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January Game Sales Explode, Wii Dominates 478

njkid1, as he does from time to time, passed us a link to a story on the GameDaily site. Today they're discussing the January NPD numbers for the games industry. In short, they're terrific. Software sales totaled $549 million for the month, up a staggering 53 percent over last year. Hardware sales were brisk as well, with the Wii selling around 436,000 units. Trailing behind were Microsoft and Sony, with 360 hitting 294,000 units sold and the PS3 selling 244,000 units. January had an extra week, which resulted in 'inflated' sales, but even after normalizing the data things were tremendous for the games industry in a month where there's normally a post-holiday slump.
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January Game Sales Explode, Wii Dominates

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  • Troubling for Sony (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Itchyeyes ( 908311 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @03:50PM (#18099944) Homepage
    Sales wise, Sony has a problem. They've sold fewer units than either of their competitors and they're selling them at a slower rate, which means that gulf will only increase. If this continues, more and more franchises that were exclusive to Sony will move to become multi platform. Assassin's Creed, GTA, and VF have already done so. The PS3 may be a great system with great games, but from a sales perspective their situation is dire.

    If Nintendo keeps numbers like this up though, the PS3/360 debate becomes moot. They would be the undisputed sales leader by the middle of next year. Even the PS2 rarely broke 400,000 units during a non-holiday-season month. And who knows what they Wii sales figures would be if they could keep up with demand.
  • by Lane.exe ( 672783 ) * on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @03:54PM (#18099978) Homepage
    Most games I've seen on Gamespot and IGN that I am interest in are listed as coming out for the PS3 have X360 versions as well (Armored Core 4, Bladestorm, etc.). In fact, if Square will move Final Fantasy XIII to the X360 (or even the Wii) then I would have absolutely zero reason to buy a PS3. A developer shift to other platforms would devastate Sony in the console market.
  • by KingSkippus ( 799657 ) * on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @03:55PM (#18099986) Homepage Journal

    Hardware sales were brisk as well, with the Wii selling around 436,000 units. Trailing behind were Microsoft and Sony, with 360 hitting 294,000 units sold and the PS3 selling 244,000 units.

    This in itself is good story. Keep in mind that Sony PS3's and Microsoft Xbox 360's are widely available and on stores shelves everywhere, while the Wii's are still in short supply. In spite of that, the Wii is still outselling both. If you're Microsoft, you can always claim that it's because the 360 has been out for a year, and it's total sales are (of course) much higher at this point.

    But if you're Sony, that's just got to hurt.

    /still wants a Wii...

  • by SlashdotOgre ( 739181 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @04:01PM (#18100066) Journal
    I was fortunate enough to get a Wii at launch (hour and a half in line at Costco), but I have become someone disappointed at the selection of games thus far. In my opinion there's too many mini-games (Wii Sports, Wii Play, Rayman, Wario, Mario Party, etc.), and not enough full fledged ones like Zelda. Now I'm not saying the mini-games are horrible (they're excellent for when you have multiple people over), however they are starting to make the Wii feel more like a gimmick.

    I picked up Madden over Christmas, and I was quite impressed; in fact it's the first Madden that's impressed me since the 16 bit era (I always liked the NFL 2K/ESPN sports more). I wish more sports titles come out and are able to execute as well. I'm definitely interested in a dedicated tennis/golf game, and I'm a bit concerned that I haven't heard of any coming out. I hope it's not due to the lack of accuracy of the wiimote. The Wii has a ton of potential, I just hope the Wii lives up to it.

