Friday, May 26, 2006

Famitsu Surveys: Then and Now

IGN published the results of a survey conducted post-E3 by Famitsu.

For some reason, the phrase "Famitsu survey" started rattling around in my head. I'd seen one of those before.

Last September, as it turns out. Boy, is the comparison interesting.

If you've never heard of Famitsu before, it's the authoritative Japanese videogame magazine. It publishes weekly and there are five versions (by platform). So all of these numbers represent interviews conducted with Japanese gamers.

This is the September 2005 survey (prior to the launch of the Xbox 360), which was published by Next-Gen here.

Want to buy---63.2%----------23.9%-----------36%
No interest-----5%--------------25%------------ 10.4%
Don't care------1.8% -----------10%-------------13%

Remember that's last September. Also, please note that these questions were asked separately for each console, so someone could be interested (or not interested) in more than one machine.

In general, there was overwhelming interest in the PS3 in September of 2005. Almost 2 in 3 respondents said they would purchase a PS3. Only approximately 7% had no interest or didn't care.

The Famitsu survey that IGN detailed was taken from May 15-18 of this year. That's after Sony's pricing announcement and the Wii craze at E3. These aren't the same questions that were asked last September--in particular, they're choosing between machines instead of answering questions about each one separately--but they're still plenty revealing.

Greatest interest:

So last September, 63.2% of respondents said they would purchase the PS3, compared to only 36% for the Revolution/Wii, but now, people are most interested in the Wii by more than a 3-1 margin?

Which console will "win" the next generation?

Again, stunning results. A 3-1 margin for the Wii.

Why the huge change? Well, in spite of all the claims that the Japanese consumer is blindly faithful to the PS3 and will buy it no matter what it costs, look at this:
Is PS3 launch price too high?
Too low--0.7%

Loyalty has its limits. And while the novelty of the Wii controller has certainly excited people, Sony charging a mint for its "bargain" is affecting consumers.

Essentially, Sony has taken what was a dominant market position and thrown up all over themselves. And don't think that Sony isn't panicking internally, because they are. No matter what they're saying in public, they've got to be gripping very, very hard behind closed doors right now.

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