Friday, March 16, 2007

Console Post of the Week: Clean-Up on Aisle 7

Three weeks ago I said that if Sony's PS3 unit sales for February were below 160,000, then Sony had a full-fledged disaster on their hands.

I had no idea I was being far too optimistic.

Actual PS3 console sales in February? 127,000.

That number may not mean anything to you, but in a historical context, it's breathtaking. In a bad way.

[Michael Pachter, by the way, predicted 200,000 units. Look for him and other analysts to breathlessly announce that the PS3 is too expensive.]

Here are some numbers to help you understand what kind of trouble Sony is in at this point. In the 77-month history of the Playstation 2, the lowest monthly sales were 214,000 units (thanks VG Charts).

So in over six years, the WORST month the PS2 had in America is 87,000 more units than the PS3 unit sales in February. The PS3 sales were barely 60% of the worst PS2 monthly sales.

Here's one more number for you. In the 17 month history of the Xbox 360, the worst month (which was severely supply constrained) was 187,000 units. That's 60,000 more units than the PS3 sold last month.

The 360 sold 227,ooo units last month. It almost outsold the PS3 2-1.

The Wii? Despite still being severely supply constrained compared to demand, the tiny console with the stupid name sold 335,000.

In other words, they sold every one they made. Like they did in November. And December. And January.

There's really no reason at this point to even compare Wii sales to the PS3. The Wii is going to be the PS2 of this generation. That's not Sony's real problem now, because Nintendo is long gone.

The real problem is Microsoft.

Games drive console sales (and I believe that Wii Sports is still driving sales of the Wii, even though it was a launch title). Microsoft has Forza Motorsport 2, Mass Effect, Bioshock, Blue Dragon, Grand Theft Auto IV, and Halo 3. That's barely scratching the surface, and except for GTA IV, they're all exclusives.

In other words, Microsoft is $200 cheaper and they have a far more compelling list of software locked and loaded for the rest of the year.

Sony gambled that they could sell enough PS3's quickly enough to lower their costs on manufacturing. Clearly, they grossly overestimated demand both in the U.S. and in Japan.

They are in deep trouble.

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