Who is buying all these Xboxes?

Who is buying all these Xboxes?

Summary: Microsoft sold close to 1 million Xbox 360s and 750,000 Kinect sensors during Black Friday week. Who is buying up all these consoles?


The numbers are pretty astounding to a non-gamer and non-TV watcher like me. Microsoft officials said this week that the company sold 960,000 Xbox 360 consoles in the U.S. alone over the week of "Black Friday," plus 750,000 Kinect sensors, to boot.

I am not doubting Microsoft's tallies, but I really wonder who is buying all these Xboxes? I know there are gaming fanatics out there, but don't they already have one or more consoles? And while Microsoft is marketing the heck out of the Kinect, have the casual gaming and TV/movie watching crowd come to see these as the new must-have peripherals?

Obviously, deals and sales played into the latest numbers. But it's kind of amazing to me that there were hundreds of thousands of buyers who wanted and needed a new Xbox -- especially with rumors swirling of a new Xbox console (or at least a new Xbox 360 model) due out in 2012.

Microsoft also managed to sell all these Xboxes a couple of weeks ahead of a key Xbox 360 dashboard update that is due to go to the public next week on December 6. This update, which is being tested privately now, adds new social features, enhanced family settings, Facebook sharing, Bing voice search (in the U.S., U.K. and Canada only, to start) and cloud storage for Game Saves and Live Profiles.

Starting on the 6th and rolling out over the next few months, Microsoft and partners also will be adding Xbox Live TV services -- which it is now describing as "customized applications for television, movies, internet videos, sports and music." Verizon announced this week its plans for  its FiOS TV application bundle, which includes 26 channels viewable by those who are both Xbox Live gold customers and Verizon FiOS TV users. At $89.99 for a FiOS TV, FiOS Internet and Verizon voice service package, I'm almost sold -- except that I don't watch TV or care about gaming...

What's your take? Who is buying all of these Xboxes and Kinects and what are they doing with them? Any guesses, anecdotes or tin-foil-hat speculation?

Update: On Twitter, folks have been vocally chiming in on this question. More than a few of my Twitter buddies say they are buying their second and third Xbox consoles (one for almost every room in the house). Others speculate the buyers are disenfranchised PS3 or Wii customers. And some of those who confess to being among the purchasers are just folks who cannot resist a good holiday deal...

Topics: Hardware, Microsoft, Mobility


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • RE: Who is buying all these Xboxes?

    Maybe Chinesse people or resellers in other countries
    • RE: Who is buying all these Xboxes?

      @johndow1 <br><br>How about the simple answer - people who want them. The 750,000 Kiinects are the real answer as the Kinect still requires an Xbox. Once you've used controller free interaction or saw someone else using it, you are hooked and it's the sometime or first time gamers it's appealing to, rather than the hard core gamer. Add all it's non-gaming features and you have a real bargain and a glimpse of the future.
    • RE: Who is buying all these Xboxes?

      @johndow1 A lot of the people buying are Nintendo Wii-families who want to upgrade to Kinect, HD graphics, and Xbox Live. If you've been playing motion-control games for the past few years then the Xbox Kinect is now the best system to play games like Just Dance, Black Eyed Peas Experience, WipeOut, Kinect Sports, Dance Central, Your Shape Fitness and Disneyland Adventures. <br><br>Microsoft is also still dominating the core gamer market with big releases like Call of Duty, Forza 4, Gears of War, Battelfield, Skyrim and Halo. Xbox is the only console that can satisfy both casual gaming families and core gamers. And for the time being Sony and Nintendo don't really have a response to Kinect. Kinect leapfrogged over the technology and capabilities of the Wii and the PS3.
      • RE: Who is buying all these Xboxes?

        @cool8man <br>Suggest they hang back a few months, and get a Wii-U, for all those benefits, and all their existing investment in games will still work going forward.
      • RE: Who is buying all these Xboxes?


        I have a Wii and that Wii U looks really stupid. It looks more like a new Nintendo DS player.
        The Danger is Microsoft
  • RE: Who is buying all these Xboxes?

    1) Speculators who will just return them if they can't unload them for a profit in a week or two.
    2) Clueless parents who want to buy their kid "a video game" for Christmas and just bought it because it was cheap without understanding what else is required.
    • You are clueless

      I bought one for $199 on Thanksgiving from Toysrus. Also bought Sport2 from Amazon for $30.

      There were playbook in Office depot for $199, I took a look and walk away. Why should I buy it, for what? I also played Kindle Fire for a couple of minutes, and give up. The browser contents looks silly in some web sites.
    • RE: Who is buying all these Xboxes?

