Monday, August 06, 2007

Console Post of the Week: It's Mercifully Short for Once

How long do you keep score? Until you're losing.

A few months back, I wrote that we would all know when Microsoft and Sony had thrown in the towel on leading this generation: when they said it didn't matter.

If you're going to win, it matters. If you're going to lose, though--not so much.

Take a look at these (thanks to Francis Cermak). First, Microsoft, from an interview with Peter Moore on July 12 (right before he left for EA):
We shouldn't be totally fixated on hardware installed base numbers, but focused on total consumer spending.

Next is David Reeves here:
I don't think it's to do with market leadership, it's to do with growth. If we are to look back in five years' time, what we have to say is we have to double this industry in five years. It's not necessarily who's the market leader.

Two verses, same song. Let me translate: "Holy mother, the Wii is crushing us in units sold." Which is true.

Here's something else to watch. In EA's latest earnings report, the revenue by platform numbers were very interesting. Take a look at the revenue of the PS2, 360, PS3, and Wii for the last four quarters (on a percentage basis):

........Q3 '07.....Q4 '07.....Q1 '08

Conclusive? No. Very interesting? Yes. Both the uptick in the Wii's numbers as well as the reduction in Sony's combined number (from 65% to 59% to 50%) appear to be significant.

I mentioned last week that it was going to be an interesting week in Japan, with Hot Shots Golf 5 releasing for the PS3 as well as Oblivion releasing for the 360.

Hot Shots sold 152,370 copies, but PS3 sales only increased to 28,829 units. That's more than double the weekly number of PS3's they've been selling recently (and it's their best week in almost two months), but for a major franchise to move less than 20,000 new consoles in its launch week, that has to be considered very poor.

Oblivion for the 360 did very well (for a 360 game, obviously), coming in 7th with 40,168 units sold, but it barely nudged the needle on 360 sales--only 3,872 were sold.

The Wii? 77, 169 units. It's a steamroller.

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I hoped someone would do thermal imaging on all three next-gen consoles. Tech-On! (thanks Kotaku) didn't quite do that, but they did measure temperatures inside a 360.

We already knew this, but it gets hot. Really hot.

How hot? In a room cooled to 23°C, the exhaust coming out of the back of the 360 during operation was 45°C. The CPU heat sink stabilized at 58°C, but the GPU heat sink went up to 80°C. There are certainly PC setups that have temperatures in that range for those components, but the cases have more open space and better airflow, so the overall internal case temperature is much lower. I think it's fair to assume that the the motherboard's high failure rate in the 360 is almost entirely due to heat.

Those temperatures were also measured with the 360 in an open area. I would have really liked to see what the temperatures were when the unit was placed inside a stereo cabinet or some kind of enclosed area. Lava, anyone?

One last note: the rumored 360 price cut is supposed to be coming this week. I think Microsoft's problem here is that $50 price cut is probably not going to stop everyone from focusing on their reliability problems.

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