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Xbox One and PS4 sales to remain "relatively balanced" by the end of launch window - analyst

Microsoft announced sell-through of more than 2 million Xbox One units worldwide this morning, matching Sony's 2.1 million PS4 units sold, during the console's first 18 days on the market. According to Robert W. Baird & Co.'s Colin Sebastian, the trade firm expects "relatively balanced sales" for both consoles by the end of the launch window.

Speaking in a industry note, Sebastian said many industry forecasts expected PS4 to establish an early lead over Xbox One, but his firm feels each platform "is on track to meet our high-end sales forecast" of 3 million units by the end of 2013, and 5-6 million units cumulatively by the end of Q1.

"We believe the news also helps to provide some better visibility for GameStop's holiday sales, and bodes well for software publishers Activision, EA and Take-Two," he said. "Our latest check on eBay suggests more than 25,000 Xbox One and 50,000 PS4 sales on the online marketplace to-date, with both platforms selling at healthy premiums over MSRP.

"Interestingly, the PS4 is selling at twice the rate of Xbox One, which could indicate strong demand for Sony's platform in markets initially not included in the November 15 launch, such as Europe and Australia."

Tomorrow, NPD will release November video game sell-through data for the US and Sebastian estimates retail sales in the region for PS4 will bit between 1.3-1.4 million versus 800-900,000 for Xbox One as PS4 benefited from a earlier launch date and initial focus on the region.

"Our checks show strong demand for next gen hardware among both game enthusiasts as well as holiday shoppers, and most retailers still have open orders for both platforms," he stated. "We note that PS4 tends to see more demand at specialty retail (core gamer focus) with the Xbox One getting a higher profile at big box retailers. In addition, our checks suggest solid attach rates of new software in the range of 2.5-3 times the hardware installed base."

Sebastian said Call of Duty:Ghosts will "hold onto its lead among military shooter games" due to " well-publicized issues hampering multiplayer" in EA's Battlefield 4.

Call of Duty titles make up four of the top 10 Xbox Live titles based on the number of unique users playing Xbox One and Xbox 360 versions of Activision's flagship franchise. No. 2 COD Ghosts, No. 3 COD Black Ops 3, No. 6 COD Modern Warfare 2; and No. 9 COD Black Ops.

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