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Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii: Who’s Winning And How

November 17th, 2008 by Derrick Schommer · 20 Comments

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People see facts and figures constantly and brush them off as, well, facts and figures. But, when people see charts and graphs they “oooh” and “aaaah” over them because the visualization is easy to understand. Now, thanks to the NPD Group and Deutsche Bank, people are seeing some pretty graphs about the console battle. These show just how well the race is going on all fronts of the war.

Hardware Sales chart, via gamedaily.com

Although the data is fairly small the colors show it all, the Wii crossed over the Xbox 360 numbers in unit sales and hasn’t stopped since the launch. Here we are, on the third holiday season since the Wii launch, and people still cannot find them in stores. Shortage? Doubtful. Considering the massive sales numbers and the fact that they did take the 360 in numbers it seems the supply just can’t meet the over-the-top demands, but why is the demand so high for the little Nintendo bundle of joy? People just can’t get enough Wii.

The Xbox 360 has much to brag about as well, they’re not first in the race but their nearest next-generation graphic console, the PlayStation 3, isn’t even close. The chart shows them both rising in much the same way, with the same “pops” along the sales chart but in a completely different scale. Since Microsoft doesn’t want to consider Wii a competitor, they’re clearly winning the war in their eyes.

Oddly enough, one of the big pops in Xbox 360 sales where around the PS3 launch. Perhaps these consumers were waiting for both consoles to launch before making a decision? More than likely, it was holiday related and had little to do with the PS3 launch but it is fun to ponder anyway.

What about software sales? We’ve heard the Wii has little to offer in terms of games while the 360 wipes the floor with the competition.

Software sales charts, via GameDaily.com

To our surprise, the Wii is rocking the sales figures in terms of software but still doesn’t compare to the Xbox 360. Microsoft pulls out 93-million units while Nintendo takes home a modest 73-million units in software… yet again Sony doesn’t show up to the fight. Looking at November 2007, you can see the Wii jumps significantly in unit sales, no doubt related to the Super Mario Galaxy launch — once they hit that figure they never looked back and continued to climb.

Although a few of us expected Sony’s PlayStation 3 to make huge progress this year, each month they have marginal growth is causing their competitors to excel beyond anyones imagination. We’re starting to wonder how well Sony’s “10 year plan” is going to work out with their competitors taking advantage of the market now when, in 10-years, they will be sitting on their pile of cash to re-invest in the 8th generation of consoles.

(Thanks, GameDaily)

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20 responses so far ↓

  • 1 CaidNo Gravatar // Nov 17, 2008 at 8:55 pm

    Thank goodness flaming isn’t fatal, for if it were, I’d imagine this writer would be well on his way to a fiery hell. I’m just waiting for the hardcore hatred which is sure to unsue from the mouths of angry one system owning boys who’re about to drop a brick about this article.

    Should be good… Fun article by the way.


  • 2 Derrick SchommerNo Gravatar // Nov 17, 2008 at 9:01 pm

    Thanks for the kind words, I’m awaiting the onslaught. Unfortunately, people are going to label me a one-sided fanboy, but I have been rooting for the PS3 to win in 2008… so far I’m sad to see it’s not increasing fast enough.

    Some folks argue that 360 has a year’s head start, however, if you shift the PS3 sales figures one year ahead and assume a perfect linear increase it still wouldn’t come close to the other consoles.

    Or, you can argue that 360 came out first so it had the initial buy-ins to the console. True, this is a fact… but that’s why they were smart in releasing it first even with the huge amount of fatal red rings of death they still are getting huge sales. I can’t believe it myself, considering the fatality rate of that console but it doesn’t stop people from buying in because that’s where the games are at.

    The PS3 still has a bit of a chance but I think it’s safe to call it 3rd in this generation for good or bad…

  • 3 malshepardNo Gravatar // Nov 17, 2008 at 9:02 pm

    The facts don’t lie and they are there in a convenient chart for everyone to see for themselves. Great article.

  • 4 CaidNo Gravatar // Nov 17, 2008 at 9:13 pm

    To be honest with you, I own a ps3, and 2 360’s (im in asia and need an asian console as well as my NA one to play all the games. My NA (north american) console is the Nov 11 2005 one, it’s loud as all hell, but still going.

