Daily Reaction: PS3 Outsells 360, Doesn’t Change Anything

January 10, 2013Written by Dan Oravasaari

When the PS3 originally launched, consumers and journalists around the world were throwing in the towel and already saying their farewells to Sony’s high priced console. Now, as we reach the last years of the PS3’s time in the limelight, the Daily Reaction crew of Seb and Dan discuss how the market has changed for Sony, and just what this could mean for their future in the next generation of console wars.

Dan: Having bought the PS3 when it launched at the $599 price tag, I fully understood that from the beginning Sony would be the black sheep of the generation. What I did not know though, was that for years Sony would have to contend with their console being called doomed. Now we can look back as an industry and see that the PS3 is not only a success, but has been able to overtake its leading competitor, the Xbox 360, in worldwide sales by moving 77 million PS3s compared to 76 million. A marginal lead overall, but one that shows just how fast the PS3 has been able to pick up its pace, despite having launched a year behind Microsoft, and suffered from an incredibly expensive launch.

While all of this is very promising for Sony, as they have been able to make that comeback that no one would have thought possible, they still have dropped the ball in one of the world’s biggest gaming markets, the US. As we have seen over the years, the Xbox 360 has been the dominant force within The States, continually outselling the PS3 in both console and game sales month after month. This means that even though Sony has been able to gain traction overall, they still have to find a way to make up ground in a market they cannot afford to lose.

Given the attention that the US market gets within the games industry, it is easy to miss the significance of Sony’s presence outside of the US territory, meaning that the lead the 360 once held has dwindled these few years. Sadly, given the lack of information from worldwide sales, the true power of the Sony product outside the US shores is nearly impossible to gauge.

Seb: First off, before I do any proper DRing – congrats to Sony and the PS3. It’s been a long, long road for them, but they’ve managed to do it, they’ve managed to come… uh, second. Yay!

There’s no point rehashing what went wrong with the PS3’s launch, but it’s really a testament to PlayStation’s brand power and the quality of the games that they managed to pull off this epic Rocky moment. And it’s because of those quality games that I’m happy. I’m no fanboy, and I really can’t be bothered with all these console wars, but it would have been sad to see the best first party supported HD console fail. Hopefully this proves to Sony that next gen they should keep up the onslaught of AAA exclusives we’ve all grown so fond of.

Like you said, not enough information is known about the non-US market, although it’s pretty clear the PS3 must be doing very well if worldwide sales have overtaken the 360 despite the US deficit. Japan is obviously in the bag for Sony, but Europe has also always had a very strong PlayStation affiliation – with the exception of the UK.

From a profitability perspective, the PS3 is still in 3rd place, of course, but the important thing to note is that most of that is down to the botched launch. With the PS4 thought to be using more conventional technology, and likely to not be sold at a $200 loss, Sony may finally have a product on their hands that makes them some money.

The biggest hurdle Sony faces going into the next generation is the 76-million user strong 360 ecosystem. Unlike previous gens, gamers are now tied to their console with digital purchases, subscriptions and achievements/trophies. Convincing them to give that up and switch over to another platform that’ll mostly play the same games is going to be tough – and, obviously, Microsoft will be trying to do the same to PlayStation gamers (and with a better marketing department).

The main thing to take away from all this is to never underestimate Sony and their power to survive over the long term. They’re the tortoise to Microsoft’s hare. The other important fact is that PS3 sales and 360 sales are pretty much equal, publisher support is pretty much equal and general popularity is pretty much equal. No one won the console war, no one really lost. Don’t get your panties in a twist if you’re a 360 fanboy, and don’t get too excited if you’re a PS3 fanboy. Both did well enough to ensure tons of games and another generation. That’s what matters. Plus, we’ll continue to have the healthy competition between the two giants that is vital to us getting the best stuff.

Oh, and now that it turns out the PS3 didn’t kill the PS brand, can we have Kutaragi back?

Did you ever think the PS3 would outsell the 360? Do you think the PS3 will continue to outsell the 360? Or do you think that sales will bounce between both systems? Let us know in the comments, or by following Dan on Twitter so that he will finally overtake Seb on followers in 6 years.

Be sure to email DR ideas, podcast comments and reasons why the PS4 is doomed to [email protected].