Sony's PS3 slump continues. The high price of the PS3, coupled with a weak economy, has proven a one-two punch against Sony's current home console.
PS3 sold 203k units in North America in the month of January. While this may sound good, a look at 2008's results shows a grim trend for Sony. While both the Wii and Xbox 360 have gained momentum from 2008 to 2009, PS3 has actually dropped down.
Things may change for Sony, especially with another year of fantastic exclusives planned for the system. Peter Dille, SVP of Marketing, ignores the January NPD results entirely and instead looks towards the future.
"The PlayStation brand experienced a record year in sales in 2008 and we have every reason to believe our blockbuster line up combined with PS3's position as the best Blu-ray player and most sophisticated entertainment device out there, will continue to fuel increased marketshare and momentum into 2009.
We've truly upped the ante this year with an unmatched software lineup ahead, kickstarting with the much anticipated and platform-moving title Killzone 2 later this month. We're the only company to offer three viable platforms today and will continue to deliver a seamless and comprehensive entertainment experience to our customers for many years to come."
It's true that PS3 does many things: it's a great games player, a sophisticated Blu-ray player, and has free access to the PlayStation Network. However, will consumers respond to that message? Only time will tell.
The NPD sales data for January has been released, and video game sales in the US remain strong. Overall, sales saw a thirteen percent jump from last year, proving that the gaming industry is one of the rare strong points in the US economy... even if individual developers are struggling.
While both Nintendo and Microsoft have solid angles to play up this month, Sony is struggling with a significant drop in year-over-year sales as well as a lack of software titles in the top ten list.
Nintendo shows no sign of slowing down, selling 679,200 pieces of Wii hardware in January; the DS wasn't far behind with 510,800 units sold. Nintendo continues its lead, staying far ahead of its competition in monthly sales.
Nintendo also continues to own the top ten list for software sales with older titles that refuse to die. Wii Fit sold 777,000 units, Wii Play sold 415,000 units, and Mario Kart sold 292,000 to hold the first three slots on the list, respectively. Guitar Hero World Tour for the Wii took the seventh place with 155,000 units sold, New Super Mario Bros. came in eighth place with 135,000 pieces sold, and Mario Kart DS came in ninth place with 132,000 units sold.
With the number one and two best-selling pieces of hardware, and six places on the top ten list, Nintendo won't be loosening its stranglehold on the industry any time soon.
The 360 sold a decent amount in January with 309,000 units moved. Microsoft's system also moved a ton of software with Left 4 Dead, Call of Duty: World at War, and Skate 2 taking the fourth, fifth, and sixth places on the software sales list. Lord of the Rings: Conquest is one of the rare new releases on the list, coming in at tenth place.
This continues the trend we see month after month: Microsoft falls way behind Nintendo in hardware sales, but the blockbuster console releases-aimed mostly at the so-called "core gamer"-find a home on the 360.
The PlayStation sold 203,200 units, more than 100,000 less than the 360, and the PSP and PS2 sold 172,300 and 101,200 respectively. Those are solid numbers, and all told Sony sold a good amount of each of its hardware in the family, but none of the systems took any kind of leadership role on the boards. PlayStation 3 sales are also down year over year-not a good sign for the continued growth of the system, especially when the Xbox 360 saw solid year-over-year growth from 230,000 to 309,000.
None of the three systems was able to chart a single game on the top ten list. For Sony, once again, there is no balm in Gilead.
So what does this tell us?
Not much we didn't already know. The hardware sales show few, if any, surprises, and every slot on the top ten list was taken by a Nintendo, EA, or Activision Blizzard release.
There is also a stronger than expected interest in buying new hardware. "At this point in the console lifecycle, we would expect to see a greater percentage of total industry sales generated by software sales, but the continued strength in hardware sales is changing that scenario a bit," Frazier wrote.
"This will have a long-term positive impact on the industry as the user base expands. Software sales still increased 10 percent over last January, indicating that continued strong hardware sales are not occurring at the expense of software sales."
In other words, gamers will keep on doing what gamers do.
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