Sales Numbers Armchair Analysis


I’m reading Level Up’s Armchair Analysis of August’s US NPD numbers, and I can’t help but think: they discuss the US NPD numbers quite extensively. Why is there no mention of any of the readily available Japanese sales figures or even Canada’s NPD numbers? Europe is also significant, but I’m not aware of any Internet sites where one can get reliable European sales numbers, so that can be understandable.

I’m not trying to “spin” sales numbers as many are critical of, but doesn’t it seem quite skewed that so many sites focus exclusively on U.S. numbers which is where the PS3′s performance is weakest relative to it’s competition, and avoid mention of the readily available Japanese or Canadian numbers which change the overall picture quite a bit when accounted for.

Back to the core discussion: they mention that PS3 has no *big* exclusive title this year. What do you think?

They are kind of right: As much as I’m excited about Ratchet or Drake or Singstar or UT3 (timed exclusive) or Echochrome or the PS Eye or the ton of non-exclusives, I doubt that any one of these will single-handedly flip the sales charts or even match the impact of a Bioshock or Halo 3. However, I don’t think that is necessary. First, some of those titles *ARE* system sellers for certain audiences. The review scores suggest otherwise, but in reality, people do have different tastes; not everyone wants another Halo. Some people will definitely buy a PS3 primarily for Singstar, for example. But another point, is that many will choose a system not for a single blockbuster title, but for the overall content library and value. No one is going to run out and buy a PS3 for LocoRoco or Echochrome, but when you add up lots of diverse quality content like that, it does win over consumers.


Written by: Darrin - Contributing Editor


  1. #1 by bobeotm on September 25th, 2007

    Well the thing is, the PS3 is a year behind in its game lineup. For instance the 360 is getting its hugest known titles right now. And it will be the same way next year for PS3, with both Final Fantasy 13 and MGS4 (like bioshock and halo). Its basically the ps3 is at where the 360 was a year ago. The ramp up is slow, but there will be good titles coming up. It may not be the megaton season for them this year, but 2008 seems more and more to be PS3′s year.

    The 360′s biggest title is out NOW, its not coming out 2008. In fact on the 360 front, there isn’t a great deal on the horizon for 2008 on the 360. However, look at the PS3, and the biggest games announced are all coming out in 2008, MGS, FFXII, Killzone 2. Not to mention the 2 titles that Team ICO are rumored to be working on, on top of the Rockstar exclusive (that isnt la noire). There is alot to look forward. 2008 is the year to watch.

    The question is ,will the Wii novelty factor wear off by then? Will it manage to escape the niche of nongames, minigame compilations, and bad ps2 and gamecube ports? Will 360 have any more high profile titles to offer after basically blowing its wad with most titles shipping this year? What big franchise do they have to offer, now that halo is out. Of the three, PS3 seems to have 08 in the bag.

  2. #2 by Darrin on September 25th, 2007 [ 17143 Points ]

    Woah… the PS3 is where the 360 was a year ago? For Fall-holiday ’06, the 360 had *one* big exclusive and some mediocre non-exclusive content. The 360 has the bigger blockbusters this season, but PS3 still has a wide variety of strong exclusives and really strong non-exclusives this season. The 360 wasn’t even near that in ’06.

  3. #3 by John on September 25th, 2007

    Truth is Halo is just another console shooter. All it has going for it is the hype and marketing, technically, graphically, gameplay-wise, it’s rather naff. And I guess *that* is the part that unnerves 360s fanbois, because despite everything, they’re still stuck with playing the same games as on the XBox.
    They got graphically enhanced, sure, but that’s it. Nothing new under the sun. And even graphically, there is nothing with as “next-gen” graphics as GTHD, HS or KillZone2.

  4. #4 by MeeToo on September 25th, 2007

    “Halo is just another shooter” ???

    Okey, name a PS3 game that has score 9 at IGN/Gamespot?

  5. #5 by Segitz on September 25th, 2007 [ 1470 Points ]

    Imho, Halo3 IS just another shooter. I played Halo1 when it was released on the PC and… I was sooo disappointed :D

    Yes, Halo3 got better scores, but as I am no shooter gamer at all, I couldn’t care less tbh.

    Thing is, after one year in market, the 360 only had GeoW as its big exclusive. The rest was just mostly mediocre (I would love Dead Rising though). The PS3 gets Ratchet, Uncharted, GT5P… These games alone will not rivals Gears sales numbers, but surely together they will beat it, as they cater for more gamers.

  6. #6 by Emrah on September 25th, 2007

    I just bought Heavenly Sword. I will be able to play it tomorrow. It seems to be a good product from the videos, and I found the demo entertaining. It’s exclusive, it is a big production. Is it really not worth mentioning even in the comments?

