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Console Race: Another Lap For Sony

Posted by: Matt Vella on March 13

salesfeb.jpgFor the second month in a row, sales of Sony’s (SNE) Playstation 3 console system outpaced Microsoft’s (MSFT) Xbox 360 in the U.S., according to figures released late Mar. 13 by analysts at the NPD Group. Though both companies promptly issued press releases slicing the monthly results in their own favor, the results underscore the tightening race between the two tech giants.

After a 2007 of fits and starts, Sony’s game system seems to finally be on firm footing. The company crowed about the nearly 281,000 PS3 systems it sold, representing 120% sales growth from the year before and a volume 10% higher than Microsoft’s next-generation console for the month. “We believe that Blu-ray becoming the high-def format of choice was the tipping point for many consumers,” said Jack Tretton, president and CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment America, referring to the demise earlier this year of the rival HD-DVD format formerly backed by Microsoft.

For its part, Microsoft issued a release saying supply constraints had held up sales. In Feb., Microsoft sold 254,600 Xbox 360s, up from 230,000 consoles the month before. The company says the so-called Xbox ecosystem – combined sales of game systems, software, and accessories – was worth $332 million, or 39% of the market for next generation systems. Microsoft was also able to sell more games with each of its systems than Sony.

Still, Sony seems to have the wind at its back. In addition to its advanced PS3 console, the company last month sold 243,100 Playstation Portables and an eye-opening 351,800 Playstation 2 units, its previous generation game system. A raft of highly anticipated exclusive titles including sequels to the Metal Gear Solid and Gran Turismo series are due in the next couple of months, which the company hopes will further boost sales. Some analysts have predicted that Sony could pull ahead of Microsoft this year, despite Redmond’s year advance on the Japanese games titan.

As a whole, the games industry continues booming. Year-to-date sales of both hardware and software were up 34% to $1.3 billion from $992 million. “Even following a red-hot 2007, the video games industry shows no signs of letting up,” said Anita Frazier, an NPD analyst. She added that a slate of blockbuster titles yet to be released could push “the industry to achieve another year of record-breaking sales despite difficult economic conditions.”

Reader Comments

Chris Anderson

March 14, 2008 01:54 PM

Why does the Wii have no mention or market share in the chart? They definatly did not get 0% of the market, so all these market share figures are being misrepresented, you have the DS on there, so what gives?


March 14, 2008 02:15 PM

I believe that Wii, while grey in the legend is white on the pie chart and captured 20% of console sales. Also interesting is PS2 is outselling PS3.


March 14, 2008 02:20 PM

Isn't Wii the white chunk? 20%


March 14, 2008 02:51 PM

"record-braking" ???


March 14, 2008 02:52 PM

The Wii is a girls system, hence, of no concern really


March 14, 2008 03:02 PM

It's cause the Wii is currently out of reach for the other two. At the moment only PS3 and Xbox is comparable to one another; any comparison to the Wii as of now is no contest in favor of the Wii.

Johnny Bravo

March 14, 2008 03:05 PM

Dear Chris Anderson,

You really made my day.

1. There are 6 Products labeled on the chart.
2. The pie chart is divided in 6.

It is a simple process of elimination. You must work for Microsoft Xbox Division

Thanks for the laugh.

Johnny Bravo

Matt V

March 14, 2008 04:48 PM

Hey Guys -- This is Matt, the author. Just an FYI, this chart has some three dimensional lighting applied to it that makes the colors slightly off. The Wii is greyish-white...

The Real Bravo

March 14, 2008 10:19 PM

The Year of the 3!!(Thats PS3 for Mr. Anderson) Free on-line play, fight the power!! SOCOOOOOOMMMMM HURRY!!!!!!!

Wii Skeptic

March 14, 2008 10:22 PM

I wish Microsoft or Sony would introduce a control system similar to the Wii (wireless, with free movement capabilities).

If Sony would release an omni-directional controller and a party pack of games crammed onto a blue-ray disc, I would laugh so hard as Wii would drown in its own inability to compete beyond its control style and hardware capability.

If there is going to be a console war (and there always is) lets see some blood. I use to love Nintendo but they ticked me off as they always adapted a strategy that relied on older hardware then forced you to upgrade. Like the expansion pack for the 64, can't get the most out of "Perfect Dark" without it. Also the game cube only looked good for one purpose, it was small enough to throw with one hand (a good strategy to fight of burglars).

The Real Bravo

March 14, 2008 10:22 PM

The Year of the 3!!(Thats PS3 for Mr. Anderson) Free on-line play, fight the power!! SOCOOOOOOMMMMM HURRY!!!!!!!

Mark in Canada

March 14, 2008 11:35 PM

Microsoft claims low sales due to supply constraint...
But go to any Best Buy, EB Games, Future Shop, etc. and you will see a good stack of XB360's, a few PS3s (lots of PS2s) but NO Wii.

I really do not think the shrinking XBox 360 sales are due to supply issues (other than the shrinking supply of buyers).

Typical Microsoft spin on reality ("and the Zune is a better seller than the iPOD").


March 15, 2008 05:03 PM

The PS3 should hurry up and realise that a homebrew game developement suite is needed for its beast.

Competitions like 24hr games ect would be great.

