Call of Duty: Black Ops Screenshot

I wanted to log some quick reactions to the hardware sales numbers that I've been seeing across the web that were released recently.

First, here are the numbers for December, as I've seen them:

  1. Nintendo DS: 2,500,000 units sold
  2. Nintendo Wii: 2,360,000 units sold
  3. Xbox 360: 1,860,000 units sold
  4. PlayStation 3: 1,210,000 units sold

These results fall into line with what I expected, for the most part. Microsoft admitted that supply constraints hurt them in December, which I anticipated would happen. Nintendo managed to capitalize on this and come away 500,000 units ahead. Sony, meanwhile, managed to post a decent number of PS3 sales… but was still over a million units behind the leader.

Microsoft should be happy with its results overall. The Xbox 360 was the only console to sell more units in 2010 than in 2009, which is more impressive when you consider how much effect that lingering recessionary effects have had on the economy. It's no secret that Kinect has been huge for Microsoft in Q4, bolstered by strong marketing and word of mouth. You have to wonder what might have been possible if Microsoft hadn't run into supply issues in December. I still think that the Wii would have won out, but the final tally would have been a lot closer between the two. It's clear that, although Wii still outsold the Xbox 360 overall in 2010, momentum is on Microsoft's side heading into 2011. Without the "newness" factor for hardware like the slimmer Xbox 360 and the Kinect, Microsoft will be challenged to deliver a varied and strong software lineup to stay in the driver's seat.

Gran Turismo 5 Screenshot

Nintendo righted the Wii ship a little with decent December in terms of sales. Comparatively speaking, however, Nintendo's victory was hollow when you notice that Wii sales were down a whopping 38% year-over-year (YOY). Put that number next to a 42% increase YOY for the Xbox 360 and you can argue that Nintendo wasn't a winner at all. What surprised me about Nintendo's performance is that Super Mario All-Stars didn't seem to be a factor. The best selling Wii game, which ranked 2nd overall for December, was Just Dance 2. Donkey Kong Country Returns ranked 5th, and Epic Mickey finished in a respectable 6th place, moving over 1.3 million units. January looks to be challenging for Nintendo and the Wii as there no significant software is slated for release on the platform in January. Conversely, the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 each have pretty big releases this month. It's not only possible for the Xbox 360 to pull back out in front this month, but the PlayStation 3 could surprise.

Speaking of the PlayStation 3, the good news is that over 1.2 million units were sold. The bad news is that the PlayStation 3 still finished dead last in overall sales. Gran Turismo 5 did move over 550,000 units, but that number is underwhelming when you consider the time of year that the game was released. The best thing for Sony to do now is forget about 2010 and focus on the year at hand. If all of the first-party titles on Sony's slate for 2011 actually make their deadlines, this could be a bit of a comeback year. Killzone 3 and MLB 11 look good in Q1, and then Resistance 3 and Uncharted 3 should hit it big in Q4. I still believe that a price drop sometime in 2011 is going to be key for Sony to make any kind of competitive move against Microsoft and Nintendo… but we'll see if that actually comes to fruition.

December was another great month for Call of Duty: Black Ops, which was the best-selling game of 2010 despite being available for only 52 days. With the first map pack due on February 1st, look for sales to stay steady or slightly increase this month—especially late. Just Dance 2 and Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood also continued to sell extremely well, and I expect that trend to continue this month, although I do expect numbers to decrease at least slightly. The software sales chart had three Wii exclusives on it, which was most likely a good reason why Nintendo wound up back on top with the Wii. I think that Just Dance 2 will keep selling well, but the longevity of Donkey Kong Country Returns and Epic Mickey is far less certain. Epic Mickey's strong sales bode well, I think, for January's results as I expect one more Top 10 finish.

Feel free to react and comment below. Who do you like to be on top this month? Can Sony turn things around with Little Big Planet 2 and Mass Effect 2? Can Microsoft maintain their momentum? I'd love to hear your take.

