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Wii-PS3 gap narrowing, still a battle though

Famitsu publisher Enterbrain decided to toss out some numbers regarding the PlayStation 3 and the Nintendo Wii. Seems the Wii is outselling the PS3 by two to one in Japan. Now, now, put those jeers and stabbing comments away, ladies and gents. Two to one... in Japan. Japan, where the Wii is incredibly huge. Just two to one. Monetarily, the two are on equal grounds. Numerically, it's double. The gap used to be much, much larger -- slightly beyond the four to one ratio by the end of January.

Does this mean the fad for the Wii is dying down? Or that the PS3 is picking up sales? We can't say that "everyone already has a Wii now" because look at the sales of the Nintendo DS -- always on top of the sales charts. Maybe Nintendo is severely limiting supply. Whatever the case, it's good to know that the gap is narrowing and as more games come out for both systems, we'll see a much tighter struggle for market power in Japan.

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Reader Comments

(Page 1)

1. I for one can't believe people still want Wii. People complain that the PS3 doesn't have any good games, look at the Wii. It only has like one or two.

Posted at 3:47PM on Apr 5th 2007 by Vincent060

2. This is ... an odd spin on a numbers game. When you look at it (3 to 1, 2 to 1), it is quite easy to narrow that gap. For instance:

10 Wiis
2 PS3s

That's a 5 to 1 ratio

12 Wiis
4 PS3s

That's a 3 to 1 ratio

Gap narrowed? No.

As the first poster said, units sold is what matters. If Nintendo is ahead by 3 million units one month, and then only 2 million units the next, then you have a narrowing gap. The EU launch may have helped for March though. We'll see with NPD data being released in another 2 weeks or so.

Posted at 3:52PM on Apr 5th 2007 by Dolla Dolla

3. @ Vicent060

I currently own both, and I can definately see how those who don't have a Wii really could still wan't one despite great lack of games. It's new, and it's a very differnt type of experience than gaming of the past - even if all you ever play is Wii sports.

With that said though, I truly do believe that the Wii does have a lot of fad-factor going with it right now. It's hot, new, and everybody who is anybody seems to want one. Young people, old people, people who are disable and only have one arm (seriously, I work in a hospital, and it is the rage with people who can't fully use both arms, or hands).

After having mine 5 months now I find myself playing the PS3 more than ever. Will the Tickle Me Elmo/Furby effect wear off, only to have the Black Beast crush it? I think so. But then again, the DS is rock solid to this day, and trampling all who dare get in it's double screened way.

Posted at 3:57PM on Apr 5th 2007 by Wonderflex

4. I love it when you guys try to put a positive spin on negative PS3 news. Nick, you know better. You know damn well that software sales mean success to a console, and I'm also pretty sure you know that a greater install base relates pretty directly to higher software sales. Closing the monetary gap means nothing at all. As was already pointed out, Sony loses money on every PS3 (almost $200 usd for anyone who's counting) while Nintendo profits on every Wii sold. In the long run, the current numbers don't even mean much - the two consoles aren't even five months old yet.

This is totally one of those "smiley faced penis articles" I was talking about a few months back. You're a good writer Nick, and I expect better of you.

Posted at 4:07PM on Apr 5th 2007 by Mike

5. Unless of course this was Colbertesque satire.

Posted at 4:08PM on Apr 5th 2007 by Mike

6. @Dolla Dolla

You do realize that NPD is for North America only, right?

Posted at 4:19PM on Apr 5th 2007 by theDude

7. There are inaccuracies. The article is referring to total sales. As of the week ending April 1st, sales numbers stand as follow in Japan:

PS3: 846,129
Wii: 2,052,397

This is the "2 to 1" lead. As you can see, overall is more than 2:1. Worse yet, weekly sales were as follows for the week ending April 1st:

PS3: 17,510
Wii: 52,785

More than 3:1. Note that the week ending April 1st was the PS3's worst ever week in Japan. Aside from a few sales bumps when games were released, the PS3 has done nothing but decline in sales in Japan (and everywhere else).

