Monday, April 25, 2011

Console Post Of The Week

February NPD:
360: 535,000
Wii: 454,000
PS3: 403,000

February 2010, for comparison:
360: 422,000
Wii: 397,900
PS3: 360,100

Mildly interesting factoid: excluding the holiday months of November and December, February was the first month in history where three consoles sold in excess of 400,000 units.

In other words, it was a huge month.

March, though, not so much. March numbers:
Xbox 360: 433,000
Wii: 290,000
PS3: Apparently, so shitty that they won't even tell.

March 2010:
Wii: 557,500
Xbox 360: 338,400
PS3: 313,900

Wait, "not so much" isn't true for Microsoft--that's still almost 30% over last year, although nothing near the staggering February numbers (remember, March is a 5-week month for tracking purposes, while February is only 4 weeks). Nintendo was down almost 50%, though (gulp), while a reasonable estimate for Sony's March 2011 sales is probably in the 260,000 range, which would be a 20% drop from 2010.

And as stirring as Microsoft's sales numbers have been, thanks to Kinect, they're now facing the same growing grumble that Nintendo faced: namely, quality of software.

Actually, Nintendo's quality of software for the Wii was exponentially higher than Kinect has been. At least the Wii had a fantastic launch title, and Nintendo followed up with tremendous versions of the their most popular franchises for the console.

Kinect has what, exactly?

Well, there's Dance Central, and EA Sports Something Or Other Fitness 2 (which DQ Fitness Advisor Doug Walsh recommends quite highly, by the way). Then there's, um, almost nothing. And since Kinect's launch, there's been almost nothing.

As something to hack, it's the coolest device ever. Right now, though, it's not much else.

At least Xbox Live is up, though, right?

As I write this (Monday afternoon), PSN is still down, there's no expected time for it to be up again, and Sony is basically telling us nothing.

Five days.

I wonder if Jack Tretton, otherwise known in this space as "Douchie McDoucherson", has anything supremely arrogant to say about this? Because he's certainly been making the rounds lately. A few samples:
"Our view of the 'Game Boy experience' is that it's a great babysitting tool, something young kids do on airplanes, but no self-respecting twenty-something is going to be sitting on an airplane with one of those," he says. "He's too old for that."

"If you're really going to sustain technology for a decade, you have to be cutting edge when you launch a platform," he says. "Here we are 4 years into the Playstation 3, and it's just hitting its stride. We'll enjoy a long downhill roll behind it because the technology that was so cutting edge in 2006 is extremely relevant today and is conspicuously absent in our competition."

Yes, it will be a "long downhill roll", all right, because Sony so ridiculously over-engineered the PS3 that they can't afford to replace it for another 4-5 years. And by "over-engineered", I don't mean "significantly more powerful", because if it is more powerful than the 360, it's certainly not by much, and not in any meaningful way.

Wait, here's one more bit of smacktalk from McDoucherson:
"They're starting to run out of steam now in terms of continuing to be relevant in 2011 and beyond," he says. "I mean, you've gotta be kidding me. Why would I buy a gaming system without a hard drive in it? How does this thing scale? Motion gaming is cute, but if I can only wave my arms six inches, how does this really feel like I'm doing true accurate motion gaming?"

The Wii, running out of steam? That's the first intelligent thing he's said in about five years, and he's correct, which is why Nintendo is launching a new console next year.

2012. Oh yeah, that's at least three years before a new Playstation.

Here's the thing about Moore's Law, and the rate of technological change. I promise you that Nintendo can come out with a new console at $299 that is just as powerful (or more so) than the PS3 was at $599 in 2006.

In the meantime, Nintendo put out a less powerful console at $249 that became the fastest-selling console in the history of gaming. Sony, on the other hand, lost billions of dollars.

Gee, what kind of self-respecting executive would want to do that?

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