As part of its post-earnings investor call, EA executives have revealed their estimates for PS3 and Wii shipment numbers through the end of the year, suggesting that the PS3 will be as tricky to buy for consumers in 2006 as the Xbox 360 was in 2005.
When asked as part of a wider-ranging conference call
after a record revenue quarter for EA, the company revealed that its estimates for the availability of PlayStation 3 in North America would be a "range of" 500,000-800,000 available hardware units through the end of 2006.
The company noted that the middle of this range (around 650,000 consoles) is approximately what the Xbox 360 sold through the end of calendar 2005, commenting that it will be, from a consumer standpoint, it will be "...as challenging to find a PlayStation 3 this year as it was to get an Xbox 360 last year."
Electronic Arts is also estimating Wii availability numbers as 900,000 to 1.4 million units in 2006 in North America through the end of 2006, significantly more than the PlayStation 3, and anywhere between 200,000 and 900,000 units for Wii in Europe in the same period. (The PlayStation 3 does not launch in Europe until March 2007, hence no estimates needed for it.)
As for how these figures tie in to official estimates from Sony and Nintendo, recent estimates from Sony have specified
400,000 PlayStation 3 units for U.S. launch, and 2 million worldwide by the end of 2006. Nintendo has announced 4 million Wii consoles to be shipped
worldwide before the end of 2006, with the greatest (unspecified) percentage going to North America.