The Wii is still supply constrained in Japan, in the US, and in Europe. Anecdotally, demand seems to be the highest in Europe.

Posted at 4:24PM on Apr 5th 2007 by Jesse

8. I broke this into two posts because this is a separate issue worth looking at individually.

This site has been buying into the "We sold this much money worth of video game stuff" line that Sony has been proclaiming. They've routinely said, "revenues are higher than last year" to cover up their bad sales. Let me be clear:

Revenues are bullshit, and mean *nothing* for gaming.

Two things are valuable: Profit and potential profit. Each sold unit is a potential profit -- associated with tie in ratio. Despite the disparity in pricing for games, the Wii and PS3 carry approximately equal potential profit per unit installed. Therefore, having a Wii on the market and having a PS3 on the market offer Sony the same value regardless of their cost to the consumer.

If you want to start talking about money instead of sales, you should restrict the conversation to numbers that mean something like profit. If you want to go ahead and calculate the profit Sony made from their PS3 sales instead of talking about the sales numbers, then compare that with the profit Nintendo made from Wii sales, go ahead. Otherwise, talk about the potential profit, which is the number of units sold.

Posted at 4:26PM on Apr 5th 2007 by Jesse

9. @ Dolla Dolla

This article says something different. If Wii to PS3 sales were 3 to 1 and now are 2 to 1 that would be a gain in ground for PS3 still not good enough as they are being outsold, but catching up (sales 1:1) could be in the foreseeable future according to the article. It is a gap in sales 3:1 vs 2:1 that it refers to not a number of units.

Posted at 4:26PM on Apr 5th 2007 by DirtDiver

10. I mean the gap should close in as the PS3 is the other pretty graphic machine selling there. They don't buy the Xbox 360.

But it is amazing how much better the Wii is doing when the PS3 is the only work horse. I guess this proves graphics arn't really a big selling point to gamers. You could also say that half of the PS3's could have been bought for Bluray, so that doesn't help it as a gaming machine.

Now all Sony has to do is lower that damn price.

Posted at 4:53PM on Apr 5th 2007 by coyurtney

11. coyurtney,

"I guess this proves graphics arn't really a big selling point to gamers."

Actually, it seems graphics are important to HARDCORE gamers, but not the casual gamers.... and that's where Nintendo is picking up the slack that Sony and MS are dropping. The hardcore gamers are picking up a PS3, or a 360 for the HD graphics, and the titles they know and love from the last generation. The Wii appeals to a broader audience - people who don't normally identify themselves as "gamers" are taking an interest in the Wii, which was Nintendo's goal all along.

I'm a hardcore gamer, and I'm getting a Wii as soon as I can find one, and a PS3 as soon as I can afford one.

Posted at 5:01PM on Apr 5th 2007 by Mike

12. Mike, I agree as I am hardcore and own a 360 , Wii and a HD LCD. I have noticed that I can't play games like Godfather on the Wii after playing something like Crackdown but the grapchics don't seem to matter to me in Mario games or some Nintendo first party.

I guess my point is , is there not Hardcore gamers in Japan? Then why is the gap so big?

I to will get a PS3 then I can afford and the games are there.

Also as a HD game fan who owns a 360, I still haven't seen a reason to get a PS3 now. I feel I have the 360 for graphics and a Wii for new game types.

Posted at 5:18PM on Apr 5th 2007 by coyurtney

13. coyurtney, Yea, Japan's got it's share of hardcore gamers, same as any territory - it's also got a lot more casual gamers, or people that don't identify as gamers, and that's where Nintendo is dominating.

Let's say 30% of the population identifies themselves as "hardcore gamers". Maybe half of them are ready to make the financial investment that is the PS3, so that's 15% of the population. The other 70% would identify themselves as either casual gamers or non gamers. Now let's say that a third of them are interested in a Wii right now - that's 23%. Couple that with the crossover consumers (those that buy both) and you get Nintendo's gaping lead.

