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Specials
 Written by Patrick Mulhern  on January 30, 2008

Special: Who really won 2007?


Today we bring you a look into the long running tradition which keeps so many gamers frothing at the mouth, the Console Wars. Over the course of the year video games hit the headlines for numerous reasons, from the hard to find reports to the groundbreaking and highly-polished titles that we will be playing with for years to come. Despite all of this, there is a large number of gamers who enjoy nothing more than an argument over which platform is better than which. Many will claim it's the total system sales that define the clear winner, while others will simply says it's the software sales. The third camp will loudly state that which system you play the most is more important, but then they become hypocrites for not supporting one uber system but multiple systems, causing their opinion to be ignored completely. The fourth, and surely the most enlightened, realizes that it is not that simple, one factor cannot tip the scales completely in most cases. Instead the critical minds should take in all of these angles and analyze them as completely as possible which is exactly what we have done for you today.

Hardware Sales
The year of the Boar was the first full year that all three current-generation consoles were on sale, enabling one to compare the hardware sales a bit more evenly. As shown by the failure of the Sega Dreamcast, just selling systems is not enough to win the war, but it certainly does help! It should be no surprise to anyone that the media-darling Nintendo Wii stole the show, pushing some 6.29 million units in North America and raising their domestic total to 7.38 million. In a distant second was the Xbox 360 which managed to push 4.62 million units and brought their life-to-date total to 9.15 million units. The PlayStation 3, which has been struggling to meet expected sales quotas since shortly after its release, sold over 2.56 million units, almost 800,000 of which came in December alone, after the unit was discounted. Sony's little Blu-Ray player has sold more than 3.25 million units since its release in November 2006.


Hardware sales for the year. Wii wins this round.


For those with good reading comprehension skills and a solid short-term memory you can see that the Wii kicked butt in the new-generation of hardware. Although the Wii lost to its little brother, the Nintendo DS, for the overall hardware title the little white box stomped the PlayStation 3's sales figures by more than double while managing to push 31% more units into the market than the Xbox 360. The success of the Wii hardware can be attributed to numerous things such as a great marketing campaign, innovative play mechanics, mass-market appeal and a good line-up of software (buried in a mountain of shovelware) but the biggest factor for many is the low, low, price when it is compared to the more technically advanced PS3 and 360.

The Nintendo Wii is still behind the Xbox 360 in sales for North America by almost 2 million units, but due to it's banner year, the Wii has taken over the lead for global hardware sales. It's obvious that the least powerful of the new consoles has taken the crown for hardware sales in 2007, but no console is dead by any means. All three machines were met with decent to solid to uncanny sales, and as shown by the PS3's sales push after it's price drop, ripe with potential. Nintendo of all companies missed out on much of this potential due to supply issues. If the Kyoto-based company could have kept the Wii in stock throughout the year they really could have had an astounding year with the Wii more than likely surpassing the Xbox 360 in sales in all territories. Now Nintendo will have to settle for second in North America for a few more months.



Software Sales
Analyst's Note: The NPD kind of fails analysts in this department since they only made the numbers for the top 10 best selling titles of the year widely available. Despite the lack of detailed, in-depth information we will read into what is presented as best we can.

For those who may not know, console manufacturers make their bread and butter off of the software that they and third-party companies sell. Every title sold has a licensing fee, allowing the title to be released on the machine(s) it was designed for, so when Capcom or Take-Two Interactive release a title for Xbox 360 or whatever, Microsoft gets a small fraction of the action, for EVERY copy. Therefore, they absolutely love filling up their platinum/greatest/player's hits rosters since it means that games have already sold very well on their respected system. The year of 2007 saw no shortage of best selling titles such as Activision's multi platform titles Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock and Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. But the multi platform sales are not really what one must compare when they are trying to determine which platform performed the best in a given year, instead one must look at the individual sales figures for each title broken up by platform. Therefore, in this manner the sales data of Madden '08 for PS3 will go up against the sales data for the 360 and Wii versions.

Unfortunately for all, we only have access to the NPD numbers for the top 10 best selling games of the year, but we can still gain a little insight from this and from how the console manufacturers spun the numbers they received. First and foremost Microsoft's flagship franchise, Halo, took the top-selling spot this year with the release of Halo 3 back in September. In just one quarter on sale the trilogy's closing chapter managed to sell 4.82 million copies, beating out Nintendo's Wii Play by about 700,000 units. It is worth mentioning that Wii Play has seen a sales push due to limited availability of the Wii Remote at times, as the game comes bundled with one, but nevertheless the mini-game package has managed to push some serious units since its February release in North America.

Outside of the top two titles, only four more current-generation releases make the list, with none of them being for PlayStation 3. Therefore the PS3 did not have a single title on the best sellers list, while its predecessor the PlayStation 2, had three titles including a game from 2006, Guitar Hero II. 360 grabbed the third and ninth slots with Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare and respectively, while the Wii captured the fifth and tenth spots with titles from the Mario franchise, Super Mario Galaxy and Mario Party 8 respectively. On the back of their most successful franchise Microsoft has managed to steal the top 10 chart away from Nintendo although only by the skin of their teeth. Cumulative sales for all titles on their respected consoles have Microsoft's Xbox 360 leading the Wii by only 3% in software sales but to reiterate we only have a very small amount of data.


The Top 10 sales pie is divided up pretty evenly between the 360, Wii and all other consoles and hand helds that appeared on the limited list.


On the next page we finish our breakdown of the 2007 Console War with a look at review scores, exclusivity, the "NPD Spin" game and we declare a winner.

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