    I play my 360 more than my ps3 (although LBP is taking up a bit of my time now) but when it’s all said and done, the ps3 feels a lot less dangerous to use. Unfortunately, I’m not a fan of a lot of the games, so I’m left to using my ps3 as a glorified DVD player (which it does so well.)

    Again, something that will probably get me flamed for saying, but it is my opinion and only mine, the ps3 just doesn’t have much of it’s own that I’m eagerly awaiting.

    Then again, with the release of Fable 2, and Fallout 3, neither does the 360 at this point, however the back log of games already released for the 360 kinda takes the cake on this one.

    My wii? I traded it for a laptop. Great idea, too much shovelware.

    (On a side note, my PC takes the number one spot most of the time with WOW)

    Don’t flame, I’m only expressing MY opinion.


  • 5 nickNo Gravatar // Nov 17, 2008 at 9:54 pm

    Where do you get your figures from?

    The last time I checked (months ago) Ps3 was at 15m sales, and 360 was at 20m, And I would bet my penis that I am correct.

    What the hell, man??

  • 6 Derrick SchommerNo Gravatar // Nov 17, 2008 at 10:36 pm

    These are North American statistics, accumulate internationally will increase all numbers – correct.

  • 7 omgNo Gravatar // Nov 18, 2008 at 12:08 am

    oh north america only? i was wondering where you got these numbers. dont write any more articles, thanks for trying.

  • 8 wait a secNo Gravatar // Nov 18, 2008 at 12:16 am

    if the ps3 sold 15 mill and the xbox 360 sold 20 mil in the states alone then how is it possible that on the internationel chart the number of millions for the ps3 is 6 and the xbox 360 is 12?

    and how is the gap bigger when the ps3 is outselling the xbox 360 in europe and japan?

  • 9 Axe99No Gravatar // Nov 18, 2008 at 12:48 am

    Derrick – in one of your comments, you state “if you shift the PS3 sales figures one year ahead and assume a perfect linear increase it still wouldn’t come close to the other consoles.” This just isn’t true, from the charts you present above. Yes, it wouldn’t come close to the Wii, but the rate of sales for PS3 and Xbox360 (the average gradient of each line – taking the linear approach you suggest above) is pretty much the same, and prior to cutting the X360 price, the PS3 was leading in US sales in 2008. If you’re going to spin the facts, it’s traditional not to present evidence that undermines your argument ;).

  • 10 Derrick SchommerNo Gravatar // Nov 18, 2008 at 8:36 am

    “prior to cutting the X360 price, the PS3 was leading in US sales in 2008.”

    It’s a competitive market, if cutting the price raises your sales figures and makes more units move off the shelves, it sounds like a win to me.

    “how is the gap bigger when the ps3 is outselling the xbox 360 in europe and japan?”

    It doesn’t always win in Japan, as MCV UK put it, “The first time appeared to be a freak one-off; the second a remarkable achievement and the third was simply astonishing – and now Microsoft’s Xbox 360 has outsold Sony’s PS3 for the fourth week in a row in Japan.”


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  • 12 Fernando ReyNo Gravatar // Nov 18, 2008 at 12:13 pm

    Now it makes sense! North american statistics, it had to be that. It’s no suprise really, everyone knows how biased towards the 360 is pretty much everyone there. I guess they gotta take care of their own. Don’t believe me? Read the article on retailers giving a hard time to PS3 owners on N4G or heck watch any PS3 review at gametrailers.com. Could this article be an example on this as well? Speculation, fact manipulation, does it ring a bell? 😉 In anycase no problem dudes, you in the states can keep buying 360s and the rest of us(pretty much the rest of the world) can still get our PS3s maybe even cheaper!

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  • 14 Derrick SchommerNo Gravatar // Nov 18, 2008 at 3:29 pm

    In case it wasn’t obvious this is an American website, it is. 🙂 So, expect some US figures.

    Sony may be winning in Europe (as of October Sony says they are) but, since statistics are not available for sales figures in every European country it’s up to people (like Sony) to say who is winning and who isn’t. I doubt they’d announce they were losing, that would make for a lackluster announcement.

    Thus, based on trends and the size of the US market, having some facts and figures from a source the collects them (such as the NPD) it give some indications. Europe may choose PS3 over 360 and even win in unit sales for a half a year or more, that doesn’t make them a winner when they’re so far away from the 360 in US markets and, lately, Japan.