  • by jackharrer ( 972403 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @04:03PM (#18100102)
    Sony thought that PS2 will sell PS3. And that would happened if not that they put prices well over the limit.
    Wii is a winner because people CAN afford it. Exactly the same happened with "inferior" Nintendo DS. Strange that Sony didn't learn the lesson.
  • by Sacrelicious2 ( 1064224 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @04:05PM (#18100130)
    As far as the 'low' sales figure for the xbox 360, remember, unlike the wii/ps3, it has already been out for about 16 months, compared to 3-4 months. The fact that the Xbox 360 is STILL outselling the PS3 is quite amazing
  • by TheJerg ( 1052952 ) <> on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @04:07PM (#18100156)
    Nintendo might be by the middle of next year, but how about 4 years from now? It's way too early to be predicting a victory for any company, or defeat for that matter.
  • by Itchyeyes ( 908311 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @04:11PM (#18100222) Homepage
    Are you seriously trying to spin the fact that Sony has fewer units on the market than both the Wii and the 360 and is selling them at a slower pace as a good thing? Are you really lumping in PS2 units with PS3 units to inflate the numbers? Are you actually stating that Naughty Dog's game, the one that has only one screenshot available and no name, is "insane" and "people are going nuts over right now"? I call shill
  • by tuffy ( 10202 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @04:14PM (#18100274) Homepage Journal
    If Nintendo's ahead by the middle of next year, they're going to stay there. Console sales are a matter of momentum. Selling a lot of consoles attracts developers, which make the console more attractive to customers, which sells more consoles. While it's certainly possible for one to come from far behind and take the lead with some killer app that appears long after launch, I can't remember any instances of that happening.
  • by AbsoluteXyro ( 1048620 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @04:16PM (#18100288)

    I agree completely, but buying any console at launch is going to leave you feeling the bite of scarce game variety. When a console has only been out a number of months you can count on one hand, there just hasn't been time for the breadth and depth of software we like to choose from to reach the market.

    Right now is a ripe time to pick up a 360 however, I'd imagine that has something to do with the stronger-than-PS3 sales. For many, I'm betting the marginal utility of a PS3 is far smaller than the price. That makes the 360 look pretty tasty to those in the market for a more traditional graphics powerhouse gaming machine.

    Things could be looking different give a year or so. As is always, only time will tell.

    For now though, I wouldn't want to be Sony.

  • by Itchyeyes ( 908311 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @04:24PM (#18100396) Homepage
    It might be to early to predict the exact outcome, but the positioning in this first year is crucial for all companies involved. If Sony can't reach a critical mass with the PS3 fast enough, then developers will stop making exclusive games since they can't make a profit without a large enough install base. As I've stated we've already seen this with VF and GTA. Without exclusive games, the incentive to buy a PS3 diminishes and their sales lag even further behind the competitors. As sales lag more, even more exclusives flee the console to recoup their investments on other systems. It's circular. It's exponentially more difficult to reclaim ground you've lost than it is to keep ground you've already made. At this point, I don't think Sony's fate is written in stone. The margins are still narrow enough that they could come out on top. However, it's going to require a significant price drop or a plethora of excellent exclusive games to regain the ground that they have already lost, neither of which is on the horizon any time soon.
  • by aborchers ( 471342 ) * on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @04:29PM (#18100466) Homepage Journal
    I resist my temptation to ignore AC...

    "Oh give the fanboy bullshit a rest!"

    What is it with this "fanboy" ad hominem nonsense? It must really sting to see wimpy Nintendo kicking your techno-powerhouse asses all over the schoolyard.

    I have owned a PSX and PS2 and loved both. I considered myself a dedicated Sony customer until they tried to sell Blu-ray to me through an incremental-improvement (don't start citing the specs, I'm taking playability) game platform. If I was in the market for a Blu-ray player, I would consider PS3 a bargain. I'm not, though, so it looks to me like an overpriced boondoggle offering no real gains. I probably will buy a PS3 some day to get a bargain blu-ray player and keep my PSX/PS2 library playable. Plus there's bound to be some must-have game for the platform (probably the next Wipeout) that will drive me. Right now I simply have no reason.

    I bought a Wii and I love it. I owned the original NES until around 1990, bought a GC to play Godzilla Destroy All Monsters Melee (before it was ported) but other than that have never been particularly partial to Nintendo. I bought a Wii because it looked like *fun* for me and my wife and kids to play together and it is!

    So, if anyone needs to give the "fanboy bullshit" a rest, it's all you jackasses claiming the Wii is a fan phenomenon. It is winning because it is selling to fans and to new customers of all kinds, whether they are existing gamers or not. It is winning because it is a blast to play, just like Pac Man or Doom are still fun, in all their pixelated glory.

