By James Brightman
One region where PS3 isn’t even close to catching Xbox 360, however, is right here in the U.S. where PS3 is behind by about 11 million units. That got us wondering – will Sony ever catch up in America? IndustryGamers spoke with several analysts, and the general consensus appears to be that PS3 has very little chance of doing so.
Jesse Divnich, EEDAR
Kinect was a massive game changer for Microsoft and it certainly altered my trending models for the Xbox 360. One element we must all take into consideration is the evolution of the Xbox 360 hardware over time. I’d argue that most core gamers who purchased an Xbox 360 in the first year likely replaced their system over time as Microsoft added Wi-Fi, larger hard-drives, and HDMI cables. Their re-purchases wouldn’t be adding to the true Xbox 360 install base. The PlayStation 3, however, didn’t begin to ramp up its sales until 2007, when HDMI, Wi-Fi, and an 80+ GB hard-drive were all standard. I’d imagine most of those PlayStation 3’s are still active.
Microsoft’s constant evolution of its hardware was truly genius. Always ensuring that the current hardware models met both consumer pricing and technology expectations . Microsoft never had to put themselves in an awkward situation where they felt they needed to overload their hardware with “future” technology, which as we know often results in initial pricing above the mass-market’s budget.
It still doesn’t change the fact that the gap between the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3 continues to widen… But as I’ve said many times, the name of the game is not who has the largest install base; rather, it is the who has the healthiest, and the comments we keep hearing from third party publishers is that the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3 are driving more absolute profits than any other console.
As someone who isn’t afraid to claim winners and losers in this industry, I must say the PlayStation 3 never gets enough credit for its accomplishments. I don’t foresee being third-place this generation as the “loser.” This is quite an awkward generation.
If you really want to gauge the true winner over time, keep an eye on the public SEC reports by the major publishers. They typically list out how many units of software they ship out of each console. It’d be interesting to compare those numbers in the long-run, as to the developers and publishers, that is the true health measurement of a console.
David Cole, DFC Intelligence
On our official forecasts the Xbox 360 sells more cumulative units in the U.S. than the PlayStation 3. However, we also do a forecast for “active installed base.” This is a forecast for how many units are actually being used by consumer. Thing with the Xbox 360 is many units acquired in the first few years are no longer functioning. Thus many new units are replacement units. Personally we are on our third Xbox 360 but really it is only one active unit.
So when we look at active units we see the PS3 passing the Xbox 360 in the U.S. in 2014. However, the Xbox 360 is forecasted to have sold more units at that time…actually a slightly wider gap than today.
Michael Pachter, Wedbush Securities
In order to pass the 360, the PS3 will have to outsell it, and that has simply not happened while they are at the same price point. The days of exclusive games driving purchases is over, and consumers don’t seem particularly swayed by the “it only does everything” tag line. In fact, I find the feature set for the PS3 so rich that it’s hard to explain in a 30-second ad.
Now that the 360 has a large hard drive, built-in Wi-fi, and Sony is charging for PSN Plus, it’s really hard for
Sony to convince consumers that the PS3 is a significantly better value, especially at the same price point. Microsoft has a deeper library of DLC, and a comparable library of exclusives.
The only way PS3 passes 360 is to be priced at a lower level, and I don’t see that happening. Sony’s cost is higher than Microsoft’s, and its parent company is neither as profitable nor as cash rich as Microsoft.
Further, Microsoft appears determined to “win”, so I don’t see them allowing Sony to gain a pricing advantage, ever.
Finally, Kinect will keep driving 360 sales, and Move so far has not had as significant of an impact. I don’t see that changing unless Sony makes Move part of the console sale, included for free.
Billy Pidgeon, M2 Research
Speculatively, PS3 achieving a larger installed base in the U.S. is possible in two to three years, particularly in the event of Microsoft launching a next generation console in that time frame. In the near term, it’ll be easier for the PS3 to gain ground in Europe than in the U.S. Of course, increased PS3 penetration is also contingent on Sony’s continued release of quality first party system selling games.
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