Sony’s guy in Europe has been celebrating the success of PS3 in the region since the price cuts late last year, and although he’s rather economical with the truth in places, he’s right - in countries such as France, Spain and Germany the PS3 had a particularly good XMas and New Year period. I’m not entirely sure why, but there has been quite a difference between the figures for the UK and those for the rest of Europe. Here’s the weekly sales for the whole of Europe, including the UK:
As you can see, pretty much since the price cut in August PS3 has seen a consistent jump in its sales, and over the whole region it is at about 1.8 - 2.0 times the sales of the 360. However, the really interesting thing (to me anyway) is when you look at the UK sales alone:
… quite a different picture - PS3 got the same bounce at the price cut but it didn’t exceed the 360 for very long, it’s mostly kept pace with it. I’m not sure why that is, except perhaps the UK’s culture is more closely linked with the USA than others in Europe, so we’re kind of an averaging point between the USA and Europe. The USA’s graph looks like this:
Reeves is also a little bit of a fibber when it comes to comparisons:
“It’s also worth mentioning that last week we outsold Xbox 360 in PAL territories by a ratio of three-to-one.”
That’s a bit cheeky because it implies ‘over all PAL territories’ but as you can see from the first graph, that’s not the case at all. What he means is ‘some PAL territories’ - for instance France and Germany. Here’s France’s, Germany’s looks very similar.
This is all pretty interesting, because it points to this generation possibly being a genuine 3-horse race. The USA and UK seem to still favour their 360’s, whilst Japan has always favoured the PS3 (a no-brainer, it’s pretty unlikely any non-Japanese device will go down well there I think) and mainland Europe is starting to favour the PS3 too. When you add up the sales numbers and project them forward a bit, it pretty much exactly balances out. Europe is huge, but the UK punches above its weight in terms of console buying per capita; if you take the Wii out of the equation you find that the UK in fact buys more consoles than Japan does:
As you can see, even though the UK’s PS3 sales didn’t jump as much compared to 360’s, they actually matched the jump in France’s PS3 sales anyway. So in the UK they’re buying just as many PS3s as in France, it’s just they’re also buying lots more 360s, which France (and Germany) isn’t. So this indicates there were a lot of people waiting on a PS3 price cut in France / Germany; and indeed looking at the cumulative figures, 360 ownership in France & Germany far less than the UK already. The UK has about 2m 360’s, Germany has 400,000 (over a 5-fold difference) for example, compared to the PS3 figures which are 800,000 in the UK and 430,000 in Germany (only 2x difference).
Of course all this time everyone and their goat is buying the Wii. So it’s looking increasingly possible that this cycle we’ll actually have 3 completely viable consoles in the market, for a while at least, with 360/PS3 ownership biased by region (US/UK, Japan/Europe). Curious times, but I guess the take-away from this is games are more popular than ever. I’ll drink to that.