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The Divnich Tapes: How PlayStation 3 Is Catching Xbox 360?

Throughout this week, simExchange analyst Jesse Divnich is presenting exclusive Gamasutra analysis of January's U.S. hardware and software trends, using data from The simExchange, NPD, IGN GamerMetrics and GameTrailers. First up - despite alleged shortage
[Throughout this week, simExchange analyst Jesse Divnich is presenting exclusive Gamasutra analysis of January's hardware and software trends, using data from The simExchange, NPD, IGN GamerMetrics and GameTrailers. First up - despite alleged shortages, how the Xbox 360 might get overtaken by the PS3.] In the NPD North American charts, January proved to be an underwhelming month, with most consoles performing below market expectations. In fact, it has already been theorized that the Wii’s shortfall was likely due to Nintendo withholding units in North America, in order to better support Japan for the release of Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Wii Fit. On the other side of the fence, we have the continuing epic battle between Sony’s PlayStation 3 and Microsoft Xbox 360 - and for the first time, the PS3 has outsold the Xbox 360. While Sony declared a victory, Microsoft claimed that a hardware shortage hindered its January sales. To what extent a hardware shortage played is not calculable, but previous NPD and predicted simExchange trends indicate that the PS3 was in the process of catching up, regardless of any shortage.


As can be seen, the ratio between Xbox 360 to PS3 consoles sold has been steadily declining since September - and, given that there were no prices drops or 'blockbuster' Xbox 360-exclusive releases since September (Halo 3), the trend going into January would have likely continued, irrespective of any hardware shortages. Further backing that theory is The simExchange’s prediction market, which expects the PS3 to outsell the Xbox 360 in March - even though Microsoft has stated that they expect to meet March’s demand. There are likely many catalysts playing a role in this trend, but one of the bigger ones could be that many legacy systems owners are finally making the leap into the next-generation. Last year, PS2 Madden NFL 08 was the only legacy system SKU to break the top 10 in unit sales for 2007, indicating a large PlayStation 2 user base that has still not made the next-generation jump. Given that, it is likely that as each month passes by, an increasing amount of PS2 owners are staying loyal to the Sony brand. [Jesse Divnich is the analyst for the simExchange, a prediction market that allows users to buy and sell fake video game stocks in attempts to predict Global Lifetime Sales (GLS), monthly sales based on NPD data(called “future”), and Metacritic scores. Watch for further data on January sales and February predictions throughout the week.]

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