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7 Comments on "Consoleation: December 2010 console gaming sales data"

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ZippyDSMlee
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5 years 8 months ago
[quote=Alv][quote=ZippyDSMlee]Anyone know if the 360 has broke even yet on the hardware costs?[/quote] Microsoft may have deliberately restricted supply to keep prices high and raise profits… depends on how price-sensitive consumers are, but given Kinect was the big thing in December, I strongly believe that those that really wanted to be first on the uptake would have been prepared to pay a premium, and those that didn’t (like myself) would have just sat back to see if the whole Kinect concept really did take off, regardless of most sensible prices. But in response the article in general, the relative ‘decline’… Read more »
Alv
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Alv
5 years 8 months ago
[quote=frogofdeath]I don’t think “monopolist” is the best term to describe Nintendo, at least not this generation. Nothing Nintendo has done with the Wii in the last 5 years shows monopolistic tendencies or desires. You must remember many were leaving Nintendo for dead before the Wii and some even suggested pulling a SEGA and going software only. The big N releases a new console, relatively low-end technology wise, with waggle controls that catches on with the “general” public. They don’t buy up other developers, partner with MS or Sony, or really do anything in the gaming industry that would lead to… Read more »
frogofdeath
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frogofdeath
5 years 8 months ago
[quote=Alv] But in response the article in general, the relative ‘decline’ of the Wii comes as no real surprise, especially given Xbox Kinect and PS Move. Effectively, MS and Sony are gaining share of the casual-gaming space at the expense of one-time monopolists Nintendo. [/quote] [quote]The lack of new IP and the general staleness of the Wii platform is totally indicative of a company sitting on it’s monopolist laurels. [/quote] I don’t think “monopolist” is the best term to describe Nintendo, at least not this generation. Nothing Nintendo has done with the Wii in the last 5 years shows monopolistic… Read more »
Alv
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Alv
5 years 8 months ago
[quote=ZippyDSMlee]Anyone know if the 360 has broke even yet on the hardware costs?[/quote] Microsoft may have deliberately restricted supply to keep prices high and raise profits… depends on how price-sensitive consumers are, but given Kinect was the big thing in December, I strongly believe that those that really wanted to be first on the uptake would have been prepared to pay a premium, and those that didn’t (like myself) would have just sat back to see if the whole Kinect concept really did take off, regardless of most sensible prices. But in response the article in general, the relative ‘decline’… Read more »
ZippyDSMlee
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5 years 8 months ago

I don’t think it matters if the WII sales well now NIN has made a butt load of money off it due to making money off console sales and having the lower console price.

Anyone know if the 360 has broke even yet on the hardware costs?

The PS3 is doing well even if like MS huge mistakes were made.

All in all I wish there is new WII hardware with upscaleing…. anyone know of good hardware that dose good time sensitive upscaleing?

crackajack
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crackajack
5 years 8 months ago
Nintendo has missed the time to lower the price of the wii. They should have done it before the launch of the 3DS (I’d say not later than November 2010) and after the launch of the 3DS announce the next stationary console for 2012, latest at TGS. The numbers are still top, but motion control is not their exclusive feature anymore and beside announced Zelda (that imo might not come for wii) they seem to have nothing in the store anymore and will hardly get sudden 3rd party support with good games. MS had more will to aggressively lower their… Read more »
frogofdeath
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frogofdeath
5 years 8 months ago
Interesting that all the consoles sold nice round numbers! 🙂 Seriously though, just wanted to comment that I enjoy reading these articles. I have no stake in the sales of consoles or games, nor do I really care who is the “winner” of the console war, but there’s a bit of nerd in me that enjoys reading about sales numbers. Lastly, just wanted to comment on the sales of the DS. That alone should make Nintendo the “winner”. Still amazing that the handheld continues to sell as well as it does this long in the life of the DS. I… Read more »
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