InsideMicrosoft

part of the Blog News Channel

Xbox 360 Tops Everyone, Thanks To Halo 3

Xbox 360 sales in September were up, way up, enough that Microsoft beat all comers, including the Nintendo Wii. Microsoft sold 528,000 consoles, almost double the 276,000 in August, 27,000 more than the Wii (which saw sales rise 25%) and almost five times the number of PS3’s sold. Sony’s PS3 not only got its ass kicked by Microsoft, but PS3 sales fell from 130,00 to 119,000, down 29%.

Halo 3, usurprisingly, was the top selling game in September, selling 3.3 million units among all three versions. Not only was that 12 times the number two game, it also outsold the entire rest of the top ten selling games. Combined. Twice. Yeah, it outsold the aggregate of all other nine top selling games by a factor of 2-to-1.

74% of all game sales were for the Xbox 360, compared to 17% for the Wii and a scant 9% for the PS3. Microsoft outsold Sony 8-to-1, and without Halo 3, they still outsold 2-to-1.

If you don’t combine the three Halo editions, then the top selling game in September was Halo 3. The number two seller? Halo 3: Limited Edition. And number three? You guessed it, Halo 3: Legendary Edition. The average sale price was $69. The $130 Legendary edition sold twice as many copies as Sony’s big release, Heavenly Sword.

Madden 08 is doing best on the 360, selling 173,000 copies, almost triple the PS3’s 62,000 or the Wii’s 58,000. BioShock, a PC/360 exclusive, has sold 641,000 copies on the 360. Skate on the 360 outsold the PS3 version 6-to-1.

In actual dollar values, industry sales in September were $1.36 billion, up from $778 million the year before. Game sales were $550 million, up from $335, and console hardware sales were $418 million, up from $145.

Microsoft will start bundling two games with the Premium and Elite Xbox 360s. Buy a console now and you’ll get Forza Motorsport 2, probably the best racing game for the Xbox 360, and action RPG Marvel: Ultimate Alliance. Expect to see this bundle over the holiday season, starting at the end of October. I hope my Xbox 360 red rings during that period, so Best Buy has to honor my in-store warranty with a box containing the free games.

Microsoft is also replacing the Xbox 360 Core system with the Xbox 360 Arcade. It’s the same console, but it comes with a 256-megabyte memory card, a wireless controller (instead of the annoying wired version), an HDMI port (but no HDMI cable) and a disk with demos of some Xbox Live Arcade games.

October 18th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Xbox 360, Xbox | 2 comments



Sony Cuts PS3 Price (Permanently) To $400 (and $500)

Sony has changed, yet again, the pricing scheme for its PlayStation 3 console, creating a new edition that is the first competitively priced PS3. The new PS3 costs $400, equal to what the main Xbox 360 used to cost and halfway between the price of the 360 Premium and the 360 Elite. It has a 40-gigabyte hard drive, twice what the Premium has and 1/3 what the Elite had. It does not have backwards compatibility with PS2 games.

Meanwhile, Sony is keeping the current model, the 80-gigabyte one, charging $500 for it. That model is available, at that price right now.

Here it is on Amazon (add it to your cart, and you’ll see the new price):

On the other hand, the $400 PS3 is not available now, but it will be available November 2.

So, it’s great that Sony cut the price, but once again they’ve failed to consider the market before an announcement. The problems:

  • The PlayStation 2 is still very popular, with its games selling well and people still buying the console. This means many PlayStation fans have held off on PS3 purchases, waiting for a price drop. Now, the price drop is finally here, but the cheap console doesn’t play PS2 games. That means that many of the people who waited for the price drop are exactly the people who wanted the backwards compatibility. Want to bet at least some people hold off and wait a little longer?
  • November 2 isn’t far off, but it is 15 days away. Want to bet sales dip drastically for the rest of the month?

Why did Sony axe the backwards compatibility? They’re known to be nazis on squeezing the price of components as low as possible in order to save money and lower prices, and they probably saved a very small amount removing the backwards compatibility. The amount they saved is not proportional to the amount of people it was important to. I guarantee you (assuming BC cost $10 of the price of the console) that a $410 PS3 with BC would well outsell a $400 without it.

Sony’s developing a problem with too many units of its console. Every time they drop the price, they change the hard drive capacity and the bundle. It’s getting confusing. First, we had 20 (no wifi) and 60 gigs, then the 20 gig was discontinued, then the 60-gig was discounted (and got software BC) and we got the 80-gig (with software BC, now we’ve got no 60 gig, a cheaper 80 gig, and a newer 40 gig (with no BC, no wifi and no memory card reader).

Sony has said that consumer are confused by multiple editions of a console, yet it keeps messing with the types of PS3s, not just the price. Microsoft has changed pricing once, and added one new type, that’s it. Simple is better, but Sony has no idea.

Anyway, the $400 PS3, when it does arrive, should be a force and prove very popular. Microsoft should look into dropping the Xbox 360’s price another $25, to make the cheapest edition cheaper than the Wii and the most expensive edition only $25 more than the PS3 (and bearing triple the hard drive space). The PS3 is going to sell much better, though not necessarilly well enough, and Microsoft should have a response.

October 18th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Sony, Xbox 360, Xbox | no comments

Hosting sponsored by GoDaddy

XBox Live: As Little As $18

2859-or-lower-xbox-live.png

Depending on how much effort you are willing to put in, a good deal at Buy.com today can turn into an amazing deal at Buy.com tomorrow.

Buy.com today has a 13-month card for Xbox Live (12 months, plus a 1 month free bonus) for just $38.59, with free shipping. That’s a really good deal all by itself, over ten bucks off the regular $50 price. However…

New users of Google Checkout can get an additional ten dollars off, making the final price $28.59, again with free shipping. Now we’re talking almost half off. However…

Buy.com offers a special promotion on the Shopping Cart page. With this promotion, you get a free one-year subscription to a magazine of your choice (either weekly TV Guide or monthlies Maxim, Redbook, Blender or Computer Shopper). Now, that’s a good deal, getting Xbox Live for $28.59 plus a free magazine subscription. However…

If you decline the magazine offer after you make your purchase and mail in a rebate form along with a copy of your receipt, you get ten dollars back. That means your final price: $18.59, with free shipping.

You gonna get a better deal anywhere else? Of course not! Now, you may not be able to get the magazine offer when purchasing through Google Checkout. I’d check with Buy.com before the purchase, or complain after it, and you might get it. If you don’t, $28.59 is a great deal. If you do, either enjoy your magazine or enjoy the $18.59 deal. Also, if you can’t get the Google Checkout promotion, the $10 magazine rebate is just as good. No matter which way, you’re a winner, and you saved a bunch.

October 18th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Xbox Live, Xbox 360, Xbox | no comments

Is My Website Alive? Vista Sidebar Gadget

isalive-vista-sidebar-gadget.pngBecause you can never have enough Vista Sidebar Gadgets*, here’s another one you might want, if you’ve got your own website (or just really, really like one): The isAlive Gadget checks if your favorite website is online or not. You can set it to any website, tell it how often you want it to check, and have it play a sound when the website goes down (and when it comes back).

* - Not true! The limit for the number of Gadgets you can safely install is 347. After that, your computer eats you in your sleep.

October 18th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Sidebar, Vista, Windows | no comments