March 29, 2007 - After the decidedly low-key launch of the PS3 in Australia last week, naysayers and doom-cryers banded together to sing tales of woe and sling some mud on the PlayStation 3's image in Australia. However, in the face of this, Sony proudly declared that, by close of business on Monday March 26, they had achieved a substantial earning through hardware, software and accessories sales. Specifically, the actual dollar value of combined hardware, software and accessories sales over the three day period totalled in excess of AU$25 million. That's no small amount.
However, there was one thing missing from the post-PS3 launch wind-down - solid hardware sales figures. Speaking with Adrian Christie, PR Manager for Sony Computer Entertainment Australia, he was able to provide us with updated figures, including a rough estimation of day-one sales.
"I'd say 5000, that night, went home with a console. That's an assumption, but over the weekend, there was 20,000 sold through."
The lack of GfK figures to back up these claims make us a little curious. We enquired as to why Sony are currently refraining from releasing the numbers. Christie explained, "Um, we're holding onto those. We are happy to say that, the feedback is that over 20,000 sold through and that's confirmed by the GfK figures."
"One thing we want to step away from is making direct comparisons. A lot of people make direct comparisons, but there are many ways to 'twist' and look at it. I could say that's on revenue and you could say that, 'Well, that's just profit.' And you could turn around and say, 'Well, other competitors did more units at launch,' and we could say, 'That's four days, not three days.' We prefer people not judge the longevity of the console on the launch period."
Sony's PS3 software sales dominated last week's charts.
Of course, we're about to do a little comparison anyhow, but Christie raised an interesting point - how important is a successful launch in the overall scheme of things?
"Well, I don't think it is at all; you only need to go back and look at the PS2 and PSone sales data. Do you need the thousands upon thousands - or millions - in the first week to be successful? I don't think that's the case."
He also mentioned that regularly updating the PlayStation Store and introducing Australian content was a high priority moving forwards, and that this kind of regular support, coupled with the upcoming Home service, would ensure that the PS3 is very much relevant going into 2008 and beyond.
For the sake of balance, we also contacted Kerry Parkin, PR Manager for Microsoft's Entertainment and Devices Division. She was able to provide similar figures for the Xbox 360's launch week sales. The 360 launched on March 23, 2006 - a year to the day before the PS3's Australian debut.
In the same time period, the Xbox 360's nationwide sales shifted a total of 30,421 units, with a combined hardware, software and accessories value of AU$27,402,222. Given the lower cost of hardware on the 360, the PS3 did surprisingly well - the difference in console numbers sold in the period is almost directly in line with the difference in price.
The 360 still has the numbers advantage in the market - at time of writing, the console has an install base in Australia of just under 157,000 units and a total earning of AU$95 million. However, we would expect that, as the PS3 becomes more established and the quality titles continue to appear, there is no reason why the PS3 cannot be a commercial success in Australia - particularly in the longer term.