Monday, August 16, 2010

Console Post Of The Week: July NPDs

First, a quick review of the numbers:

Like I said on Thursday, that was a huge month for the 360, but it's not just a huge month. Let's take a look at the 12-month total unit sales graph (yes, the damn thing is misnamed) for U.S. sales to put it into perspective.

That's right--the Xbox will hit five years of age in November, and its 12-month total unit sales in the U.S. is the highest it's ever been. Financially, they're still in the hole overall for this generation,but that has more to do with shitty original hardware than anything else.

More perspective: the PS2 was released in North America on October 26, 2000. Its highest 12-month total unit sales average in the U.S. was in April 2003, only two and a half years later,  at 8.7 million units.

We are in uncharted territory.

How long can Microsoft keep this up? Apparently, at least through the holiday season, where the new model and plenty of promotions and discounts with retailers (in lieu of an actual price cut across the board) should sustain the momentum.

Even more surprisingly, and I'll update this chart next week, the 360 is still chugging along in Japan. Compared to the original Xbox, it's done ridiculously well. Admittedly, a low bar, but it's still a remarkable improvement, given all the analysis about how the Japanese market was a lost cause.

As it turns out, it's not lost, although I think the argument can increasingly be made that it's not terribly relevant anymore. That lack of relevance is not necessarily permanent, though.

Sony announced financial results two weeks ago, and while they're still not quite making money, they're very close to breaking even. That still leaves a hole as deep as the Marianas Trench for them to climb out of, but at least they don't appear to be making it any deeper now. Also, like Microsoft, the 12-month total unit sales level is at its highest in the history of the console.

Good grief, we're never going to get these things replaced.

Trivia of interest to no one but me: the reason why the top end of that graph goes up to 12 million is because when I first made the graph, Nintendo's 12-month unit sales total in the U.S. was almost 11 million. It seemed like a good idea at the time to leave a little more room.

As it turned out, that room was unnecessary. The Wii peaked (in terms of 12-month unit sales) in almost the same number of months as the PS2 (although at a much higher level).

Now, to be fair, combined PS3 and 360 12-month unit sales in the U.S.are only 10.2 million, while the Wii by itself is still over 9 million. But Nintendo took a $289 million loss in the last financial quarter (again, to be fair, much of that was caused by declining demand for DS software),and the Wii is definitely looking a little long in the tooth.

I would be very happy with an HD Wii, but I'm not the market that Nintendo tapped with the Wii, and I doubt that in the next generation, HD will be a primary selling point for Nintendo. Sure, it will support HD, but that's not what will sell the system. 

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