Tuesday, October 21, 2008

September NPD Notes

Again, here are the raw numbers:

That's a total unit count of 1,440,100.

In 2007, the September unit count was 1,363,000. That's surprisingly stable from year to year, particularly given that there have been substantial price cuts from both Sony and Microsoft since September of last year.

If you want to know the high water mark of the last generation in terms of September, it was in 2002, when the PS2, Xbox, and Gamecube sold 870,000 units combined. That's a staggering difference, and remember, that was the best September for last-gen.

Here's also some context for the incomprehensible phenomenon that is the Wii. In September, the Wii sold 687,ooo units in the U.S. In September 2003, the big three (PS2, Xbox, Gamecube) sold 670,000 units combined. In 2004, they sold 630,000 units combined. In 2005, they sold 510,000 units combined.

That's insane. So for the last three Septembers before the 360 was released, the Wii isn't just bigger than the PS2 in terms of unit sales--it's bigger than the entire generation.

My biggest question coming into the September numbers was how much of an effect the 360 price cuts would have. The answer, apparently, is "substantial." With the exception of June (Metal Gear Solid), the 360 and PS3 have been in a dead heat for most of the year. Now, the 360's sales are 50% higher than the PS3, and I don't expect that to change until Sony cuts prices again.

In Japan, the 360 outsold the PS3 again last week. What is that--five weeks in a row? Six?

If this generation of consoles has established anything, it's that Sony's reputation has done exactly dick for them. Consoles are value and fun propositions, not reputation propositions, and Sony has not had the value or the fun this cycle.

Little Big Planet? That certainly looks like fun, and we'll see what happens. At $299, I think LBP could be huge. At $399, I don't think so.

Sony sold roughly 1.4 million units in the U.S. in the last three months of 2007. I think they'll be in that range again, probably on the +10% side, given that last October (pre-price cut) was a complete washout.

Microsft, with an entirely giddy set of game releases last fall, sold 2.4 million units in the last three months of the year. I think +/- 10% of that number is a reasonable expectation.

Nintendo? Hell, who knows? Their September sales were up 40% from last year, and they still seem to be selling everything they make. Last year, October-December sales totaled 2.85 million units, and given what appears to be significantly increased capacity, I'm going to lose my mind and say that they're going to be in the 3.4 million range.

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