Xbox 360 sales down 48% year-on-year

Earlier this month, analyst Michael Pachter believed lagging console sales could lead Microsoft to cut the price of the Xbox 360.  Judging from the sales reports for the last financial quarter, he may be right.

Microsoft announced today that global Xbox 360 hardware sales for the last quarter were down 48% year-on-year.  1.4 million units were sold between January 1st and March 31st (Q1), down from the 2.7 million sold during the same period last year.  Total Xbox 360 revenue fell 33% to $584 million.

Microsoft also noted that sales of its Kinect peripheral were also down, though they didn't mention specific numbers.  Xbox LIVE revenue, on the other hand, was up.

Not all was bad for Microsoft last quarter, however.  Increased revenue from Skype and Windows Phone software license cash from Nokia helped offset some of the losses.

Company-wide, the numbers are much brighter.  Microsoft hauled in $17.4 billion in total revenue for the quarter, a 6% increase year-on year.  Operating income was also up 12% to $6.37 billion.

"We're driving toward exciting launches across the entire company, while delivering strong financial results," said CEO Steve Ballmer.  "With the upcoming release of new Windows 8 PCs and tablets, the next version of Office, and a wide array of products and services for the enterprise and consumers, we will be delivering exceptional value to all our customers in the year ahead."

Total lifetime sales for the Xbox 360 are now at 67.2 million.  As a comparison, as of December 31, 2011, the PS3 has sold 62 million worldwide with the Wii selling 95 million worldwide.

And despite Microsoft repeatedly claiming they have nothing to say about the next Xbox, research and development costs rose 35% to $335 million compared to last year.  Working on the Xbox 360's successor?

Either way, it's time for an Xbox 360 price cut.