The gloriously named Thomas Pain has given us quite an interesting GW, in which he questions the integrity of the majority of gaming journalism. Obviously, we almost wet our pants in excitement when we got this, so without further ado…
Well, is that true? After all, almost all news outlets were talking about “the unforeseen victory” of Microsoft in November, “the reversal of fortunes” that had happened overnight.
Follow me into this dark rabbit hole, to find out what actually happened.
A quick look at VGCharts LTD data for both consoles shows that since the price drop, Sony has closed down the gap between ps3 & Xbox by about 1 million units. That is, 4 month ago xbox360 was roughly 7 million units ahead, while now it’s 6 millions ahead.
But what’s most striking about these numbers isn’t the success of Sony, rather the failure of gaming journalism at large to report on crucial trends in the market.
In the same month that Sony finished the job it had started in August, NPD November numbers came out in which MS Xbox had outsold PS3 by 100,000. That is in US only.
A simple search on Google News shows about 300 articles covering NPD numbers, many of them with sensationalist headlines describing how Xbox has violently “beaten down”, “finally taken over” & done other naughty stuff to PS3. Good luck finding any report describing Sony closing down on Microsoft.
While US is the largest single market for console gaming, it only accounts for about 47 % of worldwide Market; that is less than half of it!
Now if you think selling US only information as overall worldwide info is outrageous, wait to see this.
In the same month of November, in Europe, PS3 outsold Xbox by a margin of about 215,000. Yep, that’s about twice the margin of victory MS had in America. In Japan, in the same period, PS3 outsold Xbox by about 140,000 units. And the fun ain’t over yet. In November, in terms of units sold in markets outside Europe, America & Japan, PS3 sold about 740,000 units (as much as it sold in US), while Xbox sold 500,000. That again gives Sony a 240,000 margin of victory.
Now, add up all the numbers, and you see that overall, in the month of November, Sony sold about 500,000 more consoles than Microsoft. That’s about… (Sigh)… half a million!
You see, it’s political news all over again; the balloon boy vomiting on screen gets presidential-level news coverage, while hundreds of thousands of boys dying somewhere in Africa barely squeeze themselves in the lower third of our TV screens, miserably crawling from right to left.
This is not a rant about console wars. Xbox & PS3 are both great console & they’re both doing great. Whatever console is set to win this cosmic war is irrelevant here (ironically, wii is gonna beat them both); what’s important is the sad state of affairs in Gaming Journalism when the whole establishment has been reduced to a circle of bloggers, copy/pasting the same articles off their RSS reader, inserting funny jokes here & there. All the while, the crucial trends gather dust in accessible statistics & available reports, waiting for someone to find them.
But perhaps, there’s no reason to get angry for. Only next time around, when you saw the word “analyst” being tossed around in the room, pause for a moment… and remember, that those guys in “the other side”, in that magazine, or website, are in no way more qualified to tell you what’s going on in the gaming world…than you. It’s sad, but true.