Sony and Microsoft Switch Places?
Early in this generation of consoles, Sony was quickly accused of "arrogance". Here's a couple of quotes to remind you:
"[The PS3 is] for consumers to think to themselves ‘I will work more hours to buy one’. We want people to feel that they want it, irrespective of anything else" [Ken Kutaragi]
"Next-gen starts with us" [Kaz Hirai]
But it seems that recently, Sony and Microsoft have switched places. Since then Sony have kept relatively quiet, whilst Microsoft representatives have continued to insult Sony as a business on a regular basis. But they've never been accused of arrogance, even though there are a mountain of Anti-Sony interviews from Microsoft representatives, but not so many Anti-Microsoft interviews.
So how has Microsoft created a huge problem for themselves? In a recent interview Microsoft representative, Aaron Greenberg was firstly quoted as saying:
"You can't underestimate that we're half the price of the PS3 at a time when consumers were looking for great value, the PS3 was down in February two percent even with the launch of Killzone 2 -- that's months of year-over-year declines. Xbox continues to head north while the PS3 is heading south. We're gaining share."
Again talking the PS3 down, as usual, but this time he mentioned that Killzone 2 did not push sales of the PS3. He neglects to mention that Killzone 2 was only on sale for 2 days
, and a full month will be needed to see how effective Killzone 2 is as a system seller. It is also worth mentioning that Killzone 2 was number 5 in the sales rank, even though it had only been available for 2 days. The PS3 also shifted a significant number of copies of Street Fighter 4, just 43,000 copies less than the Xbox 360 version, even though the Xbox 360 install base in North America outnumbers the PS3 install base more than 2:1. He went on to say:
"But what we hear from our partners is that it's not just PS3, it's also PS2 down 62 percent year over year, with that business declining, and with the PS3 business declining, it's been described to me as hemorrhaging at retail right now, and it just keeps getting worse."
The NPD only covers North America, Microsoft's home territory. The PS3 outsold the Xbox 360 in this territory for about 8 months of last year at Xbox 360's $299 price-point, Sony know what they need to do to sell consoles in North America, a price cut. Even with the Xbox 360 at half the price of the cheapest available PS3, it only managed to outsell the PS3 by 115,000 units. Sony has also been adamant this generation, that they are focusing on profitability.
Xbox 360 managed to sell 391,000 units; the majority of consumers buy the arcade version at $199. This means Microsoft made a gross profit of $77,809,000. The PS3 managed to shift 276,000 units; the majority of consumers again buy the cheapest SKU at $399. This means Sony made a gross profit of $110,124,000. So is Sony's business really hemorrhaging?
Aaron Greenberg also expects the Xbox 360 version of Final Fantasy XIII to outsell the PS3 version, again with a hint of arrogance. If he means in North America, maybe, but multiple console owners will choose the PS3 version, this won't be another GTA4. However if he means worldwide, he is sorely mistaken, sales for Final Fantasy games in Japan tend to be higher than any other territory. Why?
When FFVII was released there was 4.5 million PSX consoles sold in Japan at the time, it sold 2 million in the first 5 days. When FFX was released there was 5 million PS2 consoles sold in Japan, and FFX sold 1.9 million in the first 3 days. I think these figures explain everything.
So it seems that Microsoft is now more arrogant than Sony, who knew that was possible? Sony has sold hundreds of millions of consoles; they had a reason to be arrogant. Sony currently have the best first-party line-up in the history of gaming, they are pushing the limits of graphics with the latest blockbuster Killzone 2, and are have the most innovative titles on their platform; Flower, LittleBigPlanet, PixelJunk etc.
Maybe Microsoft should let their games do the talking...