Xbox 360 sales dip suggests gamers want Xbox 720 this year

Sales of Microsoft's all-encompassing entertainment centre are down. Big time.

Xbox 360 sales are down 48 per cent on last year, according to Microsoft's latest quarterly figures. Are gamers holding off for the Xbox 720?

Rapidly decreasing sales of the Xbox 360 console dragged down Microsoft's profits in its latest quarterly report, suggesting gamers might now be waiting on the arrival of the next-gen model.

Microsoft announced that, during the third fiscal quarter of 2012, it sold just 1.4 million Xbox 360s, which is a huge drop-off of 48 per cent compared with the same three month period of last year.

It seems fair to assume that prospective buyers may now be holding off on buying a new console as rumours continue to swirl that Microsoft is preparing to unleash a so-called Xbox 720 on the market, either this year or next.

The company will still take comfort in taking 42 per cent of the entire console market in the United States still making it by far the most populat console sold.

The downturn is part of a general 'softening' of the gaming market according to analysts, while the launch of the Kinect peripheral saw a spike in sales of Microsoft's 6 year-old console this time last year.

A drop in Redmond's entertainment division, which includes Windows Phone, tempered improved revenues in the company's Windows division, with Windows 7 continuing to sell well despite the imminent arrival of Windows 8.

Overall, the company posted an operating profit of $6.37 billion for the quarter. No wonder it's prepared to be patient as Windows Phone attempts to get a foothold in the smartphone market. It can certainly afford to.