    Granted, if you want to slant your view towards the PS3 you can – just reporting statistics from the NPD and Deutsche Bank – if you don’t like the facts and figures they’ve come up with, don’t blame me. 🙂

  • 15 David MacphailNo Gravatar // Nov 18, 2008 at 4:09 pm

    I’m just wondering how long it’s going to take everyone to realise that once the PS3 comes down to the Wii/360 price point (May take a while) it will fly off the shelves and become a better seller than even the PS2.

    Face facts, the PS3 has better games, better online (And free too), it doubles as a Blu – Ray player/media centre and it has Wi – Fi already built – in.

    It’s obvious that in times when cash is tight, people are going to opt for the cheaper forms of entertainment…..if you go out and pay £129.99 for a games console you can expect a faulty piece of crap with no exclusive games, a 100% failure rate and an online service constantly suffering from disconnecftion issues.

    If you were able to bet money on theese console races i would bet everything i own on the PS3 (even my PS3). Let’s just hope that Home doesn’t get delayed any more and no more huge exclusive games are lost (I swear if Final Fantasy Versus XIII goes multiplatform i’m going to send Square Enix a letterbomb).

    I know the 360 fanboys won’t appreciate this but if you take into account the HUGE impact the recent price drop of the 360 had on sales (Up 500% in Japan) it’s perfectly logical. No – one is going to buy an inferior console if they can get one that works for nearly the same price.

  • 16 Fernando ReyNo Gravatar // Nov 18, 2008 at 4:12 pm

    I just was surprised to see those numbers in the whole world and stated so. Specialy with sony lately gaining up on the 360 at least(not last), how long that will last is beyond me. But regardless of that, if it was not clear enough in my first post, i just wanted to make 3 points: first NUMBERS LIE and if you don’t know how then don’t ask! 😉 Secondly US is not the world and as such, can not be used as a fool proof comparison point between consoles. And last but not least, these numbers are product of all the screw ups of Sony on the PS3(too numerous to count) yes; but they are also due to EXTEMELY prejudice most US retailers, reviewers, you name it have against it. The rest of the world is thanksfully free of that. Regarding the NPD, i don’t know why you can simply use Sony’s and Microsoft’s numbers and that’s it. If they are both lieyng, then may the best lier win! 😛 Finaly regarding this being an US site, first i didn’t know nor i ought to know that and secondly it shouldn’t even matter. If the title said “who is wining bla bla bla IN THE US” then YES it would mater, but that is not the case. It goes without saying that just because this is an english speaking site, it doesn’t mean it’s US based. Well that’s it, those were my 2 cents on your article; all i had on me at the moment! 😀 Thanks for your time.

  • 17 Derrick SchommerNo Gravatar // Nov 18, 2008 at 4:48 pm

    @David: A lot relies on price point, I agree wholeheartedly – which is why everyone was angry when Sony did not announce price cuts for the holidays. This isn’t a race to see who has the “best console” it’s a race on units sold and those with lower prices sell more units if the product is high enough quality and has enough value to be so.

    @Fernando: Sorry for not stating “US” in the topic, I was unaware I was going to have a rush of non-US people hitting the post overnight, it was simply an observation on the figures.

    I simply don’t see this prejudice you’re talking about, most reviews of Sony’s great games get great scores. Retailers sell them just like they sell anything else. It comes down to the library for me and many others. We’re looking for the best games _now_ and want to play them _today_. That’s just not been Sony this generation — look back at the PS2, the US ate that product up as it had the best library of titles and the most momentum. This generation, Microsoft got the leg up and put out tons of games early with a huge library of titles.

    I want the PS3 to do better if for any reason, so that they can get more developers pushing out awesome games for it. I just don’t see those awesome games here in the States. Out of the entire library of PS3 games there might be three I’d be interested in buying (more like two). I’d buy a console for two games if the cost was low enough. Until then, I’m not going to spend a ton of money to play two video games when I can get other distractions to play on the 360 and PC.

    It’s a domino effect, if Sony generates a set of five top tier games that convince me to buy a PS3 today then I’d have it for future games as they arrive. However, if you own a 360 and can get GTA IV and other games on both, why spend extra cash for the PS3? I’m into the experience, not the “best graphics in the business” so that argument won’t work. I also don’t care about Blu-ray and all the media that goes along with the PS3; I’m a gamer, I want games and that’s what drives me to buy a _game_ console.

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