Over on Xbox.com's Japanese site, Microsoft issued an apology letter to potential Japanese 360 gamers admitting that console hardware is sold out in Japan and that they "deeply apologize for this inconvenience to our customers", hoping to replenish 360 console stock in the country as soon as possible. In other news, recently released JRPG Tales of Vesperia is 99.8% to "blame" for Japanese Xbox 360 sales and the subsequent lack of hardware in the country. Microsoft better send NAMCO-BANDAI a fruit basket or something.
As expected, Nintendo took home the Olympic console sales gold medal for the month of July, selling a whopping 555,000 Wii consoles AND 608,400 DS handhelds. As far as the Sony / Microsoft console sales rivalry goes, Sony surprised everyone by edging out the Xbox 360, moving some 224,900 consoles compared to the 360's 204,800. Not good news for team Microsoft. But on the bright side, the 360's software sales were quite strong with a 360 game leading July's software sales (NCAA Football 09) and three 360 titles landing in on the top ten. And that's good ... right? Right? Complete list of July's
Now just find some way to spin that into a catchy slogan and you've got some new fanboy ammunition (fanmunition?) to go with your new (toy) fanboy gun.
Analysts Michael Pachter and Jesse Divnich both agree that, after a bad June, the Xbox 360's July hardware sales will overtake the Playstation 3 thanks to the announcement of the 60GB Xbox 360 and low price of the 20GB model. Pachter is pegging the 360 to have sales in the 275K range compared to the PS3's 250K, while Divnich is a bit more 360 optimistic setting July 360 sales at 325K compared to the PS3's 275K. Whatever July's NPD numbers end up being, we have a feeling that our analyst friends will be correct and the 360 will have had a decent July. Pass the champagne!
"We definitely want to make sure that [the PlayStation Store] offers quality titles and games that our consumers are going to enjoy" Lempel told GamesIndustry.biz, saying that "depending on what type of UI you have you can accommodate a lot of titles." Then, Lempel throws in a verbal left hook, saying that "over at the competitors' UI they may have some issues just displaying content, and scrolling up and down lists isn't the easiest way to find things." Ouch. We'll be the first to acknowledge the 360's XBLM may not incorporate the best way to navigate content, but the PSN isn't all peaches and creme either. Maybe Sony is just feeling the need to blow off some steam because, as we all know, releasing a 2.4 update can cause a lot of unwanted stress.
Ooh, did you hear that analysts? Burn!
With his PS3 prediction in tow, Divinich believes that Microsoft will respond by announcing a price cut for the Xbox 360 during next month's E3. Furthermore, Divinich believes Microsoft may also announce a new Xbox 360 model with new features (Blu-Ray, perhaps?). Should the price cut take place, Divinich expects Sony to follow suit within two months of the announcement.
So, let's get the icky news out of the way first. Just as the analysts predicted, console sales in general did not see any magical Grand Theft Auto IV effect. The Xbox 360 was only able to move about 186K units in May while Sony was able to do a bit better selling around 208K PS3s and the Wii just keeps on selling like crazy, moving an astonishing 675K units. And even though GTAIV didn't spur new hardware sales it did itself sell very, very well. Being one of the only pro-Xbox 360 highlights in this May NPD report is mention that the 360 version of GTAIV outsold the PS3 version nearly two to one, selling some 871K units compared to the PS3's 442K. And you are correct, we will take pride in that GTAIV sales fact.
Check the break for a complete breakdown of May's NPD report including the top ten video games and a list of all console sales. Also, we recommend putting on two layers of fanboy armor, because we have a hunch that you'll need double protection this month.
In a preview of May's NPD sales, the analytical crew over at Lazard Capital Markets and Wedbush Morgan securities are reporting that GTAIV's tremendous software sales in May did not result in a "meaningful increase" for either the Xbox 360 or PS3 as was previously expected. "We do not believe the recent release of GTA IV has generated meaningful incremental demand for the Xbox 360 or PS3 platforms" commented Colin Sebastian of Lazard Capital Markets, suggesting that an actual hardware price cut would generate a more noticeable increase in demand.
Sounds to us like GTAIV wasn't the big console seller that Microsoft wanted to be, which is too bad. Though, we have a hunch Rockstar is more than happy with the truckloads of cash GTAIV has dumped on their lap.
It's not all sunshine and roses for the Xbox 360 though, as the Playstation 3 still holds the lead in overall UK sales for 2008 thus far. As it stands, there still remains a 10% gap between the consoles, though it's worth noting that the gap stood at 20% before the launch of GTAIV.
Update: Ahem, the numbers are for the UK, not all of Europe.
The reason: market perception. Analyst extraordinaire Michael Pachter gave his two cents, noting that Microsoft has "an image issue." Essentially, the 360, according to Pachter, is perceived as a console for hardcore gamers only, whereas the PS3 (and more specifically Sony) is perceived as family friendly. Aaron Greenberg, 360 product manager, naturally disagrees, noting that the Xbox 360 has more million-selling titles than either the Wii or PS3 and that the 360 has "the largest game lineup, and the most exclusive titles."