Analyst predicts Xbox One, PS4 shortages at launch

Colin Sebastian of Robert W. Baird says due to "complexity" of coordinating platform launches, gamers can expect initial shortages at retail.

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Gamers should expect initial shortages of Xbox One and PlayStation 4 units at retail this holiday, according to Robert W. Baird analyst Colin Sebastian.

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Speaking with GameSpot, the analyst said due to the "complexity" of coordinating the launches, "it is more likely than not that there will be initial shortages."

"This also partly explains why the manufacturers have been somewhat judicious in allocating pre-sale units to retailers, so that there won't be a lot of unhappy customers from day one," Sebastian said.

As for which platform will debut on the market first, Sebastian didn't have a projection to give, but said the system that does go first will enjoy some advantages.

"From a timing perspective, both platforms will want to launch before Thanksgiving/Black Friday, and ideally at least a couple of weeks in advance of that in order to replenish the retail channel," Sebastian said.

"In terms of who goes first, it would certainly be ideal to launch first, and gain all of the initial attention and momentum, as console launches are really the only equivalent of a 'red carpet' event for the industry," he added.

The $500 Xbox One is slated for a launch in November, while the $400 PS4 is confirmed only for holiday 2013.

Expectations for both systems are high, with Ubisoft saying yesterday that some retailers have reported two times the number of preorders over historical data for current-generation machines.

Representatives for Sterne Agee and Cowen & Company could not be reached for comment on Xbox One and PS4 release timing, while analysts at Wedbush Securities and EEDAR declined to comment.

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