Sony gets more aggressive, sets 150 million unit target for PS3

Posted by Wolfgang Gruener

Chicago (IL) – After a very rocky start, Sony is now much more optimistic about the sales potential of its game console: Sony hopes the PS3 will outsell the PS2 eventually.

Last month was a key event for Sony. For the first time, U.S. PS3 sales exceeded Xbox 360 by a far margin – 405,500 units vs. 219.800 units. If Sony can keep this volume, it not only sits right in the middle between the Xbox 360 and the Wii, which sold 666,700 systems, it may also become the success story it was envisioned to be.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Sony Computer Entertainment’s Kazuo Hirai said that the current success has made Sony optimistic enough to set the goal beyond the PS2. “It’s not fun for me replicating the PS2 numbers. I’ve seen that movie already,” Hirai said I want to try to see if we can exceed the PS2 numbers after nine years, otherwise why are we in this business?”  

According to Sony’s fiscal year 2007 report, the PS2 has sold 131.6 million units since its introduction in 2000. According to a Sony announcement made at E3, actual sales have now exceeded 140 million units over its 9-year production run. The original Playstation sold 102.49 million units between 1994 and 2006. Hirai hinted that Sony’s goal with the PS3 over 9 years will be about 150 million units, which means that sales will have to increase dramatically from the company’s current pace of 9.24 million units per year. Sony said that it had sold 12.81 million PS3s until March 31 of this year.

To us, this sounds like an ambitious goal and perhaps one that cannot be achieved unless Sony will find a way to conquer new gamer crowds and application areas for its PS3. Compared to the production time of the PS2, the company had virtually no competition and certainly not a dominating competitor such as the Nintendo Wii, which some market watchers believe to account for at least half of the video gaming market within a few years. And then there is Microsoft’s Xbox 360, which is currently losing ground and potentially exposed to a few not-so-great decisions made by Microsoft, including a fee-based offering of Netflix, but it is unlikely that Microsoft will just watch how Sony is gaining market share.

The Xbox 360 is at the time where Microsoft can and will have to afford further price cuts and investments into its gaming community. If that is the case, the PS3’s 150 million unit goal may be a tough one to achieve.