According to the just released January NPD sales numbers, the Xbox 360 has come in a disappointing third place in the console wars, only managing to sell 230,000 consoles while the PS3 moved 269,000 and the Wii sold 274,000. But before you storm the streets in a fit of rage, know that there is some sort of explanation for the third place outing ... there wasn't enough stock. You see, according to Microsoft, they haven't been able to replenish the retail channels quick enough post holidays, resulting in less Xbox 360s on shelves and less 360s available to consumers. So, if that theory makes you sleep better at night, then go with that and know Microsoft is producing 360s as fast as possible and should regain its sales lead over the PS3 come February NPD. Hopefully.
We also wanted to mention that not only has Call of Duty 4 claimed the number one sales spot selling another 330,900 copies in January, but Rock Band made its top ten NPD sales debut too. You can review the rather gloomy NPD ranks and numbers after the break, though we advise keeping one thing in mind. It was lack of stock at retail ... lack of stock at retail ...
After weeks of reports that Xbox 360s were nowhere to be found in the United States -- we've been discussing it on the Fancast for about a month now -- Microsoft has finally owned up to it. Speaking to Reuters, Microsoft's head of global marketing and comedian extraordinaire Jeff Bell cleared the air saying, "you could say we misjudged demand." Bell noted that many retailers have no stock at all, and in fact are dismayed by the state of affairs. Bell even says that 360 sales are likely to see a dip for January and possibly February, but he expects that Microsoft will be able to meet demand as spring approaches. We won't have to wait too long to find out just how much the shortage affected Microsoft's sales either, as NPD numbers are expected to drop later today. You can bet we'll be here to report them when they do.
For the moment, at least, it seems that any rumors of a new 360 model (or a new SKU entirely) have been put to rest.
Speaking at an event in London yesterday, EA executive producer Glen Schofield assured gamers that the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of Dead Space will be identical. "The plan has to be, and it will be, on parity with the 360," said Schofield, responding to a question about any potential differences between the two versions. When asked about the challenges of multiplatform development, Schofield responded that it was "difficult." He added, however, that while development thus far has been lead on the Xbox 360 version of the game, the team plans to shift to the PS3 as the lead platform within "a month or two." Schofield noted that one of the reasons that multiplatform games often look better on 360 (something seen in several EA games) is that developers have had more time with the 360 and also that the PS3 does present several difficulties. "It's a beautiful machine and it is very powerful. It's just it's not as easy to develop for right now," said Schofield. He assures gamers, however, that the 360 version of Dead Space won't be "gimped" because of programming difficulties presented by the PS3. Let's hope not.
[Thanks, marklar. Via Ars Technica]
EA released their 2008 hardware sales estimates saying that the Wii (not surprisingly) is predicted to outsell all consoles, but EA's second place prediction is what has our heads confused. In Europe alone EA believes the PS3 will move 5-6 million consoles while the 360 only sells a measly 1.5-2.5 million units. EA goes on to predict that North American sales of the two consoles should be equal and, after the dust settles, worldwide sales in 2008 should put the PS3 at 9.5-11.5 million while the Xbox 360 will only manage 6-8 million. Either EA is smoking a lot of illegal drugs, simply decided to agree with Sony or they've gone off the deep end, because we do not see the 360's 2008 hardware sales to be that bleak. Eesh, eesh, eesh.
As part of their second quarter fiscal report, Microsoft revealed that sales from their Xbox 360 and Zune division rose three percent to $3.06 billion and was able to turn a profit. A profit of $357 million. Seeing a profit that high is in stark contrast with last year's financial numbers which saw the division losing $302 million. So, in effect, the Xbox 360 was able to reverse its losses and go up $650 million year over year. Not bad, especially for a Microsoft division that never saw a dime of profit in the original Xbox days. Congrats!