Unreal was the first step. alter games on PC

LittleBigPlanet was the next step, make complex levels on the PS3 itself

Now we need them to release a module for python coding or even a drag and drop gamemaker style interface.

its possible to play Python games on PS3 with linux, it just needs to be made accessible in the regular OS (and GPU access) Indie gamers unight!


March 15, 2008 08:07 PM

has anyone here played Call of Duty 4 online yet? if more people had, the xbox 360 would have eaten most of that pie all up. Id be suprised if socom can match it.

question: what is microsoft do about the blue ray monopoly? will the 360 get upgrades?

@Mark in Canada

March 16, 2008 02:12 AM

Disagree with your "scientific" study of supply. Maybe you should go to some of these stores in the U.S. And you just sound like a hater.


March 17, 2008 11:35 AM

può essere utile per l'esame di inglese


March 17, 2008 03:39 PM

Why are the Wii and DS selling like hotcakes, you ask? Yeah, the lower price compared to the other systems help, but in the end, it all comes down to one factor:


It doesn't matter that the games are graphically inferior, they are simply more fun. I've been playing video games all my life, and I haven't experienced a more fun time than playing Wii Sports with a bunch of friends, which was a FREE game that came with the console. While the 360 and PS3 do dominate in graphics and hardware, the Wii is simply more fun.

Think of it this way - The original Super Mario Bros. is obviously really really bad graphically by today's standards. But, if I went to a friend's house who had an old NES with that game, then it's on. It's still a fun game, regrdless of graphics.

Just some food for thought, I guess.

Pete USA

March 17, 2008 03:48 PM

I think it is still too early and there is still too much shake out left to make any calls about where any of these systems are headed. PS2 has had an 8 year life span and is still competing. The product launches get so much more expensive with each issuance, there is no way these companies are not taking the extreme long view on life cycle. This article is not about which system is best or what games are best but about sales and market share. Based on that graph, I'd say there is definitely room for some jostling. Especially, with the inevitable exit of the PS2.


March 17, 2008 05:00 PM

Well. This report includes sony's playstation portable. i wonder why microsoft doesn't offer portable console?

PS3 Winner

March 18, 2008 03:25 PM

The X-box is the better system for games at the moment for the fact that the gameplay is a little better. Ps3 wins in every other way. Wifi, Blu-Ray, Six-axis wireless controlls, 40gb 80gb (120gb coming soon) memory, linux capability, free online access and more. There should be no arguments the PS3 is the best system and will show after another year.


March 19, 2008 01:32 PM



March 20, 2008 09:52 AM

I bought a Wii and PS3 within the last month. PS3 for BluRay (and the occasional graphics-rich game & media player capabilities) and the Wii because it's just so much more fun to play than the other 2. I really don't intend to get an xbox- well, maybe if it sells for under $200, I would.

William F

March 21, 2008 10:00 AM

Yes, the PS3 is doing better. But the Xbox 360 is simply selling more games. There hasn't been a killer app for the PS3 yet. There have been great games, yes, but nothing that sells Halo-esque numbers.


March 23, 2008 08:10 PM

Well I am not a fan of the Play Station. True Metal Gear Solid is great... but Gran Turismo... I was in Store a few days ago. SOny already sold a game named "Gran Turismo Prologue" ... now they sell the Game for PS3 Again with the same title... not very inovativ.
Well ok Free Online Service ... Great.. but I can't see good titles coming. Xbox 360 Got the new GTA, HuxleY ( a MMOFPS), and there are rumors about a new MGS... And the most good Shooters are available for the Xbox... also RPGs, and Strategie games... Arcade games and so on... sure it costs some bugs... but it is still a good Deal.


March 23, 2008 08:36 PM

Brett have you ever played Socom. Call of duty is crap compared to socom. Trust me I have every socom and purchased COD4 when it came out Cod is fun for about 1 month. I will be trading it in for credit toward socom.


March 27, 2008 02:45 PM

william f the xbox 360 might be selling more games than the ps3 but remember that the number of 360 owners is 3 to 1 compared to those of the ps3. if someone can moove software is the ps3 with its lower market share.


April 4, 2008 02:31 PM

looking for: a good price LAP-top .THANKS


June 14, 2008 01:33 PM

All XBOX holders of COD4 will soon be back to the "LIGHT" for now they are all in the "Dark" side but when the next generation of SOCOM comes out eg. CONFRONTATION, all gamers from the other side will come back to where they started from! CONFRONTATION IS AND WILL ALWAYS BE THE GAME TO PLAY! Better Grapics better game play more sceanarios then any other game out there! Hence the SONY SALES will catch fire this year when they release the BEAST known as CONFRONTATION!


October 13, 2008 06:08 PM

The Wii sells so much because parents like it because they have the idea that it is more "active" than real gaming systems. It may be fun to swing your controller around or whatever, but it is not a true gaming console. It is a fun toy. Nothing more. It should not be discussed in the same venue as the PS3 or XBox.

Thank you for your interest. This blog is no longer active.



No longer child's play, the booming global games market is worth billions of dollars. In Games, Inc., BusinessWeek Innovation writer Matt Vella and Tokyo correspondent Kenji Hall analyze emerging business trends in video games and interactive entertainment. They’ll examine everything from button-mashing, chart-topping, console games to serious games commissioned by big corporations to train staff. They’ll also map the evolution of expansive virtual worlds and go behind the strategies at companies that are turning play into big business.

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