PS3 Sales Ahead of 360’s for the Year, Analysts Predict Shifts Incoming

This generation of video game consoles has seen numerous monumental shifts so far. Sony came out on top in the previous generation, but was ousted when Microsoft beat them to release by a full year. Couple that with Nintendo’s wildly successful bid for the casual market, and Sony suddenly found themselves playing a bit of catchup. Ever since the introduction of the PS3 Slim though, things have been looking up for the behemoth, and this year is looking like no exception.

According to Jesse Divnich from EEDAR, the PS3 has outsold the Xbox 360 by 10% in the first six months of this year. In addition, the console is outselling its competition worldwide, though North America continues to be the place where the 360 thrives. Billy Pidgeon of M2 Research said :

Should Microsoft release a successor to Xbox 360 and shift the pipeline for hardcore games over to the new consoles, that would be a possible scenario by which PS3 could bypass Xbox 360’s active installed base. This scenario would give PS3 the opportunity to soak up the hardcore sector.

With Nintendo’s recently-announced Wii U and Sony’s heavy emphasis on the PS Vita, a new Xbox cannot be too far off. David Cole from DFC Intelligence predicts a shift towards Sony’s console by the year’s end when it comes to active systems rather than those simply purchased:

In terms of our forecasts, we have the PS3 sales matching Xbox 360 in 2011 but that still leaves them behind in cumulative sales. However, when we measure what we call active installed base or number of systems in use we forecast that the PS3 will reach the Xbox 360 this year. This is because the failure rate on many older Xbox 360 systems was high. I know personally I have gone through 3 Xbox 360 systems and still have my original PS3.

Though the failure rate on the 360 has improved significantly, there was a time when it was estimated that one in every three systems failed, which – before an extended warranty offer by Microsoft – resulted in another system being sold as a replacement unit. How many people do you know who have gone through a couple of 360s by now? Finally, Colin Sebastian of RW Baird leaves us with what he believes should be Sony’s game plan to put them ahead of Microsoft:

…as quickly as the tide changes in the video game industry, you would never want to count the PS3 out – for instance, if Sony combined a strong first party lineup (e.g. Uncharted/Resistance) with another hardware price reduction, I believe we would see a nice pick-up in unit sales this fall.

So who’s right? Who’s wrong? Nobody will know for sure until this generation of gaming consoles is in the record books. One thing’s for sure – with all the upcoming heavy hitters, it’s going to be a fun ride.