Microsoft struggled to find positive growth with 360 hardware sales in America last year, with numbers flat as a pancake compared to 2008.
Following the release of full-year NPD data last night, we can now see that 360 sales rose only 0.74 percent in 2009, up to 4,770,700 units sold from 4,735,560 in 2008.
By comparison, PS3 sales finally gathered pace in 2009, thanks to the introduction of PS3 Slim and a price cut, both announced at gamescom in August. In 2008, Sony sold 3,544,800 units of the machine in the US, rising a substantial 22.28% to 4,334,500 last year.
The 2009 race between Sony and Microsoft in the US ended neck-and-neck, with PS3 being beaten by 360 by only 436,200 consoles over the 12 months.
Sony's machine made a final surge to actually beat 360 in the key December sales period, despite just losing in the annual total race to the Microsoft console.
Let's look at some graphs. Why not? Here's 360 versus PS3 in 2008:
And here's the same story in 2009:
Analysts are already pointing to price cuts for both consoles in 2010, with Microsoft sure to make a major play with the Natal's release towards the end of the year.
Sorry for the shabbiness of the graphs. We'll get mart to make them next time.