  7. #7 by francois on September 25th, 2007

    I have high expectation for Uncharted, for me these type of game are the reason why I play console. If the games lives up to the hype and is well marketed it could do well. But let me guess right away the score: 8.0 to 8.5, Good story, good gameplay, too short, no multiplayer.

  8. #8 by Pc on September 25th, 2007 [ 1935 Points ]

    @ Bobeotm, I believe that your exactly correct. The PS3 will reign in 08 and there will be no stopping it. If they can manage to throw in a price drop right before some of those big “system seller” titles drop, they will have won over a lot of people.

  9. #9 by Pc on September 25th, 2007 [ 1935 Points ]

    @ Emrah, Heavenly Sword is one of the best action games out there. You will love it, the only bad thing about it, is that it’s a lil on the short side as far as game length goes. Other than that though, it’s GREAT ! :)

  10. #10 by Pc on September 25th, 2007 [ 1935 Points ]

    @ Meetoo, Well, let’s see here…Hmmmmm
    Ninja Gaiden Sigma got like a 9.3 and it was exclusive !
    Oblivion was not exclusive, but was better on PS3 and it got a 9.2 !
    The big “SYSTEM SELLER” titles arent even out yet for the PS3 and it already has a lot of good games that got good scores. I’m looking at IGN right now :)
    BTW, there are alot of PS3 titles that scored 8 + and very close to 9′s !!

  11. #11 by Pc on September 25th, 2007 [ 1935 Points ]

    Forgot to mention one more thing..@ Meetoo, those reviews represent one man’s opinion therefore doesn’t mean much, simply because that person might not like that genre at all to begin with, or he is real picky about certain things, or doesn’t like the console, and is bias.

  12. #12 by John on September 25th, 2007

    >“Halo is just another shooter” ???
    >Okey, name a PS3 game that has score 9 at IGN/Gamespot?

    Score is irrelevant, *especially* coming from advertisement-money driven websites like IGN or Gamespot.
    It IS just another shooter, with the same shooter mechanics, and similar looking graphics (just in HD, but that’s not a big deal nowadays: it’s still just 720p and 30FPS, way below PC shooters, and thus not a strong point).

  13. #13 by MeeToo on September 25th, 2007

    @PC

    RE:Gamespot

    PS3 has 3 games that score 9+
    X360 has 8 games that score 9+

    If we subtract the non-exclusives from the PS3, then there will be none left since Ninja Gaiden 2 will be coming to X360.

    Yeah, will all know that the reviews from sites are biased. But still what that does mean? Nothing? Are you kidding?

    It means someone agree with me when I say Halo 3 is good. That what’s most site are for. When a gamesite review a game and it gives a score of 4… means it’s not as good as a game that has score of 9.

    So who cares? I do, and a lot of gamers do read reviews from multiple site to see if there going to waste there money on what games.

    And score matters. If the game got a very poor review, I’ll probably not gonna get it. Is it bias? Of course it is biased. But it still mean something that you can’t just ignore.

  14. #14 by MeeToo on September 25th, 2007

    BTW: Gamespot scoring is based on Users scores and Critics scores.

    And it’s not just one-man opinions, but thousands.

  15. #15 by Segitz on September 25th, 2007 [ 1470 Points ]

    Hm, why do you deduct NGS from the PS3, when the SEQUEL is not on it?? That imho does not make sense, but… does it matter?

    I mean, the PS3 is only in market for 10/6 months, the 360 has 22 months in market. It is only natural that the 360 has more games scoring high, as it has more games at all. If it didn’t have more good games than the PS3, I would really doubt MSs efforts!

    Gamespots 8 exclusives show me mere 4 exclusives (yes, Bioshock is also a PC game, and don’t tell me, this means exclusive, because I am sure as hell ain’t gonna get a 360 for this game, as I have a good pc!). These are Gears, Halo and Forza (I really doubt the PDZ rating though, this game is just… bad, Metacritic scores it at 81!).

    And to add to that, out of these 8 games, 6 are shooters… Hell of a lineup :D

    And now adding again, since these are nearly all shooters, only 3-5 (depends on if you count November too) were released within the first 12 months (from November 05 to October 06/November 06). The PS3 already has the 3 in 12 months 9 or higher rated games and it is only gonna grow (surely Ratchet can score this high, as well as Uncharted and maybe GT5P if reviewed for what it is and its price).

    So, where do we stand now? I say not that bad!

  16. #16 by Emrah on September 25th, 2007

    @pc, I almost always prefer quality over quantity. They could have sent 10000 enemies instead of 5000 throughout the game (making up the numbers of course), to make it longer, but the game would be less good. I’ll be able to play it after some 15 hours :)

  17. #17 by Rjcc on September 25th, 2007 [ 490 Points ]

    Have you actually looked at the canadian numbers? They are woefully small compared to the us numbers, and not much different in ratio.

