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Analysis: Sony's Move Meets With Modest Response From Consumers
Examining September's NPD results, Gamasutra analyst Matt Matthews unpicks PlayStation Move launch sales data -- finding what he believes is a modest reaction from consumers to Sony's new motion controller.
[Examining September's NPD results as part of our larger monthly in-depth feature, Gamasutra analyst Matt Matthews unpicks what data there is surrounding the launch of Sony's new motion controller.] For years Sony has built motion-control sensors into its Sixaxis and Dual Shock 3 controllers, but it wasn't until the launch of the Move on 17 September 2010 that Sony finally committed to a complete motion-control system. Combined with the PlayStation Eye camera, the new Move wands and navigation controllers give Sony an opportunity to break into the market thus far dominated by the Wii. At least, that's the theory. After all, Michael Pachter of Wedbush Securities calls the new PlayStation Move system and Microsoft's Kinect the manifestation of the Wii HD concept he's favored for years. Regrettably, there will be a great deal of uncertainty surrounding the PlayStation Move controllers because they are classified as an accessory by the NPD Group. As a general rule, public accessories data from the NPD Group is limited to rankings only with no unit sales under any circumstances. Moreover, according to Pachter the Move (and Kinect) systems will be reported by the NPD Group as hardware (when bundled with a console) or as accessory (when sold standalone or with a software bundle). By our reading, this means that – unlike Nintendo's Wii Play (bundled with a Wii remote) and Wii Sports Resort (bundled with the Motion Plus accessory) – sales of software/controller bundles will give no insight into sales of Sony and Microsoft's motion-control systems. They will appear exclusively in the accessory segment, and thereby be even more obscure because sales numbers will never be publicly reported by the NPD Group itself. Of course, Sony is free to release sales data about its own products, as we presume this extends to accessories, but the company declined even to release data about its own console hardware sales in September. (This last point is particularly unusual, since September 2009 and September 2010 are the only two months in which the PlayStation 3 hardware has outsold the Wii.) Regardless of the obstacles, here is what we do know about the launch of PlayStation Move in the U.S. during September 2010: - NPD Group data provided exclusively to Gamasutra shows sales of approximately 20,000 standalone copies of Sports Champions, a key first-party launch title for the Move system. - Sports Champions was also bundled with special PlayStation 3 hardware and in a camera/wand bundle which would have been categorized by the NPD Group as an accessory. Moreover, Jim Reilly of IGN reported on the top six Move launch titles, according to NPD Group figures. (That table is reproduced below.)