controllers, so those were sold to the installed base. The other 40 per cent were console bundles, and a portion of these were upgrade units sold to existing 360 owners. So only two million or so were new buyers, and I don't know what Sony's comparable figure was, but would guess it is pretty similar.
"There is no question that Microsoft performed far better than expectations, but it's too early to say that Sony performed below expectations."