    People focus on the U.S. numbers….because they live in the US. Not because they’re biased against the PS3.

  18. #18 by Rjcc on September 25th, 2007 [ 490 Points ]

    oddly, the 360-biased joystiq makes a point of publishing the japan numbers every single week, what does that mean?

  19. #19 by Darrin on September 25th, 2007 [ 17143 Points ]

    Yes the Canadian numbers are very small, but still, why not add them in and use US+Canada numbers?

    I live in the US, but when I’m in armchair analyst mode and I’m looking at the trends of the overall market, I think that global figures are more relevant than U.S. only.

    I didn’t say everyone is biased against the PS3 (not in this post at least). Level Up has a pro-PS3 bias if anything.

  20. #20 by Henning on September 25th, 2007 [ 0 Points ]

    While the PS3 isn’t doing as well as the PS2 was at the same stage, neither is the 360. N’Gai Croal talks about this occasionally – the 360 just isn’t posting the numbers it should be given the strong slate of software it has. But I have to admit that Sony’s situation looks slightly worse. I wish that more PS3′s would sell, both globally and in NA.

    My guess?

    People are just too content to keep playing Xbox and PS2 games, and are waiting out the next-gen race until more really good games are released, or by buying a Wii.

    Personally, I can’t afford to buy more than one console in any given generation. So I have to pick one. As a software developer, I’ve seen how sleezy Microsoft is in their business practices, and have no respect for them. So even though they put out a decent console – the 360 – I will not buy it. Plus, I don’t like paying monthly fees when I don’t have to. Plus, I don’t like kiddy games (no Wii for me). Plus, I like my HD (again, no Wii). Plus, I like the type of games that come out on the PlayStation brand more. That all adds up to “buy a PS3 Henning!”.

    As to Halo 3, I admit that it will probably be a really good game. That’s no skin off my back. I have two friends with 360′s, and I’ll be able to play Halo 3 at their places. In the meantime, I can play games I enjoy at home on my PS3. Right now that’s GRAW2, Super Stardust HD, and Warhawk.

  21. #21 by fleakitten on September 25th, 2007 [ 26489 Points ]

    Why is Heavenly Sword being over looked? It’s an exclusive MS will never get, it’s fun to play and the graphics are awesome..If you just want to rush through the game w/o unlocking everything then it is rather short.

  22. #22 by Dartmerc on September 25th, 2007

    MeeToo:
    Okey, name a PS3 game that has score 9 at IGN/Gamespot?
    what Xbox 2 games scored 9 a year after launch?

    BTW: Gamespot scoring is based on Users scores and Critics scores.

    And it’s not just one-man opinions, but thousands.

    So users are already scoring halo 3 at 9 before playing it? Seems like halo fans are just voting for the shit of it. It’d be funny if Halo 3 turned out super shit (i’m not saying it will, I’m of the opinion its a *good* fps), but because of the thousands of positive votes already, bungie now know they don’t have to make a quality game to get good review scores.

  23. #23 by Dartmerc on September 25th, 2007

    Back on the more general topic, PS3 is a future proof console (the PS2 was too, except for online, but really that boomed towards the end of its generation). It’s hard to code for, and we wont see games push that for the next couple of years. Drop your first PS2 game in, and look at it compared to God of war, the different is incredible. Xbox 2 has already had 3 different versions (I know PS3 has had different HDD size’s, and backwards compatability versions), Microsoft isn’t giving the right now solution, it’s giving the *just then* solution.

  24. #24 by MeeToo on September 26th, 2007

    @Dartmerc RE: Halo score

    Users have been playing Halo 3 with friends that have beta version well before the final release. If you think Halo 3 is a bad game, then feel free to give it an honest low score. That is the purpose of voting and scoring.

    @Everyone

    You all assume that X360 has no life after Halo 3. PS3 has still the future games (MG4, FF13, LittleBigWorld, Tekken6). Tekken 6 probably will not get a score of 9, but it will be a system seller.

    But the big event for the game console manufacturer will be this Xmas07. PS3 doesn’t have any sufficient AAA games this Xmas. While X360 already has 8 games that scores 9+. Scores/Reviews will matter when people will be planning on what to buy this holiday. And this holiday, X360 sales will win over PS3. If the developers will see this trend, then they will basically make more games for X360 this time and in the future.

    After Halo 3; games like SoulCalibur, DeadRising 2, Halo Wars, Assassin’s Creed, Naruto, DMC4, Lost Odyssey… though some are not exclusive is enought to make more users buy X360 instead.

    I know some of you hate X360, (I do too for having RROD), but don’t dismiss that there is not life after Halo 3.

    The 65nm of X360 will also be a system sellar. This is probably the next big event for MS, the falcon version of X360. It will be a system sellar.

