Before lambasting the site with “X-fan” comments, this is not a PS3 bashing article. We got most of those out of the way late last year, and a little bit in the early part of this year. Still, many readers tend to think that the PS3 is not doing that bad, and that the sales are on track in the same way that the Xbox 360 was during the same period of last year.
There are two reasons why the former frame of thinking is incorrect: First, the market was very different one year ago. The Xbox 360 was competing with the hype of the PlayStation 3, the shadow of the then-labeled Nintendo “Revolution” and decent PS2 and Xbox software sales. Second, sales for the Xbox 360 and Wii are continuously picking up, while the PS3 sales are continuously declining.
In the instance of the first reason, competition has a lot to do with console sales. During the first six months of the Xbox 360's release, it was nearly on-par to where the PS3 is now, but did so with poor shipments. Sony’s shipment errs were over with by mid-December of 2006. Microsoft’s shipment woes carried over into March of 2006. However, the 360 had picked up sales drastically in June, and by September the Xbox 360 was already at 2.7 million units sold and planted in North America. Hence, the 360 was not falling into the same pit as the PS3, six months into its release. And as mentioned above, people didn’t have the competitive incline to buy the 360 at the time. It was the same for the PS2 during its first six-months after launch – a lack of competition (plus, the Dreamcast was dead right out of the gate) only had the PS2 with steady sales gains (but never a decline like the PS3). But once the Xbox and Gamecube came along, the PS2 was already shifting massive amounts of consoles every month, even up until now.
Alternatively, the PS3, in its seventh month, has barely surpassed the 1.5 million mark in North America. While some may say that’s not a big deal in comparison to the Xbox 360 sales last year...only shifting 80k units a month is a big deal. It’s a sad deal. But it’s not like these numbers are just a one-time deal; the PlayStation 3 has started a new trend of shifting only 80,000 units a month, for the past few months. By September, the PS3 will not have a 2.7 million installed unit base in North America, if it continues its downward sales trend.
What’s worse, though, is that this is the peak of the starting gate race in this newest generation of consoles and the PS3 is suffering from a lack of software, original content and hardware sales. Not only that, the software that is available for the PS3 didn’t even make the top ten on the NPD charts for April or May. Ouch! Consistently, the PS2 is running super-circles around its big brother. How embarrassing is that?
And as stated near the top of the article, one of the other main reasons why the PS3 isn’t being looked upon as a success is because during this extremely competitive console race, the Wii and Xbox 360 are in high-demand. There’s no excuse why people shouldn’t be demanding the PS3. There’s no excuse why Sony – who had one extra year to prep for this scenario – is letting the situation slip down the drain for their console. During this same period of last year, Microsoft was throwing every marketing tactic they could at consumers – it was a triple-threat of Xbox Live, several big games being released each month, (i.e., including games like The Outfit, Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter and Dead Rising throughout the summer) and M$ didn’t hesitate to promote the heck out of anything they thought could ring in a dime or dollar.
The difference is that Microsoft has had a cut-throat tactic since unveiling the Xbox 360. I certainly can’t advocate for them being a leader in video game innovation, but I can at least say that during the drought of competition during 2006, M$ never backed down. And when the Wii and PS3 came along, they only amped-up their efforts to keep their lead.
After bolstering in press meetings and pontificating on podiums about the PS3 replacing computers – two years before the PS3 was ready to launch – Sony now looks like the sheepish wolf who realized their teeth weren’t sharp enough to cut the custard. In a way, it’s the company’s response to the current market value of the PS3 that makes it look so unsuccessful. Sony should be finding new ways to make the PS3 look innovative as a gaming console and as a way to play games, rather than relying on the stagnate sales of the current line-up of software (and Blu-Ray) to pick up the slack.
Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean that the newest family member of the PlayStation brand can’t make a comeback. As of right now, Sony should be using every opportunity available to reach publications and popular PS3 bloggers to promote the PS2 backward compatibility...upscaling should be a prime priority in their marketing tactic and the SixAxis should play a bigger part in how they promote the way their games are played, regardless of whether it sucks or not. And as we’ve stated time and time over again, here at CB Games, software sells hardware and the PS3's hardware is only going to sell because of the software.
Has The PS3 Done Well In Its First Six Months?