“Lack of diversity” will push 360 below PS3, says analyst

Sunday, 14 November 2010 12:27 GMT By Joe Anderson


DFC Intelligence’s David Cole has said global PS3 sales will pass those of Xbox 360 in 2011 because the Microsoft machine “lacked the diversity to appeal to a broader international market.”

Speaking to IndustryGamers, Cole said because Xbox 360 has a focus on shooters more than any other genre, and this, combined with a US focus, will soon see it fall into third place.

“We have been forecasting for the past three years that the PS3 would catch up to the 360 by 2011. I think the big issue is that the 360 has been primarily the platform for FPS games and has lacked the diversity to appeal to a broader international market… mainly Japan and Europe where Sony is very strong. The Xbox 360 was just much stronger in North America than it was globally,” he said.

“The main issue I think is Sony (and also Nintendo) being so strong in Europe and Japan.  I think in terms of doing things differently they should probably have focused more on Europe and just given up on Japan. They would have had a better chance in Europe.”

Kinect has seen Microsoft change its focus somewhat, however Cole doesn’t necessarily see this as being enough to stop Sony from taking second place.

“Going forward I don’t know if there is much they can do. They will try with the Kinect but I don’t see that working. I think the PS3 will soon pass the 360 for good,” he said.

Other analysts contacted by IndustryGamers at least seemed a bit more optimistic when it came to Microsoft’s chances of staving off Sony.

“We do not believe Microsoft has in some way squandered a first to market advantage; particularly when you consider how most game pundits back in the day expected Sony to dominate the next generation,” said Janco Partners’ Mike Hickey.

“Perhaps more important is where we go from here, with no meaningful console introduction in the medium term; we believe Microsoft’s Kinect system is the most identifiable organic installed base accelerator (aside from continued price cuts and/or aggressive promotional bundling), which will likely extend their global lead over Sony’s PS3 console.”

EEDAR’s Jesse Divnich seemed to agree with Hickey. “Nothing went wrong. The achievements of the Xbox 360 are incredible,” he said. “It went from fighting for a distant second place last generation to now being considered one of the healthiest platforms to develop for. The PlayStation 2 outsold the Xbox nearly 7 to 1 in Europe and nearly 40 to 1 in Japan.  In 2010, PlayStation 3 is outselling the Xbox 360 a tad over 1 to 1 in Europe and only about 10 to 1 in Japan.

“For a company that entered the video game space late, going up against two competitors with decades of loyal gamers, Microsoft should be proud of their accomplishments. Any faults to point out would simply be nitpicking.”

Wedbush Morgan’s Michael Pachter also had his say, predicting that Kinect may see Xbox 360 remain in second place for good.

“What did people expect? [Sony] have a huge advantage in Japan, have been roughly equal in Europe and pretty far behind in the US. It is only a matter of time before the lead in Japan erodes the lead in the US. I would NOT say that anything has gone ‘wrong.’

“At the beginning of the cycle, I thought PS3 would win because of greater loyalty in Europe and a stacked deck in Japan. Nintendo surprised me greatly with their phenomenal sales, and after a year or two, I said that I thought Sony would still finish second due to the Japanese advantage. I now think that with Kinect and a pricing advantage, Microsoft might hold them off, and I certainly don’t think that Microsoft has done anything wrong at all.”

Currently the gap between PS3 and 360 is around 3 million units.