  • Publishers (Score:4, Insightful)

    by HappySqurriel ( 1010623 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @04:31PM (#18100492)
    Something that a lot of Sony fans miss is that publishers hold the purse strings (and determine what games get made) and the only performance they care about is sales performance. Certainly, the outcome can not be determined after 3 months but (unless something changes soon) things will snowball out of controll and the PS3 will be in serious trouble.

    The fact is that (if the Wii continues to sell like it has been) the Wii will be the best selling platform in the World by Christmas 2007, and probably will be the best selling platform in every region by Christmas 2008; if this happens every publisher who has worldwide interests (think every major publisher) will focus on the Wii by Christmas 2007, and every publisher will be focusing on the Wii by Christmas 2008.
  • by niconorsk ( 787297 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @04:46PM (#18100690)
    You've got a fair point there. I know the PS3 has potential for some fantastic games. That is, if a publisher fully takes advantage of its capacity. Thing is, I think you underestimate just how big of a market kids and people wanting good party games are.
  • by Rycross ( 836649 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @04:57PM (#18100820)
    Are you basing the 4:1 ratio on some total number? Because based on the NDP numbers its a bit less than 2:1. Of course, doing an assessment based on total sales isn't exactly fair at this point, since PS3 has yet to launch in Europe.

    It's a bit too early to call the game altogether. We're talking millions and tens of millions in an industry where the biggest player last round sold over 100 million consoles. We'll start seeing real indications when more exclusive games start comming around.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @05:05PM (#18100944)
    Therefore, I'd agree that "immersive graphics can only improve gaming".

    Except that graphics increase the cost of making the game which usually means something else needs to get cut.
  • by dank zappingly ( 975064 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @05:07PM (#18100972)
    Dude, you have to be insane if you think Square is going to move Final Fantasy XIII to the Wii.
  • by Rycross ( 836649 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @05:16PM (#18101090)
    The FF series from 7 onward have had a pretty huge focus on eye-candy. Its pretty hard for me to imagine the main line of FF games moving to any console that doesn't support HD resolutions from this point onward.
  • by trdrstv ( 986999 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @05:16PM (#18101100)
    Dude, you have to be insane if you think Square is going to move Final Fantasy XIII to the Wii.

    Yeah, it would be as crazy/ impossible as them moving Dragon Quest to the DS.

    oh, wait.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @05:18PM (#18101126)
    So, what is a mature game to you? I don't see how the poly count matters at all to a game's "maturity". If all you care about are FPS games where you pretend to be a soldier, how do you define that as maturity?
  • by UnknownSoldier ( 67820 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @05:26PM (#18101248)
    > There has to be a bunch of gloating Sony execs at their headquarters right now.

    For now.

    You don't know any PS3 game devs, do you. I don't know any that are praising the system. Gee, wouldn't want it _easier_ for the devs now, would we!

    Sony has really alienated its PS2 game devs -- that the guys you want to IMPRESS, not dissuade from the hardware. As much as I love developing for the PS2, one really has to wonder what the crack the Sony Engineers were smoking.
  • by Mr2001 ( 90979 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @05:37PM (#18101412) Homepage Journal
    Hardly anyone owns an HDTV, even today. The companies will go where the customers are.
  • by LiquidCoooled ( 634315 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @05:44PM (#18101514) Homepage Journal
    Who says there can only be one winner?

    I think the Wii is something entirely different and if done correctly Sony could still retain their core gamer generation market who like fast action zillions of polygons and l337 skills whilst Nintendo will exist happily with their more family oriented gaming set.

    Its capturing an entire class of gamers which just wouldn't even have purchased a console before, its a similar story with the DS - you have people playing on these things that wouldn't even consider another game system.

    I cannot ever imagine my parents owning any playstation or xbox, but I think Nintendo might just have themselves another sale based upon their reaction to our Wii when they played last night.

  • by trdrstv ( 986999 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @05:50PM (#18101614)
    Well yeah, because all the consoles in the past have been designed to put out images on an SD television set. Now that there are 2 consoles out there with HD as their focus, the state-of-the-art in terms of graphics is HD resolutions. For a series that has sold out to the eye candy, its pretty hard to imagine them passing up two systems with superior graphical power for the Wii.