You may recall when Bungie leaving Microsoft was only a rumor. You may also recall most of the internet calling the source of this rumor as crazy. You may also also recall that the source was soon vindicated while the rest of the internet (including us) were made to look like gibbering idiots. All of this recalling is being done in order to reveal the following: the same site -- 8Bit Joystick -- is now reporting that an inside source at Microsoft has uncovered the ultimate reason behind the Xbox 360's egregiously high failure rate.
The truth behind the Red Ring of Death, says the anonymous source, is that Microsoft rushed the Xbox 360 in order to beat Sony's Playstation 3 to market. This ambition led to lackluster quality assurance and not nearly enough product testing, and the result -- as many 360 gamers will tell you - was disastrous. Furthermore, the source notes that there is no single culprit for failures, but rather a group of faults that can lead to an RROD. Whether it be substandard heat sinks, bad solder joints, or even bad chips, a myriad of issues can lead to hardware failure.
Is it all true? It's certainly not out of the question that MS may have rushed the 360 in order to beat Sony. After all, even with the 360's very real hardware issues, it currently enjoys a healthy lead over the Playstation 3. One thing we can be relatively sure of: Microsoft isn't about to confirm the veracity of the interview either way.
The Xbox 360 sold 1.26 million consoles (wowzaz!) in December, barely trailing the Wii's 1.35 million, but completely dominating the PS3's 797.6K. But that isn't all friends, because the December NPD brings the added benefit of recapping what 2007's total sales were as well. And in 2007, the Xbox 360 made us proud selling 4.62 million consoles, with the Wii selling 6.29 million and the PS3 only managing to move 2.56 million. It should also be noted that the 360 leads in lifetime sales with 9.15 million units. Just saying.
Onto the software side of things, last December Call of Duty 4 on the 360 took the number one spot with 1.47 million copies, while Assassin's fell into number five (893.7K), Halo 3 at number six (742.7K) and GHIII at number nine (624.6K). Sorry kids, no Rock Band. And we're very proud to say that Halo 3 is the number one selling game of all platforms in 2007, moving a respectable 4.82 million copies, just edging out Wii Play's 4.12 million.
Our heads hurt, so feel free to click towards the break and look over the complete listings of December and 2007's hardware and software sales in list form. Remember, numbers are fun!
According to simExchange's predictions, they believe the Xbox 360 sold 1.45 million consoles in December with the Wii moving 1.73 million and the PS3 selling 854,000 consoles. And if their estimates are correct, then we must give the 360 a pat on the back for keeping its distance from the PS3 and closing the gap on Wii sales, even if there were "shortages". Continuing our look into the simExchange's crystal ball of December sales we see that over 1 million copies of Call of Duty 4 on the 360 were sold and over 500,000 copies of Mass Effect flew off shelves. Overall, it is predicted that the industry as a whole will see a sales record in December with $2.48 billion in software sales. Make the jump to read simExchange's December video game sales predictions as well as their optimistic view on the PS3 and Blu-ray. You know, because Blu-ray is teh hawtness right now.
Do you live in the United States? Do you own an Xbox 360? If you answered yes to both of these questions, there's about a 1-in-2 chance that you own Halo 3. At least, that's what GameDaily says. How do they know this? Elementary, dear reader. With an Xbox 360 installed base of 7.9 million units in the US and 4.1 million copies of Halo 3 sold in the US, that's an impressive 52% of US 360 owners with a copy of their very own. Furthermore, Halo 3 had a profound effect on console sales. As analyst Anita Frazier noted, "That is why content is so important - a really killer game drives hardware adoption more than any other factor (including price cuts)." So, for the record, if anyone asks you, Halo 3 is the most successful thing ever.
Hit the "read" link for the full interview, which also discusses Games for Windows, Xbox Live, and Mattrick's humble beginnings.
Author's note: the above article is written in a sarcastic tone. For maximum entertainment value (of which X3F provides the best), please read the article with this in mind. Also, we kid Don Mattrick, we kid!