A true measure of Microsoft Xbox 360 success

Everest first ascent. Tenzing Norgay on top.

So today we are looking at the console platforms and their performance in the American market (the world’s biggest) from a software sales point of view. This is looking at game retail revenues for November 2009 compared with November 2008 as reported by Gamasutra.

The most striking thing is that Sony, which once owned the console market now only have a total 25% market share across their three platforms. Playstation PS2 game sales have collapsed from 8% of the market to just 2%. And 2% is exactly what the PSP did for both years. As you would expect after the price cut, and more importantly the marketing activity that went with it, PS3 game market share is up, by 4%, from 15% to 19%. Hardly stellar but a move in the right direction after all the PS3 disasters.

Nintendo is doing significantly less well than a year ago. The DS is blighted with piracy and the Wii is suffering from not being HD and from the fad nature of many owners’ buying decisions. Their total market share is down from 47% to 40%. 5% of this loss came from the Wii dropping from 34% to 29% the other 2% drop came from the DS going from 13% to 11% market share.

And the big winner, as anyone could have predicted, is Microsoft and its solitary platform in the market, the Xbox 360. In the year its market share of software sales went from 28% to 37%, a massive 9% rise. This makes it by far the most successful platform for game sales, overtaking the Wii.

In fact Microsoft is selling nearly twice as much dollars worth of games for the Xbox 360 as Sony is for the PS3, an enormous advantage. This is the true measure of the success of the Microsoft Xbox 360.


  1. awesome keep it up Microsoft !!!

    wii fan.

  2. So I’ve read some of the other “articles” on this site, and its pretty clear where your allegiances lie. Don’t you think its a little on the misleading side. I mean, after all, you ARE an analyst of the video game industry…. Right?

  3. Great article and quite true. Nobody can deny the sucess of 360.

  4. It’s about time someone wrote about this phenomenon.
    This really is the only true measurement of a consoles success because everything else is just opinion, while sales & earnings are actually measurable.

    Great article Bruce, few others would have the balls to write it, for fear of the roaming bands of Sony thugs on the internet ofcoarse LOL!

  5. Yes NPD sales, (US only) . I think Microsoft sell console on other country. Nintendo and Playstation too.

    “analyst of the video game industry…” lolllll (Blogger nothing more here).

  6. Yeah, how dare you say good things about M$! They hate us! I had an Xbox360 and it sux so much I threw it away and got an awesome PS3! Sony is really number #1 but you are getting paid by M$ so you say it s #3, but it is not! You wrong!

  7. I’m sorry but when are you people gonna realise that there is a bigger picture outside the US, the PS3 is 100,000 a month ahead in PAL territories, and 30,000 a week ahead in JP, Until MS releases the RROD figures we’ll never know how many systems have been sold to simply replace broken consoles.
    This is biased journalism at its worst

  8. Mitchy, I think you’re the one who needs to realise something. I own both the PS3 and the Xbox 360 and your claim that the PS3 is outperforming the xbox by that margin in the PAL region is quite ridiculous. If you knew what you were on about you would have said that the 360 is selling around 65,000 more copies a month than PS3, I mean, face it, every big multi platform game does better on 360 than it does on PS3. making up facts to big up your chosen console makes you seem an idiot.

  9. xbox have done something, now the rrod is near enough history and it market share is increasing, it has been selling out of the us to.
    i mean anyone can sell a Japanese console in Japan and sell well but for a us console to be doing well is a new thing watch their space.

  10. Ok. Can we now have an article based on how well MS is doing in Japan and Europe?

    In the interests of not looking like the total xbot you have painted yourself to be…

    I guess you won’t.

  11. Microsoft has made all the right moves and now it can be seen in the long run. The PS3 has a great exclusive line up in 2010. The Wii will keep losing profits. I own a Wii only and don’t see quality in any of the games, they are unplayable!

  12. lol an american console sells well in the U.S. is the same thing as a japenese console selling well in japan whats your point. and shouldn’t the 360 be doing double +/- on all multiplats since there is TWICE as many 360’s to ps3’s in america. which makes this article without reason wouldnt a ratio between #of systems to software sold be more accurate

  13. Firstly RROD, this was from components overheating and was fixed a long time ago by using chips that gave off less heat. And remember that the PS3 has its Yellow Light of Death: https://www.bruceongames.com/2009/09/19/sony-ps3-yellow-light-of-ddeath/

    Secondly the Microsoft Xbox division has been profitable for some time now whilst analysts reckon that Sony are still making a loss on every PS3.

    Thirdly these figures seem to be for retail only. Microsoft also have a huge amount of revenue from Live.

    Fourthly we have Natal coming, which looks to be by far the best motion sensor out of the current generation. The industry is certainly getting very excited about it.

  14. lol @ Glenn

    give me a source that the ps3 is outselling the 360 by a big gap in Europe

  15. Interesting. Have been looking relatively closely at video games / console companies from an investment viewpoint just this week (focused mainly on Electronic Arts, Activision & Nintendo).

    Obviously you’re not trying to comment here on who’s got the best medium term future, except as perhaps implied(!), but I’d be interested as to who of these three at these prices makes sense in your view from a longer term investment standpoint?

    The problem with Microsoft or Sony of course is that as an investment they’re a conglomerate and not a pure games play.

  16. People still play games on consoles? Hmm…too bad I’m stuck with my iPhone. (heh, heh, heh.) Oh yes, that’s what has caused the Nintendo DS @5 market share decline.

  17. @S.E. Gordon

    I should be a little clearer… what I meant was if the Wii’s motion control is a fad, as Bruce has mentioned time and time again, then I can see the Natal taking the same route, maybe even staying in prominence not as long.

