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Playstation 3 was number one selling console February 2011

David Hughes's picture

According to data compiled by HULIQ News, Sony’s Playstation 3 was the best-selling console in February 2011 – data that should be backed up by the coming NPD Group report for the month, due in mid-March.

For several months now, HULIQ has brought its readers a weekly tracking chart tracking the top 20-selling video game items (consoles, software, and key accessory items like Kinect and Move). As a continuing effort to expand on the publishing of that data, this month I will embark on two sets of predictions as to what the official NPD Group report will show for the month just concluded. This first prediction will focus on the hardware and accessories market, with a second one concerning software sales to follow.

The depth and breadth of HULIQ’s data base is far smaller than the resources at the NPD Group’s disposal, so getting into hard numbers will be a trickier proposition. What I do, however, feel relatively confident in predicting is that the Playstation 3 was the number one selling console system for February 2011. Though all but the base 160GB version of the console have barely registered sales-wise, the standard version (and the special Killzone 3 bundle currently available) was consistently near the top of all hardware items through the month. System-exclusive titles like Killzone 3 exist to help push hardware sales, and the demand for the game seems to have fueled enough demand for the system for Sony to emerge on top.

In setting out second and third places, complicating things is that the Wii is available in two SKUs but the Xbox 360 is available in four different versions. Though the black version of the Wii console consistently outsold all versions of the Xbox 360 after the first week of February, combined sales of the four versions of the Xbox 360 should be enough to keep it in second place. That said, its fall in sales from the holiday period has been rather steep (including demand for the Kinect), something that is only just this week (i.e., first week of March) starting to recover. This is a much tougher call, however, than putting the Playstation 3 on top.

To put it relationally:

  1. Playstation 3
  2. Xbox 360
  3. Nintendo Wii

Ranking the three systems, however, is only part of the story. While this is a much more difficult position considering the limited data sources HULIQ operates on (compared to the NPD Group), let’s try to put some numbers on those rankings. Guiding these predictions will be the numbers for February 2010 (year-over-year comparison): Playstation 3: 360,100; Xbox 360: 422,000; Wii: 397,900. Also useful are the numbers for January 2011: Playstation 3: 267,000; Xbox 360: 381,000; Wii: 319,000.

The Playstation 3 saw a major trend upwards from January 2011-February 2011, so the number for February will be clearly above the units sold last month. The uptick in PS3 console alongside Killzone 3 pre-orders as well as the value proposition posed by the special bundle (which essentially gave consumers a free copy of the game) should be enough for Sony to see a modest year-over-year increase. HULIQ predicts 390,000 units for the PS3.

The Xbox 360 saw a major downward trend from January 2011-February 2011 as demand for the Kinect evaporated with a dearth of quality new software post-launch. There is simply no way Microsoft equaled its sales from last month, which will give it a bad year-over-year comparison. HULIQ predicts 350,000 units for the Xbox 360.

Nintendo has seen some fairly brutal year-over-year declines lately and this month will not significantly improve the matter. That said, according to HULIQ’s data the Wii actually gained some momentum in the latter part of February, enough perhaps to rise in the January-February comparison. HULIQ predicts 340,000 units for the Wii.

To summarize:

  1. Playstation 3: 390,000 units (+8.3% YOY)
  2. Xbox 360: 350,000 units (-17% YOY)
  3. Nintendo Wii: 340,000 units (-15% YOY)

Commenting on the accessories market (e.g. Kinect and Playstation Move) is made more difficult by the lack of any recent updates from Microsoft and especially Sony. It is safe to say the Kinect saw a major contraction in sales from January-February, while Move may have done more than merely flatline. Complicating matters for the Playstation Move is that most of the hardware sales have come through unofficial bundles of the hardware with Killzone 3 which the NPD Group will likely not count, as they typically eschew counting sales of one item when it is sold as part of a bundle.

The numbers listed above can be treated as what is hopefully more than an educated guess, but the NPD Group report is as close as anyone in the industry has to a ‘final word’ on retail sales data. When the report for February 2011 comes out, HULIQ will report on the official numbers and note where our numbers were wrong. That said, these predictions give us something to talk about in the two weeks or so before that report actually comes out!

Image source: Amazon.com listing for the 160GB Playstation 3 console

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