Xbox 360 and Wii show sharp sales gains, PS3 may be in trouble

  • Chicago (IL) – Microsoft and Nintendo saw substantial upticks in their console shipments in October, while Sony experienced another drop and the lowest results since April of this year, according to market estimates released by market research firm NPD. While Nintendo’s Wii continues to draw from strong Wii Fit shipments, Xbox 360 sales were boosted by a strong launch of the release of Fable II. Sony had no Top 5 game title in October and it seems that the PS3 will need some support sooner or later.

    According to NPD, about 803,000 Wiis were sold during October, capturing a 59% market share during the month. The Xbox 360 followed with 371,000 units and a 27% share, while the PS3 crossed the finish line with 190,000 units and 14% share. Total game console sales for October were 1,364,000, up from 1,266,600 in September and up from 1,006,000 in October 2007.

    Shipments surpass 30 million units

    If NPD’s numbers are correct, than game console sales are still going strong, despite a troubled economy. Combined shipments of the Wii, Xbox 360 and PS3 stood at 30,774,000 at the end of October. The Wii is leading the pack with 13,506,000 units, followed by the Xbox 360 with 11,584,000 and the PS3 with 5,684,000 units.

    The impact of games

    What is somewhat surprising is that the aging Xbox 360 still outsells the PS3 by a substantial margin and Sony has not found a recipe to tackle the Xbox 360 successfully yet. It is apparent that strong game titles heavily impact console sales: The best selling title in October was Fable II for the Xbox 360 with 790,000 units, followed by Wii Fit with 487,000 units and Fallout 3 for the Xbox 360 with 375,000 units. The best selling game title for the PS3 came in at position 7 and was Socom: U.S. Navy Seals Confrontation with 231,000 units. The Xbox 360 had five titles among the top 10, the Wii three and the PS3 two.     

    In terms of market share, the PS3 is not at an 11 month low. It is somewhat apparent now, that the presence of a Blu-ray drive will not be able to save the PS3 and the delay of the Home network does not help either. The recently announced system upgrades, which were countered by Xbox 360 price drops, seemed to have evaporated as well and showed virtually no effect for Sony.