    The PS2 had a handfull of 720p games and 1 1080i game (GT4) so if they were about pushing the boundries... why didn't they? Others proved higher resolutions were possible. Hell 480p from 480i should have been dirt simple to do by comparison.

    its pretty hard to imagine them passing up two systems with superior graphical power for the Wii.

    Actually it's pretty easy to imagine. If they wanted superior graphics, FF would never have been on a Sony Platform. There were more powerful systems competing with both the PS1, and the PS2.

    Square went where the market was. The same logic that got them on the Sony boat to begin with; was the same logic used to move the Dragon Quest Series off the PS2 and onto the DS. It is the same logic that can be used to move FF to the Wii. They aren't about pushing graphical boundries, they are about pushing units of software.

  • PS3/360 vs WII (Score:3, Insightful)

    by king-manic ( 409855 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @06:08PM (#18101864)
    It should be noted that while Wii is smacking around the PS3/360, it may not actually be competing for the same customers. Wii's target a "casual" gamer. Who enojoyed playing it at an earlier adopters hosue wante done for themselves. PS3/360 target the existing market. Generally gamers will get 2. I have a Ps2/GC, the last gen I had a PS1/N64. We might see the core gamer market go Ps3/Wii or 360/wii.

    Casual gamers are likely to have a lower attach rate for games because it takes them longer to go through them. Mario Galaxy might only last a gamer a weekend but a casual three months. So we may see a 3:1:1 install base and still have PS3/360 get more exclusives because they can still sell more games. Hard to say. I myself spend between $100-$225 (a new games costs $69.99 CND for the ps2 on avg) CND a mo for games. I'm not sure what a casual gamer will spend.
  • by Itchyeyes ( 908311 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @06:11PM (#18101922) Homepage
    People make this comparison a lot, and I don't think it applies. The 360 had pretty bad launch, but they didn't have to have a good launch. They launched in a vacuum with a whole year to get their crap together. They didn't have to worry about exclusives fleeing to other consoles or pressure to drop the price. They were the only game in town. That's why they did it so soon.

    The PS3 is in an entirely different environment. It doesn't matter if it's selling better than the 360 did at launch. It's not competing against the 360 one year ago. It's competing against the 360 (and the Wii) now. It has to sell better than the 360 is selling now, not last year. If two people are racing, and one is given a head start, it doesn't make much sense for the second person to say, "well I'm running faster than he was when he started out". It might be a nice consolation, but he's still going to lose the race. The PS3 has a lot of ground to make up and they're not doing it. In fact they're losing ground.

    Sony is in a bad position. They need to make some corrections to their plan. A price drop is the most obvious, but a good library would help too. It can't just be a good library though. It has to be a better library than the 360's, and they have to remember that that's a moving target. The Titanic is sinking and Sony's on deck playing classical music. All this spinning the numbers and looking at things through rose colored glasses isn't helping. It's just keeping people from seeing the problems.
  • by Beardo the Bearded ( 321478 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @06:31PM (#18102152)
    That's exactly it for me.

    I want a game that's fun. I don't really care about how it looks. If there's a great storyline with a reasonable interface, that's fun.

    It's got to be a "droppable" game, too. I don't want to have to run around for another 30-60 minutes trying to find a save point. That stops being fun pretty damned fast. It's one of the reasons I've cut down on playing video games and moved to mostly playing board games.

    My wife and I are getting a Wii next December, once all the plebeians have found the bugs. Sure, it doesn't have the HD power of the PS3. Who cares? Nintendo decided to stop chasing the eye-candy tech and go back to the core of games.

    Games should be fun.

