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Microsoft resets finish line to 100 million after winning the 10 million unit dash

According to the latest NPD console sales numbers, Microsoft holds the lead in terms of total current-generation console sales in the U.S. with 10 million Xbox 360 sold. Microsoft touted this number as being particularly significant as it believes the first to this milestone wins the generation overall.

“This year will be the largest in the history of the video game industry, with Xbox 360 leading the charge in the U.S. and abroad,” said Don Mattrick, senior vice president of the Interactive Entertainment Business in the Entertainment and Devices Division at Microsoft. “History has shown us that the first company to reach 10 million in console sales wins the generation battle. We are uniquely positioned to set a new benchmark for the industry.”

More than 19 million Xbox 360 consoles have sold worldwide – a number already eclipsed by the Nintendo Wii on the global scale with 25 million total units sold. The Wii with 8.8 million in the U.S. is also rapidly gaining on Xbox 360 and is selling at a quicker pace, despite having launched a year after Microsoft’s console. The PlayStation 3 has sold 4.1 million in the U.S., with a total of more than 12 million worldwide.

One area that the Xbox 360 is the undisputed leader in is the online space, where there are currently more than 12 million Xbox Live subscribers.

“Perhaps more important is the Xbox 360 worldwide online base – 12 million Xbox Live gamers is the largest community in the connected console games sector, which represents the greatest growth opportunity in the console market and where Microsoft has been the leader for two generations,” commented Billy Pidgeon, research manager at IDC.

With the 10 million mark under its belt, Microsoft appears to now be resetting the finish line at 100 million. Microsoft Games Studios corporate VP Shane Kim said in a Wired|Game|Life interview that the console war will finally be decided “When somebody's well on their way to reaching 100 million units.”

Microsoft may have a problem reaching the 100 million mark ahead of its competitors if the Japanese market isn’t buying the Xbox 360, where the console has yet to sell 1 million units. “Well, we've always known that we weren't going to win in Japan, right?,” Kim replied. “And I think we can build a very good business, an exciting business with a pretty big installed base with success in places like North America and Europe. Even though you may not think it's big numbers, we're actually strong in Latin America as well. Canada's been a big market for us as well. So there are ways to get the scale.”

“Now, if you don't get 10 million units in Japan, can you get to 100 million units overall? I'd love to get 90 million units and have that problem. That's what we're really trying to focus on,” Kim added. “I think it's way too early to declare a winner.”

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RE: Yeah right
By michael2k on 5/22/2008 3:56:45 PM , Rating: 1
If you could care less, why don't you?

And "well rounded" games usually take a year or two, so this year for the XBox and PS3 and next year for the Wii. You also discount the Wii if you don't consider Zelda, Metroid, Smash Brothers, Pokemon, and Resident Evil as not mini-ish games.

Who would you call the leader? The one making the most money. Right now that is Nintendo.

You'll be sad when the Wii wins, but at the current rate that is what appears to be happening. MS and Sony ARE selling Lambos and Ferraris, while Nintendo is selling Miatas.

There is no game you can release on the PS3 or XBox that you cannot also release on the Wii if you are willing to scale down the resolution; unfortunately the reverse is not true if you rely on the Wii-mote. You cannot release any Wii-specific games without also releasing a new controller for the XBox 360 or PS3.

RE: Yeah right
By OblivionMage on 5/22/08, Rating: 0
RE: Yeah right
By michael2k on 5/22/2008 4:05:53 PM , Rating: 3
From a shareholder perspective, making the most money means continued development of the platform.

From a developer standpoint, making the most money means staying in business.

So if MS and Sony both make less money than Nintendo, they will have less resources for the next round than Nintendo. Which means when Nintendo releases a HD Wii with built in projector and 3D presence sensor, invalidating the need for controllers or TVs, they win because no one will need anything else, while Sony makes money selling BluRay discs and Microsoft makes money selling arcade games online.

RE: Yeah right
By OblivionMage on 5/22/2008 5:19:59 PM , Rating: 4
Except that Microsoft is a much bigger company then Nintendo, and net losses in their very small (compared to their OS) console entertainment division (Although the 360 is now making money) are much less of a problem then in Nintendo.

The 360 and the PS3 were originally priced to sell consoles, not to make money, whereas the Wii really was priced to make money (And engineered to, reusing/slightly altering many things present in their last-gen console).

RE: Yeah right
By michael2k on 5/22/08, Rating: 0
RE: Yeah right
By OblivionMage on 5/22/08, Rating: 0
RE: Yeah right
By michael2k on 5/22/2008 6:26:49 PM , Rating: 2
The extensive RRoD issues probably eroded all the shine they gained from the XBox endeavor. Last I checked XBox has 1/3 of the installed base, compared to 44% for Nintendo, so yes it has gained them significant marketshare. However it hasn't given them commensurate profits as they are far and away behind Nintendo.

And no, Nintendo can't afford to sell at $130 because they are sold out. They could afford to raise the price $10 and probably still sell out. If that is the case, what is the point of selling a Wii for $130? At least this way they sell out AND make a profit.

RE: Yeah right
By OblivionMage on 5/22/08, Rating: -1
RE: Yeah right
By robinthakur on 5/23/2008 7:11:29 AM , Rating: 1
I think you're grasping at straws here. You seem to imply above that since MS is a bigger company, their name proceeds them and gives people confidence in the hardware and the platform offered. This does to a degree as long as MS are doing well...