  25. #25 by Sporty on September 26th, 2007 [ 95 Points ]

    I really don’t care about sales.

    Lets for a minute act like the PS3 will stay in third place (since it probably will for at least another year).

    Worst case scenario is PS3 will still do better then Gamecube did last gen. Sony owns 15 development studios with most having multiple teams that can work on dozens of first party games at any given time. If you go only first party Sony has nearly 20 PS3 games and 70 PSN games coming out this year alone (going off E3′s numbers). The majority of third party games are going to be multi-platform games this gen just to recoup the costs. So even if PS3 doesn’t improve any time soon a PS3 owner will have plenty of games to buy, and a lot of exclusives once the first parties kick into full gear.

    If you notice every single analyst expects PS3 to finish first this generation. Most of the negativity is based on price. Now that the $399 PS3 thanksgiving rumor seems to be getting more creditable, N’Gia semi-confirmed it and he has one of the best track records out their, Sony should pick up some steam soon. But probably wont win this season in sales.

    One thing MS has a major problem with is expanding it’s base. It should be a runaway hit now but it’s not reached critical mass. GoW sold nearly 3 million units but 360 didn’t move too many extra units. Bioshock pushed to nearly 700k sold last month but 360 didn’t have a major spike, accept a small bump from their price cut. Halo might help them out with new users, or it might just follow the trend. High attach rate mainly.

    MS has gotten better at marketing though. To get people excited at small very common place things like die shrinkage. Irony is PS3 will hit 65nm this year also but it’s pointless to care about since it happens on everything. Only thing it does is increase yield on chips so it saves them money. They also run slightly cooler but 360s DVD drives are loud as hell so it wont help noise nearly as much as some think. The ring of death that hits most users is due to overheating so it should help some but lack of proper cooler was the main problem in that design. 33% failure rate is still on the minds of smart people.

    Developer will and have seen 360 do well in the US. That why so many PS3 exclusives are now on the 360. But it still sucks wind in Japan so more JP developers wont go exclusive since it’s only a US audience they will reach with the 360. EU is a closer fight but Sonys name is stronger their then Microsofts.

  26. #26 by Rjcc on September 26th, 2007 [ 490 Points ]

    wha….? So, microsoft marketing is getting people excited about die shrinkage? as far as I know, microsoft has never officially acknowledged anything having to do with die shrinks, other than that they intend to reduce the cost it takes to make an xbox over time.

    that’s not the marketing department.

  27. #27 by Sporty on September 26th, 2007 [ 95 Points ]

    I was referring to MeToo’s weird comment about 65mn being a system seller.

    Most tech people know it’s pointless to care. doesn’t change anyway the games play. doesn’t solve the RROD, better heatsink compand and an added heatsink that’s already on the market helped that, and doesn’t convert to lower prices to consumers. Also doesn’t solve the rare disk scratching since they are still using samsung and Ben-Q drives

    But MS throws the name falcon on it and the slightly ignorant fanboys thinks it’s better.

    The irony is that PS3′s are being made with 65nm now, should be in the retail channel this holiday season and the component count was dropped by 3000. But Sony doesn’t throw a name on it since it doesn’t mean jack to Joe-Consumer. But thrown a name on it on the 360 and you have people talking like it’s the second coming that solves world hunger.

  28. #28 by Dartmerc on September 26th, 2007

    @metoo:
    Never said I didn’t like halo, in fact I said it was a good fps.

    So xbox may have some good exclusives this holiday season, much better games then it did last year, and the PS3 is doing great considering it’s a year behind, in my opinion, the fact that games currently look identical on both machines, is amazing considering the limited experience with PS3 and unfocused development on multiplatform games, and is only an indication of what is to come in the future for PS3.

    Q1 2008 is PS3′s time to shine, some great content is coming out then, but as much as I can’t wait to get my hands on it, i’m a little dissapointed that MGS4 is coming out this early in the consoles life. I know, I know, but we all saw how amazing MGS3 was compared to 2.

    Either way, unless BluRay falls over, I don’t see how PS3 can possibly lose this generation, MS will continue to create a enhanced box every year or so, eventually the price difference between xbox2 and PS3 will be a non-issue, MS will completely abandoning the xbox2 when it creates xbox3 (which is the only thing they can do, hardcore gamers don’t wait to play on old hardware), while PS3 will continue to power on as the casual gamers system and BluRay player. I think i’ll clear that up for anyone who doesnt realise, a 10 year life doesn’t mean PS4 will be 10 years away, there will be overlap.

    And then we’ll be at the exact same place we are now!
    Really, no matter who wins it isn’t all that important.
    xbox got snapped last gen, but people who liked halo bought it, and that is what was important to them, they still had fun with it.


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