Super Fun Sales Chat 2013!

So the November NPDs have come in and the results have some interesting implications and give a bit of a clearer picture of what each company’s current strategy is.  Sony certainly coveted North America enough to secure the top spot but have resigned themselves to demand outstripping supply so they could take the rest of the world as well.  Microsoft clearly has designs on not letting the United States slip away and have flooded retail since the launch.  It wasn’t good enough to catch up in November, giving the PS4 a solid 200k+ lead going into December but with the Xbox One available nearly everywhere and the PS4 available almost nowhere it’s hard to believe that Sony will be the victor in December in North America. I think this should also put to rest the rumor that many people believed, myself included, that MS was having yield issues.  Their console output has been extremely strong.

Both of these strategies make sense to me.  Microsoft wants to sell services and they are going to do sell a helluva lot more NFL subscriptions in the US than it is in Taiwan.  Sony is games-games-game, a message that resonates world-wide, and they want to get their foot in the door EVERYWHERE.  I expect we will get Sony’s next world-wide total after their launch in Asia which should see them sell out the allotted 500k in the first day or two.  This number will show a pretty strong lead for the PS4 around the globe.

But as I said before, I personally expect Microsoft to take NA in December.  Some will point to NA even being close as a loss for Microsoft, but I tend to think of each generation as a reset – past performance does not mean you are guaranteed future success.  The PS2 was the best-selling console of all time.  The PS3 struggled mightily for years.  It being basically a tie in NA at new years, with strong sales for both consoles, is good for everyone involved.  Competition will ensure there isn’t complacency.

I don’t think Microsoft is out of the woods yet though.  Demand for the PS4 is obviously outstripping supply.  Supply will catch up, there’s no doubt about that – the question is when.  And if Microsoft, who has basically decided that their entire ballgame is NA and the UK, start falling behind in those markets plus being outright dominated world-wide… they will have to spend A LOT of money to get developers on board for exclusives.  That’s a big if though.  I personally don’t see Microsoft trying to win consoles sold as much as they are trying to win money-made.  Their focus on the US and UK may make them seem far behind but if people are buying games in those territories and buying XBLG, buying TV/Movies/NFL/etc…. I think MS will be perfectly happy.  There is room in the market for both of these approaches and as of now it seems fairly even.  Sony will take a strong lead in world-wide sales but I don’t think Microsoft is scrambling.  Yet.

In other news, the Wii U is going to have to go FULL VITA and carve a niche and hope that niche can keep it afloat.  The numbers weren’t as bad as Pachter predicted but they were about 1/3 of the Xbox 360.  Mario did not save the Wii U.  Personally I’d love to see it become the “HD remake Machine” and play upressed classics which would be cheap for them and possibly move some units.  The 3DS is doing OK in North America but it’s pretty clear the west just does not care about handhelds like they used to.  The Vita is holding on for dear life.  The numbers are not good.  They are, in fact, awful.  But strong digital software sales will keep Sony supporting it for the foreseeable future.  While the world at large waits for the Vita to die… everyone I talk to at Sony say they still have long-term plans for the device that haven’t deviated at all.  Hopefully the Wii U can find a similar space where they can make some money without having a huge install base.

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6 thoughts on “Super Fun Sales Chat 2013!

  1. If you mean people don’t like handhelds anymore like they once did the DS, yeah I think that’s a given. The Brain Training audience has tablets and phones now. I feel pretty strongly the trend we’re seeing is the 3DS is to the DS what the GBA was to the original GameBoy. That didn’t really catch the casual market like the old black and white brick did with Tetris, either. But damn if it wasn’t a fine handheld with some classic games and pretty great sales. I’m not too worried.

    As for Wii U…well to your point they already HAVE a niche. It’s called Nintendo fans. It puts them in a good position to coast through the bad times. It might even be a good thing for them to cut back on mass market appeal a little bit in their console stuff and try new things. The GameCube days were crazy. I wouldn’t mind having them back. As long as there is good software (and it seems like tons of indie developers love the console, just like Vita) I’m happy enough. Most consoles sold is nice, but it’s not always important to most of us.

    • Oh, and I forgot one thing. The number of consoles sold seems to obsess a lot of people, but these same people gloss over that the Wii won last generation in numbers. That didn’t make them care any more about the system. It’s kind of funny when you think that, in the minds of the Internet gaming community anyway, whether Nintendo was in first or last place the conversation never includes them. It’s always been Sony vs. Microsoft. Probably because the things Nintendo does are so hard to compare directly. I’m fine with that.

  2. “Sony is games-games-game, a message that resonates world-wide, and they want to get their foot in the door EVERYWHERE.”

    But where are Sony’s AAA exclusives? It has been the hype all along that the PS4 is supposedly the best gaming machine. As computer engineer I would say that is debatable, the Xbox One certainly doesn’t have the number of CU’s in the gpu that the PS4 has but then again it has far more dedicated processors doing work for it that the PS4 has to do with the gpu and potentially as many as 4 cu’s are restricted from use for graphics in the PS4. Memory architecture is different also with the Xbox One actually having a higher total bandwidth and lower latency that is than the PS4’s GDDR5. At the end of the day once MS gets their development software optimized and the developers learn the more complex architecture you will see that graphically they will both be very close to the same.

    But once again where are the PS4 AAA’s? They have nothing in 2014 to compete with TitanFall, Halo 5, or Quantum Break. I know they have a few exclusives but nothing that will sell like those games. So the supposed gaming console does not have the games and can’t do the other stuff as well or not at all.

    I agree that the PS4 will take the early lead globally but NA is the biggest single market (thus the most important financially) and if the Sony does not produce some exclusive console sellers like TitanFall, Halo, and Quantum Break they could see their early small lead disappear in a couple of years.

    • I agree with your point that Sony needs to start showing more games. They have them coming… obviosuly, it’s not like they have all their studios making Vita games – LOL – but they have been quiet to talk about much past launch.

      Titanfall is the best exclusive of ’14 IMO, big get by MS. I think inFamous, coming the same month, will be close to it in sales (talking XB1 version of TF only vs inFamous) but, yeah, Titanfall is huge. As for Quantum Break… I CANNOT WAIT to play that. I love Remedy. But if you also love remedy there’s two things you already know… they delay-delay-delay, and the games are niche. They are basically Microsoft’s Quantic Dream.

      Uncharted vs Halo in the fall will be fun. Halo is historically the bigger title but Halo 4 failed to impress. But if 343 comes with something big… it will be a huge holiday for them.

      As for your tech analysis I can’t really argue against it other than to say that every dev I talk to disagrees… including ones that are working on XB1 exclusives. It’s not as powerful as a PS4 and more mature tools won’t close the gap. This is from them, not me.

      But it will be a fun year. And a good competition means that we, the consumers, are the winners 🙂 Thanks for the comment.

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