When the three-way race between the video game consoles started during 2006, the Nintendo Wii was dominating the Microsoft Xbox 360 and Sony PlayStation 3. The motion capture gameplay of the Wii was a hit among many target markets including families.
But the game has totally changed. With the bevy of excellent game titles, the Microsoft Xbox 360 is now dominating video game sales in 2012. Previously, the Xbox 360 has only been winning the console market battle in the United States of America. But now, this video game platform is now the top-selling home console in the whole world.
6 The Surge of Microsoft Xbox 360
Microsoft reported that the Xbox 360 sold over 8.2 million units during the holiday quarter. Sony PlayStation 3 sold over 6.5 million units and the Nintendo Wii is now in last place with only 5.6 million units worldwide.
Since 2006, this was the first time the Xbox 360 took a sizable lead. For the entire year of 2011, the Microsoft Xbox 360 has sold over 14.9 million units globally compared to the 14.1 million units of the PS3 and 10.33 million units of the Wii.
Microsoft’s sudden surge can be attributed to the groundbreaking Kinect motion sensor peripheral that expands the Xbox 360 into a home entertainment device. Microsoft improved the same motion sensing technology that made the Wii a famous console. But instead of holding onto a controller, gamers need only to move their hands and the Kinect peripheral will already understand the movement.
In spite of this, Nintendo still maintains its lead for the cumulative units of sold consoles. Nintendo has over 95 million Wiis worldwide. The disparity is high, considering that the Xbox 360 only has 66 million units while the PS3 has 62 million units.
5 June 2012 NPD Sales
The NPD group has always been the barometer in measuring the performances of video game consoles. But they have since restricted their data, giving analysts with only glimpses of the recent performances of video game consoles
In June, Nintendo sold more than 400,000 units with about 155,000 Nintendo 3DS systems, 150,000 Nintendo DS units and 95,000 Wii consoles.
Microsoft Xbox 360 remains a popular choice with a 47% share in the sale of home video game consoles. Reportedly, Microsoft sold 257,000 Xbox 260 units for June 2012.
Sony was not as revealing with its figures but insider analysts peg a sale of 195,000 PS3 units.
4 Implications of the NPD Figures
The heyday of the Nintendo Wii has long gone. The latest figures from NPD indicate a 65% drop in Wii units but this was expected with the upcoming release of the new Wii U.
This is the first time I can remember of the Wii numbers dropping below the 100k mark, but the 65% drop from the same time last year was probably not unexpected, considering how close the Wii U is to retail.
Microsoft is building on its momentum by securing the top sales position for 18 months in a row. There are worries that a decline may come in the coming months as a response to the Nintendo Wii U. But analysts believe that Microsoft will continue to post strong sales.
Although the Sony PlayStation 3 is not dominating sales with overwhelming numbers, it is a picture of consistency with no sudden decline in sales. However, it may not be able to leapfrog the sales of Microsoft Xbox 360 unless this console is retired early or Sony introduces a groundbreaking technology.
3 Performance of Handheld Units
The NPD June 2012 figures also released information about the sales of the handheld versions of these video game brands. The Nintendo 3DS has sold an estimated 155,000 units and even the Nintendo DS has a respectable 150,000. Sony’s PS Vita and PSP have had disappointing sales of 100,000 units so far.
The PS Vita wanted to cater to casual and hardcore gamers alike. The low sales indicate that they failed to appeal to either of these two target markets. The upcoming holiday period is a decisive time for the PS Vita to gain momentum with its sales.
2 Top Video Game Titles
Video games propel the success of home gaming consoles. The sales of gaming titles are not as overwhelming in the past. In fact, the top title Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes have only sold 450,000 copies so far.
The strong performance of the Pokemon Conquest game has also helped drive more sales for the Nintendo DS. The PSP Vita has no similar exclusive video game franchise, a possible reason why its sales are disappointing.
With the exception of Pokemon Conquest, most of these video game titles are multiple platform games and are usually compatible with the Microsoft Xbox 360 and Sony PlayStation 3. Diablo 3 remains the only game exclusive to PC to post successful results.
1 Future of Video Games: Fearless Forecast
While Nintendo has unveiled Wii U, Microsoft and Sony are not spilling any beans about their future plans for their home gaming consoles. Rumors are persistent that the Microsoft Xbox 720 and Sony PlayStation 4 are in development. Some gaming analysts are not excited about these new consoles. They may feature higher processing powers but there is legitimate concern that consoles are hitting the point of diminishing returns.
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