Make the Case Editorial:
Monday: Why 360 is a success - Tuesday: PS3 is a failure
Thursday: Why 360 is a failure - Friday: PS3 is a success
In March I wrote "Stick a Fork in the PS3, It's Done"
, an editorial refuting the claim that 2008 would be "The Year of the PlayStation 3." My inbox was stuffed with hate mail. I was called all sorts of names and yet, with 2008 in the books, Sony has continued to provide ample proof that the PS3 is destined to join the ranks of the great blunders of history.
Poor Sales Figures
In November, LittleBigPlanet
was released amidst controversy and fantastic reviews. The game has been referred to as the PS3's killer app. The YouTube of gaming. The game that will change everything forever. Instead, it sold 215,000 copies in its first month and only barely squeaked into the NPD Top 10. LittleBigPlanet is, for all intents and purposes, a sales flop.
This is not the first time that a highly anticipated PS3 game has posted poor sales numbers, but it is the most jarring. Sony has attempted to position Sackboy as the face of the PlayStation brand (surely, he's more cuddly than Kratos), but they will be doing it with a game that was outsold by Microsoft's Fable II
by a margin of nearly four to one. The Year of the PS3 is littered with a similar lack of bestsellers.
Gran Turismo 5 Prologue
, while pegged as "just a taste" of the full game, was released in April to sales numbers similar to LittleBigPlanet. But you'll say, "Prologue was just a preview and not the real Gran Turismo 5, of of course it won't put up big sales numbers!" And you'd be right of course, but the fact remains that the next Gran Turismo (for real this time!) would have sold ten times that. Instead, the game has become a footnote, a demo pushed out the door within weeks of Grand Theft Auto IV
so it could be forgotten. All of this is compounded by the fact that Kazunori Yamauchi, CEO of Polyphony Digital, said at E3 that the real Gran Turismo 5 might not be released until 2010.
While not a footnote, the strange case of Metal Gear Solid 4
has also weighed heavily on the PS3's fortunes this Summer. Selling an impressive three million copies worldwide since its release, the game stormed out of the gate early and sold nearlt 2.5 million copies in its first month and just 500,000 in the five months since. It launched big, but the game has been pushed to the background as Sony decided to focus on LittleBigPlanet.
Amazingly enough though, at 775,000 copies sold it its first month in America, MGS4 doesn't even hold the distinction of biggest sales month of the year. In fact, its not even in the top ten. It has been beaten by the aforementioned Fable II, GTA4 on the Xbox 360 (twice) and PS3, Mario Kart Wii
(twice), Gears of War 2
, Call of Duty: World at War
(the Xbox 360 version), Wii Play
and Madden 09
(the Xbox 360 version). It's a solid release, but hardly the system seller that the forum fanboys would have you believe it would have been a few months before its release.
In fact, few PS3 games even make the NPD monthly Top 10. And the system's lack of a deep library (compared to the Xbox 360 and Wii) continues to show that gamers who choose two systems more consistently choose an Xbox 360 and a Wii than a PS3 and a Wii or a PS3 and an Xbox 360. This is most apparent in November when Gears of War 2
and the Xbox 360 versions of Call of Duty: World at War
and Left 4 Dead
sold as many copies during the month as every PS3 game combined.
The final nail in the coffin that the PS3 is not as relevant, saleswise, compared to the Wii and Xbox 360, is that Sony has squandered all of their profits from the glory days of the PS2 on PS3 development and advertising. Or at least, so says Dave Perry
The PS3's retail price (and the massive R&D budget required to build such a system) is definitely the prime reason for such low sales numbers and lost profits. And during the prime shopping season of the "Year of the PS3", the Xbox 360 and the Wii are pulling away even more. Retailers have reported that Xbox 360s outsold PS3s by a ratio of three to one on Black Friday. Meanwhile, the Wii sold out its stock at retailers across the country and currently demands a nearly 50% markup on eBay.