    If you want pretty, then watch a movie. Oh, wait. You are, since the ads and the box art are usually stills or pre-rendered video that looks nothing like the actual game.
  • by BoyIHateMicrosoft! ( 1044838 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @06:55PM (#18102378)
    Could I have you define "mature" for me. I guess "mature" would mean going around stealing cars, banging hookers and beating up cops. Mature is really a subjective kind of thing. I think you may be relating mature to FPS games and I would rather play kiddie games than those and apparently a lot of people feel way so say the numbers.
  • by keithburgun ( 1001684 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @07:02PM (#18102476)
    Final Fantasy 6 is arguably the greatest RPG ever created, you idiot. The graphics are in fact beautiful, but most of that is because of one thing: Good art, not raised technology. FF6 is where the era of an epic, powerful, meaningful RPG began and the "dragon warrior1-ish" old-style RPG ended. Most lovers of RPGs will agree with me that FF6 and/or FF7 belong in the top 5 RPGS of all time. That was the height of Square's artistic accomplisments, especially 6. For 7 they got a new art director who was not quite as good. But Uematsu's scores for 6 and 7 are un-beaten by any game before or since. I suggest you give FF6 a try and not just judge it because they used some Mode 7. However, I will agree that 10 and on have been lacking in the "other-than-graphics" department and your main point does stand, that future FFs may choose to be on the PS3 due to screenshot-minded decision-making. -Keith
  • by nanoDaveF ( 693514 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @07:02PM (#18102484) Homepage
    I agree completely. The only reason I bought my wii is that I thought it would be much more fun to play than the other consoles. Even my wife loves it and she hates video games. Nintendo has hit a home run and they know it. The data is proving it. Soon, all of the companies that weren't 'bothering' with porting their games to Nintendo consoles will be concentrating on them. The innovation that Nintendo is introducing will expand the bounderies of games as more and more game companies put their ingenuity to work. If you have to pick between games that are more fun or more pretty, more fun wins most of the time. Pretty is cool, but it gets old. Fun never does.
  • by MeanderingMind ( 884641 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @07:13PM (#18102622) Homepage Journal
    The difference betweena 720p or 1080i HDTV and a 1080p one is at least $1000, usually more. My 1080i set was ~$1700 including a stand, but would have cost me ~$2900 for the 1080p model without a stand.

    I asked to be shown a 1080i set versus a 1080p set, and though each had a video feed native to its resolution I wasn't able to see enough of a difference to warrant spending nearly twice as much.

    720p and 1080i are beautiful. I'm sure people with the eyes of a hawk will be able to see stark differences between those resolutions and 1080p, but I don't.

    It is important to note I was looking at movies/video feeds rather than video games. Something with more obvious pixels might make the difference a little less obscure.
  • by nbehary ( 140745 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @08:07PM (#18103196)
    Yeah, but the PS2 came out before the GC by a bit, and the price difference was comparatively much smaller. The PS3 and Wii were 2 days apart here in the States....I know other markets were longer, but still Japan was just a few weeks. I'm sure there was some sort of shortage when the GC came out, but I know it's nothing like what we're seeing with the Wii.

    I guess my point is comparing PS2/GC to PS3/Wii really doesn't make sense. The situation is very different this time.
  • Re:Hopefully... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Overly Critical Guy ( 663429 ) on Wednesday February 21, 2007 @08:12PM (#18103248)
    Well, it was inevitable that the usefulness of multimedia capabilities would plateau after a certain point, and some of us have been publicly expecting it to happen soon. There's not enough return on investment for a game to have high-quality HD graphics when the gameplay is the same or crippled. Look at the backlash against Oblivion. I'm tired of playing games with the exact same gamepad. After getting used to the Wii remote, my hands feel weird being cramped together on a gamepad.

    I think this is also an issue being experienced in the PC world, where people just don't see a need to buy new PCs with Windows Vista. Their current 512MB RAM, 2Ghz computers can handle sending email, word processing, running iTunes, and surfing the web. At least Apple has an advantage here in that they can drive new hardware sales with things like built-in cameras, thinner designs, bundled iLife apps, and so forth (i.e., the software sells the hardware and the hardware sells the software).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 22, 2007 @08:51AM (#18107508)
    I didn't RTFA on that one (this being Slashdot and all), but let's look at this quote from the summary:

    ...persistent inability for Nintendo to keep units on the shelves has made it hard for gamers to sustain their enthusiasm for the system.

    So, it's true... Nobody's interested in Wii, they sell so fast it's impossible to buy one.

    Also, what's wrong with running opposing points of view now and again? We all know that the collective Slashdot mind has decided that after the rootkit, killing Lik-Sang, and various other crimes against shiny swag, Sony is now lower on the scale than Microsoft, so it's Wii FTW, or Wii60 for those with HDTV. This doesn't mean that every story should just tell the people what they want to hear; this isn't FOX News or anything.

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a rigged demo.