      @TBone2k <img border="0" src="http://www.cnet.com/i/mb/emoticons/happy.gif" alt="happy"> I guess I'm fitting the no. 2) profile - a clueless parent that resisted till now to the kids pressure to buy a Xbox with Kinect, but then again the kids and their friends love Kinect, and now me too - so I guess for once they were right <img border="0" src="http://www.cnet.com/i/mb/emoticons/happy.gif" alt="happy">
  • RE: Who is buying all these Xboxes?

    Media Center users who want new extenders of course! JK! Seriously probably mostly people who have never had an Xbox (prices are finally low enough) and people wanting to add a 2nd or 3rd machine to their home.
    • RE: Who is buying all these Xboxes?

      You're dead right. I'm one of those who will buy it both for Media Center usage and also as a gaming console now that prices are low enough. Kinect is clearly the future.
    • RE: Who is buying all these Xboxes?

      The Media Center Extender is why I'm planning to get another one. It's less expensive than building a decent PC to serve the purpose and provides another console for the kids to use while I'm watching football on Sundays :D
  • The growing # gamers/family quotient & the recognition of ROI/console

    With multiple gamers per family, my guess is that a lot of households are realizing the ROI of the $$$ in a console over a year of playing, and figuring out that those consoles are cheap enough to buy a 2nd or even a 3rd. There are some great multi-player games that play even better when everyone has their own TV, instead of split screen (if they play on same console at all).

    In addition to multi-family, there are so many great single-player games (esp. story-based titles, as well as Kinect games) that cause family members to often find their one Xbox console "occupied". Again, the consoles are cheap enough and with a broad enough variety of titles that 2 or 3 isnt that extravagent anymore. Consider to 10+ years ago, when most TVs had rabbit ears and the 1 or 2 good TVs had a cable connection. Now, every set has a digital feed of some kind.

    I think its a similar trend, and with the upcoming Xbox dashboard update, looks like the inevitable realization of set top box consolidation with gaming ... as some in the Seattle area have been aspiring to for quite a while.
    • RE: Who is buying all these Xboxes?


      Exactly. We have two Xbox's at my place. My roommate and I both. Plus, the Xbox is cheap enough now to be worth buying to serve as both a gaming system and a home movie center with Netflix, DVD/BR abilities. Its becoming exactly what Microsoft is planning on, a home entertainment center...

      Game Hub
      Music Hub (Zune)
      Movie Hub (DVD, Netflix)
      Social Hub (Facebook, Xbox Live, etc)
      • RE: Who is buying all these Xboxes?

        @spaulagain Exactly. My family has 2 Xbox's. We use it for music, gaming, movies, and just about everything you could want from a 200 dollar table top console.

        Something that most people don't know is you can pair your Xbox with your computers Vuze program. From their, drag and drop music or movies and stream it straight to your Xbox. Doesn't matter if its a Mac or PC. You even have the choice of streaming in HD or SD.

        The XBOX has really become the all in one, and the Wii and PS3 pale in comparison
        Fat Albert 1
  • RE: Who is buying all these Xboxes?

    Its simple really, with a lot of major releases out this year for Xbox, people are buying. Non-early-adopters of kinect are now adopting the platform and people who want a new xbox, to upgrade from the old, are doing just that. The timing is just working itself out really well.
    • RE: Who is buying all these Xboxes?


      It doesn't hurt that this is the best game platform to date. MS has the wow factor in graphics, choice of games and they dominate online. Sony and Nintendo have a long way to go. Wouldn't surprise me if Nintendo jumps ship in the next 5 years like Sega and focuses on software only.
      • RE: Who is buying all these Xboxes?

        @rob.sharp@... NOPE. PC is best gaming platform to date. Don't spread your hatred and lies in the purity of the interweb. Everything here is true, so we don't need terrorists like you to spoil it.
      • You spoiled qwetry's dream

        @rob.sharp@... He so wants to believe that PC gaming is alive and well.

        Or does he?
      • RE: Who is buying all these Xboxes?

        qwetry Yes, lets sit all my buddies down and play BF3 in front of a computer. Want to switch from a game to ESPN without using a remote? Just use your voice.

        PS: Xbox 360 supports 3D. Halo Anniversary on 3D is AWESOME! Halo+3D=Jaw on the Floor
        Fat Albert 1
  • RE: Who is buying all these Xboxes?

    Are these numbers from devices sold to the channel or devices sold to the consumer? If this is to the channel then I'm sure a lot of it comes from retailers all stocking up in anticipation of demand for the many Xbox deals they offered.