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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

For Me, The Real Console Question

Sony's new PlayStation 3 video game has gone from top dog to underdog in record time.

Despite the buildup and hype around its arrival in November, the PS3 has been outsold so far — at a rate of almost 2-to-1 — by the Nintendo Wii.

In February, the Wii was the top-selling console video game system with an estimated 335,000 sold, outpacing the Microsoft Xbox 360 (228,000) and the PS3 (127,000), according to The NPD Group.
-- PlayStation 3 is down 2-to-1 to Nintendo's Wii -

Yeah, I'm willing to agree that sales for the PS3 are soft ... and as I predicted earlier and will continue to predict ... will continue to be soft for the early part of 2007. Having married the PS3 fortunes to Blu-Ray, don't expect the "real" launch of the PS3 to be until HDTV adoption gets more steam. Sony has said this is that they just finished the "year of hardware" and are now getting into the "year of software".

The 360, on the other hand, had its "real" launch last March when it could satisfy enough units to actually meet demand.

So for me, the real question here is:

How is it that a next-generation console with a year's worth of headstart is getting outsold by last generation's top selling model and an upgraded version of last generation's least selling model with a fancy controller?

The follow-up question?

If Sony's PlayStation 3 is such a horrible concept, why are rumors so persistent that Microsoft is getting ready to launch a upgraded version of the 360 for $480? Without the high definition player? (Which, for the record, would make the 360 far more expensive once you tried to make it such)

Damn, I know I come off like a Sony sympathizer ... but I'm still just looking for some common sense. Actually, I've leaned closer to a 360 purchase recently until I found some deals for PC hardware and am waiting to see if they pan out. The 360 has some serious issues, though, that aren't being discussed. Hardware malfunctions seem to be rampant on the machine. It's expensive for not being a true high-definition player, so I'm more likely to hook it up to my LCD TV than worry about it with an upcoming HDTV purchase.

And honestly, the Wii ... it seems to be running on a lot of hype right now. I love my DS and I really would like to get a Wii and hope both could be all they could be ... but I'm not sure I'm seeing it. Take the problems Thomas lists with the Nintendo online strategy for example. Will Nintendo take advantage of the numbers out there or not?

This is a really weird time for consoles. Might be the reason I just spent a few hours playing Phantasy Star Online on the Dreamcast.

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Brinstar said...

Re: The Wii running on hype.

I have to agree with you there. There is nothing on the Wii (currently) that makes me want to rush out and buy it. The control scheme, though innovative and cool, seems a bit gimmicky to me.

Like you, the 360 is looking very appealing to me, though I won't be buying a next-gen console until next year, because I need to keep a tight leash on my budget. I've never been an early adopter anyway. I bought my PS1, PS2, and GC when they were nearing the ends of their respective life cycles.

Josh said...

For some reason I feel the 360 is overpriced, which was leading me down to trying to get a cheap eBay version .... but I've come to think that's hazardous.

If the new 360++ included HD-DVD, I'd be more tempted to jump on it. Or if the Core version included a bit more hardware (since the cost of ownership is actually like $450 once you get another controller, a game, etc.).

For me the Wii wins because it's cheap and it works fine on my SDTV. I'm just not paying $350 for it off of some auction.

And, on the hype thing, I want to see some more compelling titles than just Wii Sports. I would actually probably spend a lot of time catching up on GameCube titles I missed more than anything right now - and so I'm certainly not paying a premium to play games for a console which retails for what ... $70 now?

Greg Tannahill said...

I'm not sure you can really compare 360 monthly sales figures with those of the PS3 and Wii. Those two consoles are still really in their launch windows (PS3 only just launched over here in Australia) and many stores are still blanketed with the launch hype. Whereas all the 360 early adopters have now jumped on board, et cetera. You'd probably be better off looking at game sales or installed user bases or something (where I suspect the 360 is probably leading by a significant margin).

Josh said...

Well the launch hype is pretty good and dead here. I'm not sure the hype for the PS3 really lasted all that long since it was quickly replaced with "OMG there are shelf units! Doom!".

Hype is certainly still feeding the Wii, though, sure - although that's really the same media darling hype we've had since E3. But what about comparing the 360 to the PS2? Surely that's fair - and the 360 can't stack up against it.

Likewise, IIRC, the PS3 has been consistenly outselling the 360 in Japan.

In general, though, I agree - I don't think there's any apples to compare to apples here. Across the board. Maybe the PSP to the DS ... but even that's tricky. Which is kinda what I'm saying - everyone wants to stack the numbers up from largest to smallest and assume that's the whole story.

The 360 is certainly doing well on software sales - but again its about the only with an entrenched library.