Whilst we are used to seeing the hardware sales figures for the US and Japan on a regular basis, via NPD Group and Media Create respectively, letting us know how well the console wars are progressing in those far-flung territories, UK numbers are harder to come by. UK hardware sales are monitored by GfK ChartTrack and to get them you need to be a subscriber. The TSA piggy bank fiercely guards the few pennies it contains so, unable to subscribe, we rely on other subscribing organisations to publish the numbers for us.
One reliably bi-annual source of those numbers is GAME Group PLC, the UK’s biggest video game retailer, who operate both the GAME and Gamestation chains of stores. This week they held their Annual General Meeting and presented their trading update to the 27th June. That trading update contains the figures for the current UK installed base of consoles as well as reproducing the figures from GAME’s last three updates. So how is the console war playing out in the UK? It looks like this:
Running down the latest set of numbers for the consoles we have the Nintendo DS way out in front with 9.1m sold, followed by the Wii with 5.4m, Xbox 360 with 3.9m, PSP with 3.3m, PS3 with 2.2m and finally the DSi with just 0.3m sold to date. As, arguably, the DSi is just another flavour of DS that leaves Sony’s two consoles trailing.
Things look even worse if we calculate the last year’s sales using the sets of numbers from both this year’s and last year’s AGMs, those dated 28/06/08 and 27/06/09. They show that the DS has sold 2.3m in the last 12 months, the Wii 2.3m, the 360 1.7m, the PS3 0.9m and the PSP just 0.5m.
So the 360 has been outselling the PS3 by almost two to one and the PS3 has been doing the same to the PSP. This shows two things. In its first eighteen months on sale the 360 sold 2.2m and it has come not far short of matching that in the last twelve. That shows you how successful last August’s price cut was. The second point is just how badly the PSP has sold in the past year. With the current £130, or less, PSP doing that badly, no wonder retailers and consumers are expressing some doubt about the forthcoming PSPgo, which is currently anticipated to retail for around £230.
The smart money is on a price cut for the PS3 no later than October, possibly announced as soon as August at Gamescom in Cologne. Given the weakness of the British pound how much of any price cut we will see is up for debate. The speculated $100 price cut may translate to £50 if we are lucky which would bring the PS3’s UK list price down to just £249 or just £20 more than a PSPgo.