The long-running RROD issue, which has not been fixed, merely band-aided with dollar bills, together with their current issues in the OS sector means that there is less money coming in to offset any losses from the console division. Then there is the $1bn write down for the warranty extension. Shareholders will be concerned that the gaming division is costing them more than its worth to MS. Getting your name out there is one thing, but eventually this must be translated into profit, and this has not really happened. This is a division which is pretty much a vanity project by MS to take the PC gaming market away from the PC and stomp its competitors into the ground, powered by cash, and so far, I'm pleased to say this strategy has not worked. This strategy is not good for gaming in general. The problem with taking a market like the pc and transplanting it to the console world is that you have a thin range of genres available on pc. The more diverse types you probably can't comfortably play with a gamepad. You also split the userbase into hardcore and ultra hardcore who refuse to play on consoles and are happy with their tr-SLI, further narrowing the PC gaming market. This means that the 360 primarily appeals to the more hardcore gamers than the mass-market and I don't see this changing. Whenever they try something like Viva Pinata or Blue Dragon which has got mass market appeal, there is a deafening silence when they work out that since the console hasn't sold squat in Japan and the non-hardcore FPS types typically bought the Wii instead, that there isn't a huge target audience. Its a chicken and Egg situation. They have failed in Japan. Failure is a bad smell, and hard to wash off. Ask Sony.

Nintendo meanwhile has probably been storing its cash in huge Godzilla-proof reservoirs somewhere in Osaka and has a more consistent focus on console games and hardware development because that's all they do. The Wii is still sold out pretty much everywhere in the UK and the games as well, mario Kart and Wii Fit in particular are incredibly difficult to find in the shops.

Whilst I think big N might be controlling supply a little, the genuine fact is that the Wii has not lost momentum so far and looks like it will accomplish all it set out to do * infinity. It is genuinely popular. Dev's have barely scratched the surface of what they can do with the Wiimote and I admire Nintendo's dependable focus on making a profit with its hardware. It means that they don't use tech which either is in a immature/expensive state and it means that developers have time to exploit it more if they put in the effort. The PS3 and the Xbox 360 have such hugely different and vastly complex internals, it will take years to fully exploit them and probably longer than their shelf life. Games for them are vastly more expensive to develop and take far longer to see the market. This means that they are a far bigger gamble. Given the Wii's selling substantially better *worldwide* and seemingly to capture the public's imagination, lower RRP for games and the more forgiving nature of the target consumer, i would imagine that its a no brainer to develop for it.

I own all three consoles and am therefore able to argue dispassionately on the current state of play. I held shares in Nintendo since 2003. Cough.

RE: Yeah right
By rubbahbandman on 5/22/2008 6:52:45 PM , Rating: 3
Nintendo doesn't have to drop the Wii's price AT ALL until they start noticing their consoles staying on the shelves for weeks at a time. At the current price the average Wii is sold within a day if not hours upon shipment, so to think they would sell more Wii's by dropping the price is an entirely foolish decision that won't create any additional sales and would result entirely in reducing profit margins.

Without a doubt the Wii is the winner of this console generation in terms of sheer profit and market dominance. Sure, you could argue their games are worse than the Ferrari consoles, but you could also say World of Warcraft sucks, but that doesn't matter since WoW makes more money than small countries with the same going for Nintendo.

Also, in reference to a comment you made above, I believe Microsoft is a much smaller company than Nintendo with regards to the gaming sector. Microsoft may have ~$280 billion market cap versus Nintendo's ~$85 billion, but Nintendo is 100% gaming while Microsoft's gaming department is insignificant compared to the rest of the company. And believe me, Microsoft shareholders will not be happy to see billions more thrown into gaming...

RE: Yeah right
By afkrotch on 5/23/08, Rating: 0
RE: Yeah right
By afkrotch on 5/23/2008 1:22:46 PM , Rating: 3
Who would you call the leader? The one making the most money. Right now that is Nintendo.

Right now, I don't call any of them the leader. It's way to early to declare anyone a winner. The leader is the one to garner the most 3rd party support.

There is no game you can release on the PS3 or XBox that you cannot also release on the Wii if you are willing to scale down the resolution; unfortunately the reverse is not true if you rely on the Wii-mote. You cannot release any Wii-specific games without also releasing a new controller for the XBox 360 or PS3.

GTAIV is a good example of a game that would have to be completely recreated for the Wii, much like all the latest games to grace the 360 and PS3.

With majority of games, they are going for higher graphics. Do you think Crysis, R6 Vegas 2, etc are going to be remade to work on a Geforce 4? Geforce FX? Doubt they will, but that's what you think devs are going to do for the Wii? The thing is essentially running on Gamecube hardware that's been clocked slightly higher. Overclock a Gamecube and you have the Wii hardware.

How many different controllers have you seen released for various consoles? The PS2 probably had the widest variety of controllers out of every single console made. They simply threw the controller in with the game.

If they wanted to port Wii games that required a speciality controller, they'd do it. As of right now, the PS3 has a two types of regular controllers, a remote, guitar, drums, microphone, gun, steering wheel, video cam, standard usb keyboard, standard usb mouse, and who knows what else will show up. Not to mention the multitude of 3rd party hardware to allow the use of PS2 controllers on the PS3.

Either way, if you're gonna waste the time to rewrite a 360/PS3 game for the Wii, why couldn't they waste their time doing it for a Wii game to the 360/PS3?

RE: Yeah right
By Alexstarfire on 5/24/2008 9:04:30 AM , Rating: 2
Perhaps you know something that I don't, but I doubt it'd have to be "recreated" to be on the Wii. Of course, that depends on what you mean by "recreate." If you mean by having to rewrite code.... then DUH. You'd have to do that to port it to any system, including the PC, since none of them have the same hardware. Naturally they'd have to modify the controls, but that can easily be done. Space constrains? Obviously non-existent if it's on the 360 since it and the Wii use DVDs.

In short nothing has changed when it comes to porting games. It's going to be just as hard to convert a 360 game to PS3 as it would the Wii, and likewise convert a Wii game to the 360 or PS3.

"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997

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