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Are PS3 sales figures really that bad?

Submitted by on Thursday, 29 January 20092 Comments

sony_playstation_31A lot has been written about the PS3’s ‘weak’ sales and the never-ending (it seems) battle with Microsoft’s Xbox 360.

Some of what is written is sheer fiction. Some of it is funny. Some of it makes you shout OMGWTFSTFUBBQ!

But what are the facts? Armed with some interesting new details from our friends at Gamezine, and a smattering of our own research, we take a deeper look…

Gamezine’s figures show that in 2008, the PS3 and the Xbox 360 basically sold the same amount of consoles. According to Gamezine’s figures, which are taken from each corporation’s own sales announcements, the PlayStation 3 sold 10.77 million units in 2008 whereas the Xbox 360 sold 10.8 million units in the same period.

Unfortunately for Sony, the PS3 didn’t do as well in the period from October to December 2008, selling less units than they did in the same period in 2007, so not everything is rosy in the garden.

But if we look at sales since launch, and look at how much longer the Xbox 360 has been on the market, the PS3 has still maintained a higher growth trend than the 360. With over 21 million units sold in 116 weeks the PS3 is growing at a better rate than the X360 with over 28 million units in 166 weeks.

Interestingly, the PS2 continues to sell well and the growth rate of that console puts both the PS3 and X360 to shame. But the PS2 will also be the PS3’s saving grace, especially as the current-gen is now the lead unit for Sony.

The original Xbox, you see, only sold 24 million units worldwide across its entire lifespan. The PS2, on the other hand, has sold more than 124 million units and this number is still growing.

Whenever you sell your hardware to a client, you are always looking at the ‘churn percentage’ – i.e. how many existing customers will upgrade to the next unit. Theoretically, a high percentage of Xbox owners have already done this, since current sales of the 360 are greater than the original Xbox.

But there are still millions of PS2 owners who will, at some point, upgrade to the PlayStation 3. Sony’s 10-year policy for their consoles works well in this respect, and that is why the doomsayers are at odds with professional analysts who understand, concur and make predictions that the PS3 will do just fine in the future.

Agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comments…