Fiscal Q1 sales figures hit the net recently, and the results show PlayStation 3 may be closing the gap. Microsoft sold 1.2 million Xbox 360 while Sony‘s PS3 sold 1.1 million consoles in the same time period. On face value this appears that Microsoft is still besting Sony for yet another fiscal quarter, but this may be short sighted, considering Sony’s momentum.
The Xbox 360 offers three different versions of their console. The arcade which retails for $199, the Pro which retails for $299, and the Elite which retails for $399. On the flip side Sony offers two versions of it’s shiny black console. The 80GB version which retails for $399, and the 160GB version which retails for $499. Generally speaking, it is a foregone conclusion that in this struggling economy, the more expensive console is the harder sell.
It is unlikely that every Xbox 360 sold was the Elite version and simple math will reveal that Sony’s higher priced offerings commanded more revenues. How is it that with a price as low as $199 the Xbox 360 only managed to outsell the $399 PS3 by a mere 100,000 consoles? This goes to show that the battle for the hearts of core game players is still very much anyone’s ball game.
It’s only a matter of time before Sony lowers the cost of its technical masterpiece, which will spur even higher sales. PlayStation 3 overall sales lag Xbox 360 by just under 8 million units, even with Microsoft’s year long head start. It may be that $299 is the magical price point to really keep the momentum going and the install base expanding.
The real winner here is Sony, who has driven more revenue, while selling 100,000 less consoles than its closest competitor. Profit on the other hand, is a different story, since Sony is allegedly still losing money on every console sold. Sony has already lowered some of the manufacturing costs with more changes in the pipeline. Once they lower the price, there is no stopping the PlayStation 3.