    When you think about it, the Xbox 360’s audience doesn’t really care about motion control. Sure, they will probably get it, but I don’t see anyone trading in their controllers for it.

  18. @SmaMan
    Instead of completely pooh poohing Bruce’s view on the Wii being a fad, why not try to understand it first.

    The Wii’s usage, post purchase, is quite low and results in low game sales. This has been demonstrated through various market studies including the SquareTrade study that was published last month that showed how the average Wii, while more reliable, is used half as much by owners as an Xbox360 or PS3:

    What people suspected all along is quickly becoming a reality: Wii console sales were more trendy than steady and as per studies such as the Gamesutra report, Wii game sales have dropped off a cliff as the console has lost it’s momentum.

    The important thing to understand, and something you’ve kind of missed, is that the Wiimote & Natal are two very different things. Natal provides multi-dimensional interaction based on what the camera recognizes… like grabbing items from the screen or
    motioning in one direction with body english to turn a car. These aren’t pre-programmed flicks or button presses like the Wiimote. They’re recognized patterns of movement involving one’s hands, arms, head, legs, face… the entire body. The makes interactivity that much more real and that much more RICH & creative for the developer.

    Additionally, Natal isn’t targetting “Xbox 360’s current audience” as you put it. It’s targeting the market it doesn’t already have. Sure the hardcore will get Natal… but Microsoft hopes that folks that would have otherwise bought a Wii would consider an Xbox 360 Arcade instead for the same price with better games, a richer online experience, and greater full-body interactivity.

    Most importantly, the Xbox 360 & Natal provide both experiences that today’s market for gamers desire: The hardcore, graphics-minded experience & the casual control-interactive experience. That combined with the largest ISV ecosystem of game developers makes the Xbox 360 the one to beat in 2010.

    Incidentally, the Press like Natal and rave about it for one simple reason: They tried it, it works impressively without training, and it meets the vision that it’s creators have expressed. Wii hasn’t demonstrated any innovation in the past 2-3 E3 events. And PS3’s ‘wand’ hasn’t been used by anyone to date as far as I know.

  19. So Bruce, about this quote:
    “Fourthly we have Natal coming, which looks to be by far the best motion sensor out of the current generation. The industry is certainly getting very excited about it.”

    WE have Natal coming? WE? I mean, I thougth you were an independent game jounalist, but when you refer as WE when talking about the 360, that really hurts your image. I always tried to overlook the bias towards the 360 in your posts because I really liked how you exposed Evony and how your fighting back, but know, I guess I’ll just stop coming here. I hope you (I mean only you, not the console as well) win the Evony case.

  20. @la_bruin
    I wasn’t “pooh poohing” his view on the Wii being a fad. I agree, too, that the Wii is a fad. I still play mine regularly, but I know many people who bought one and now probably have it collecting dust somewhere.

    “The important thing to understand, and something you’ve kind of missed, is that the Wiimote & Natal are two very different things.”
    They are very different things in that regard (that you stated in your post) but they are both very similar down the line of being motion-interface devices designed to revolutionize game play.

    Remember the Eye-Toy for PS2? That was big for a while, then died off after about a year. Then Nintendo announced the Wii (codenamed “Revolution” at the time) and it’s motion-based gameplay. The press all got to try it too, and they liked it. It worked impressively, and everyone, not just gamers, were getting excited about it.

    Now as the Wii’s popularity begins to fall, (but don’t forget about the over half million it sold on Black Friday http://wii.nintendolife.com/news/2009/12/nintendo_shifted_a_boatload_of_hardware_last_week_in_us) the Natal seeks to take it’s place as what is essentially, the next fad. Let’s face it, their target consumers are fickle. And just like the Wii, once the novelty of Natal wears off in a few years, they’ll be off to the next best thing, whatever that may be.

  21. @darxed

    Gosh we can tell it is Christmas. Good will unto all men etc.

    By WE I meant the games industry, the people this blog is primarily written for.

  22. @SmaMan
    The EyeToy was a massive lost opportunity for Sony. The problem was that it was invented in England and the political centre for Sony is Japan. So it never got the in game uptake that it deserved.
    Also Sony owned the market at the time and didn’t need the extra USP to help them print money.

  23. I’ve just bought a Playstation 3 (for Blu-Ray), have a Wii (gathering dust with minimal software purchases) yet own two Xbox 360s where I have a massive stack of games so these figures kinda match up to my own personal experience!

  24. I see some rage in these comments spouting that some people are biased, liars, bending the truth and all. It just goes to show that gaming has also become more of the “I belong to a proud group” mentality. Sort of like with a PC vs Mac, where the Mac users feel they are part of a ‘community’.

    And I fail to see how sales matter to be honest. From a gamers perspective (I myself, unlike some above from what I can tell, do NOT own shares in the gaming industry) both the MS and Sony platforms are seeing their fair share of multiplatform games, which for those of among us who choose only one console is a benefit.

    Its this sort of fan base that will keep the companies alive through hard times. Though Sega had their spot taken by MS, despite how well the Dreamcast was doing, their fans were not enough to keep them above water. The barriers to entry were not strong enough to stop MS due to their fans. And they have since made enough to make them nearly market leaders. And Nintendo with the GC, ignoring their hand held division, still saw enough success to allegedly return a profit from the whole thing due to their fans.

  25. Btw, I check your figures, it is only for November.. Not a good indication. After all, it is easily foreseeable that they get the majority of MW2 revenue, for XBox is the shooter console. Also mentioned in your article.

    Also refer to this: http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/26486/Analysis_Xbox_360_PS3s_Reversal_Of_Fortune_Down_To_Modern_Warfare_2.php

    It would be interesting to see the NPD figures of Dec 2009. Who do you think would have better console sales? How about software sales (year on year comparison) ?

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