Microsoft’s Spin on the December NPDs: More Dollars than the Rest
As we’ve become used to with Microsoft’s spin on each month’s NPDs, their announcement that the “Xbox 360 won 2007” is based entirely on money spent. $4.8 billion in “total consumer spend[ing]” was the 360’s total, compared with the Wii’s $3.5 billion and PlayStation 3’s $2.2 billion. Microsoft claimed this was a historic year as “consumers have spent nearly 45 percent of total industry figures on Xbox 360.”
The above line chart (is that what they’re called? Math terms haven’t stayed with me over the years) was provided to illustrate the Xbox 360’s lead over the PS3, although the Wii is (not so) mysteriously absent from the chart.
Check after the break for a bullet point list from Microsoft illustrating just what a miracle the Xbox 360 is, and my subsequent demolishing of said list.
Point-by-point seems like the most efficient way to do this.
Microsoft: XBOX 360 WIDENS THE GAP OVER PS3 WITH CONSOLE SALES: According to NPD, Xbox 360 sold 1.3 million consoles in December alone, and has steadily widened the gap between Sony’s PlayStation 3 console sales. In December, NPD stated that Sony sold 798,000 PS3 hardware units. Since PS3’s launch in November 2006, Xbox 360 has outsold PS3 by nearly 2:1 on average, bringing a total U.S. Xbox 360 install base of 9.2 million consoles, compared to and [sic] installed base of 7.4 million Wii consoles and 3.3 million PS3 consoles.
Me: Microsoft, to a degree, makes my point for me – the Wii has already sold 7.4 million units in just over a year, while the 360’s 9.2 million units mark have taken more than two years to hit. While it seems like an easy argument to make, I’ll give them the PS3 argument because it’s a hard point to factually argue, even though I think we can all agree that the PS3’s sales will see a dramatic increase with the release of Metal Gear Solid, Final Fantasy, and Gran Turismo.
Microsoft: GAMES DRIVE INDUSTRY GROWTH: Xbox 360 robust games portfolio spans across the highest-ranked AAA titles to the largest collection of “Everyone” and “Teen” rated games. According to NPD, of the top 20 best-selling titles in 2007 for this generation, 11 were on Xbox 360; while only seven were sold on the Wii and two sold on the PS3.
Me: That’s what a larger install base will do for you. The lack of including the PlayStation 2’s games is a bit deceptive, and the same could even be said for the PlayStation Portable and DS. Admittedly so, they did say “for this generation.”
Microsoft: NPD reported that this holiday’s leading multiplatform blockbusters continue to sell better on Xbox 360:
“Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare” for Xbox 360 was the leading game last month with 1.5 million copies sold, outselling the PS3 version nearly 3:1.
“Assassin’s Creed” for Xbox 360 was the fourth best selling title, having sold 894,000 units. It outsold the PS3 version more than 2:1.
“Guitar Hero III” outsold the PS3 nearly 2:1, having sold 625,000 copies.
“Rockband” continues to rock the charts, selling 463,000 units for the Xbox 360 platform, compared to 174,000 units for the PS3
To date, 33 third party games on Xbox 360 hit the top 10 list across all consoles compared to five third party games on PS3, and four on Wii. These results confirm that third party partners create better games and reap more sales on Xbox 360 than any other platform.
In its fourth month on the market, Halo 3 continued its strong performance and was the sixth best selling title in December, selling another 742,000. In 2007, NPD projects that Halo 3 has sold 4.8 million units in the U.S. since its launch in September.
Xbox 360 continues to lead in number of games sold per console, setting another record with an attach rate of 7.0 games per console.
XBOX LIVE SETS NEW HEIGHTS: Xbox LIVE’s network is 10 million members strong and growing, achieving membership goals six months ahead of schedule. Only on Xbox LIVE can members experience the largest catalog of on-demand, high-definition content in the U.S., including movies and television shows from our most recent partners: Disney-ABC Television Group and MGM Studios.
Me: Again, having a larger install base explains why sales of multiplatform games are so much higher on 360 versus the PS3. At this point in time, it’s really not a level playing field.
Oh, and may I ask how many of those are Xbox Live Gold members, and not just people with a free Silver account (i.e. individuals who can’t play online)?
Microsoft: We’re not slowing down in 2008. The next versions of powerhouse franchises like “Grand Theft Auto,” “Resident Evil” and sports games like “Madden”, “FIFA”, and “Pro Evolution Soccer” open up a new arena for game play on Xbox 360. This year we will make great strides toward improving our brand appeal to consumers interested in more physical game play. With titles like “Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock,” “Rock Band” and “Scene It? Lights, Camera, Action” we’re creating interactive experiences on Xbox 360 for the entire family.
Me: Sounds like a nice lineup, but many of those titles are available on other platforms. Maybe you’re holding off on announcing the big first-party exclusives until GDC, but in the meantime, looking at this list, I’m not overly impressed.
Ultimately, this is just a standard marketing spin list. But, I do hate opening my inbox to see things like “The results are in: Xbox 360/PS3/Wii/whatever is leading the industry!” Sure, I made that particular subject line up, but it’s not too far from the truth – and I also hate the subsequent usage of these “facts” by fanboys in arguments to prove their system is so much better than the rest.