18 July 2008

Console wars

GamePro reports NPD sales data:

ConsoleJune sales
Wii666,700
PS3405,500
Xbox 360219,800
PS2188,800

Of note, these are sales to end users, not number of consoles shipped; Microsoft prefers to cite the latter.

The Wii is now the #1 console in the US by installed base. So it seems as though as predicted, the Xbox 360’s best days could be behind it.

Once Sony got their act together and shipped a bundle with the rumble controller packaged along with the console, sales took off. When the 80GB PS3 with rumble controller replaces the current 40GB package, expect sales to rise again. It won’t take long to erase the lead in installed base Microsoft has.

This week, people are making a big thing about the announcement that Final Fantasy XIII is going to be cross-platform, appearing on the 360 as well as the PS3–but only in the US, as nobody in Japan has a 360.

I don’t see the Final Fantasy announcement as all that big of a deal, when you look at all the former Xbox exclusives that are now on the PS3 or will be soon.

  • Saints Row was the Xbox’s supposed GTA-killer, and Saints Row 2 is going to be on PS3.
  • BioShock was the 360’s highest rated game of 2007 on Metacritic. It’s now coming to PS3, with “graphical improvements”.
  • Half-Life ‘s developer Valve was always a staunch Microsoft supporter, with Half-Life 2 an Xbox exclusive–but The Orange Box came out for PS3 earlier this year. (I’ve picked up a copy–FPSs aren’t really my thing, but I want to play Portal.)
  • Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion made it onto the PS3.
  • Dead or Alive 4 is being ported, and it’s rumored that the sequel may be PS3 exclusive.
  • Ridge Racer 6 was Xbox 360 only, Ridge Racer 7 switched to PS3 only.
  • Full Auto was Xbox 360 only, Full Auto 2 is on PS3.

So looking at the high profile well-reviewed Xbox exclusives, that leaves Command and Conquer, Project Gotham Racing, Mass Effect, Gears of War, and of course Halo. (Dead Rising is heading to the Wii, along with Beautiful Katamari.) It’s a good job Microsoft bought so many game companies, or they would hardly have any exclusives left at this point.

So the video game industry will avoid Microsoft domination for another generation. I think this is a good thing.

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