These are fictional numbers - I could be way off on my percentages - it's more meant to illustrate how I'm guessing the gap has formed.

Posted at 5:36PM on Apr 5th 2007 by Mike

14. (Agreeing with the consesus that a 2:1 ratio is not such a good thing)

Think about this: 2:1 ratio is sustained throughout generation

In the end, it would be Wii with 50% of the market, PS3 with 25% (example), 65 million units vs. 32.5 million

the point of a ratio is that it expresses a relation between two numbers, same relation, different scale

If you pump up the numbers, 2:1 looks pretty bad

But the PS3 is doing well enough in the Japanese market, its got some great niche hits over there (like Gundam)

Posted at 7:44PM on Apr 5th 2007 by Mr Khan

15. @TheDude

Yes, I realize NPD is NA. I am referring on a Worldwide level. In Europe, PS3 will dominate in March due to release. Wii will dominate NA and Japan. So, the gap would only narrow if the PS3's sales in Europe helped push it ahead in Worldwide sales. Otherwise, the gap will widen.

@DirtDiver

I see what you mean (sales 1:1 vs units 1:1). But the article is only pointing to a week of sales. The sales in Japan fluctuate every week. For instance, just two weeks ago, the ratio was 4 to 1 in favor of the Wii(84,495 to 20,008). Last week, the ratio was 3 to 1 in favor of the Wii(52,785 to 17,510).

So, this sales gap is consistently fluxing.

Posted at 10:26PM on Apr 5th 2007 by Dolla Dolla

16. I still wonder how many of the PS3 sales are for the three-four good games out there and how many more people are buying PS3s just as a cheaper alternative to a blu-ray drive with HMDI input.

I think there are some home-theatre enthusiasts who have already purchased a PS3 for that reason? I wonder if say 1 in 10 PS3s sold are not sold to gamers but rather to movie-enthusiasts? I wish somebody would do a study on that. The ratio is probably more like 1:20 or 1:50 I guess who buy a PS3 with movies as the main goal/purpose?

Posted at 10:58PM on Apr 5th 2007 by Wes

17. I own a Wii but i don't pick sides. I think people are starting to understand that the Wii is just another way to play games and that its COMPLETELY different from the Ps3. The Ps3 has more then quadruple (is that spelled right?) the power of the Wii. The Wii has some fun classic games and exretemely fun newer games and has backwards compatibility. The Ps3 has an IMMENSE ammount of older games that can be used and has visually stunning games that cant be challenged. I think if you want the full gaming expierience you need both the Wii and the Ps3.

Posted at 11:40PM on Apr 5th 2007 by Elliot

18. Nick, how much does Sony pay you to spin their abysmal numbers on a consistent daily basis?

"This is totally one of those 'smiley faced penis articles' I was talking about a few months back."

Quoted for truth.

Posted at 12:14AM on Apr 6th 2007 by Chris

19. I actually started to see the narrowing gap a few days ago after looking at vgcharts. Pretty interesting for a console that has "no games" and cost $600!

Posted at 12:42AM on Apr 6th 2007 by GL

20. "Monetarily, the two are on equal grounds."

Are you mental? The wii is *profitable* that means that nintendo makes money on each Wii sold. From the get go. While Sony is loosing money on each PS3 sold.

This means if the Wii is selling 2:1 against the PS3, the Wii is actually more like 3:1 in asmuch as a cost differental goes in terms of "making money"

So nintendo is making threee times more money than what sony is loosing lol. ouch.

I guess you are trying to say people are spending the same amount on ps3s that they are on Wiis. Not that it does Sony a lick of good... In fact, the more they buy, the more money Sony looses. Not only that, they don't even have enough attach rate to make up for the loss on the consoles yet, so for quite some time, this is a big loosing game for Sony.

All the while the Wii is making Nintendo money for every accessory, game and console, right from the beginning.

These guys do make these things to make money right?

Posted at 1:50AM on Apr 6th 2007 by aki

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