PS3 Sales Tumble with Wii’s
Whatever reason NPD had for keeping hardware and software units sold confidential has ended up rather pointless with industry analysts subsequently reporting the numbers right afterwards. But thank goodness for those analysts, or else we wouldn’t have known the console sales for all of the big three.
December 2010 console sales in North America overall were down 16 percent year-over-year. Wii secured first place, as we know, with 2.3 million consoles sold. Xbox 360, bolstered by the release of Kinect, was in second place with 1.9 million consoles sold, a 42 percent increase year-over-year. PS3 hardware sales fell 11 percent year-over-year to only 1.21 million units sold, even with the added bonus of 3D capable games (using shutter glasses and a 3D tv, of course) and the new Move controller. That may put Sony in an unfortunate position, but Nintendo’s actually the worse for wear: while in first place, Wii’s hardware sales were down 38 percent year-over-year– over three times as worse as Sony’s decline.
Failure was not isolated, however: all console and software sales for December 2010 were down 9 percent year-over-year, at $5.06 billion. Sales for the year overall were also down 6 percent at $18.58 billion.
Early 2011 Sales Projections: Thumbs Down, Expect Console Price Cuts
After the disappointing numbers of 2010, video game industry analysts Michael Pachter and Evan Wilson both predicted no rebound in sight for the first few months of 2011, though 3DS may turn the stagnant and falling sales numbers around more than 360’s Kinect has so far.
In a statement for his employer Pacific Crest, Wilson wrote that even with Kinect, 360’s improved sales would not offset the drops in sales of Nintendo’s and Sony’s handheld and console machines.
Pachter added to his statements that with 3DS and potentially PSP2’s releases turning things around later this year, all three home consoles should also see price cuts this year, starting with Sony’s PS3 getting a $50 discount. Pachter is known for predicting price cuts– the Wii was due for one many months, if not years in advance of its first drop, if you were to go by Pachter’s initial estimates.
Respawn Almost Signed with THQ
After Call of Duty developer Infinity Ward’s founders Jason West and Vince Zampella were fired by parent company Activision for insubordination, their subsequent actions were heavily watched and predicted. When they revealed they’d started a new development company named Respawn, with lawsuit-revealed suitors Electronic Arts Partners handling publishing duties, the scenario seemed cut and dry: the competition offered a sweet deal, and the talent fled the coop.
Yet imagine if Respawn partnered with THQ for publishing? As the newly-rebranded developer enjoys extra attention from its logo update announcement, THQ vice president Danny Bilson told Wired.com that EA was just one of many publishers Respawn was considering and THQ would have locked Respawn down, if only THQ agreed to not take ownership of any new IPs made by Respawn. For West and Zampella, such IP ownership relinquishment was a deal breaker, since the founders were nervous that’d repeat the scenario that had happened with Call of Duty and Activision. Bilson, meanwhile acknowledged that giving West and Zampella this leeway may have resulted in similar “we want to own our IPs” requests from its existing in-house developers.
Everything’s fine in the meantime. West and Zampella get to make the game they like, and THQ’s still delivering us great titles on Wii like de Blob 2.