Whilst it appears only Amazon has released details of what has sold over the Xmas period, I will take a look at some (unscientific) trends and observations that can be drawn from them.
I believe 2011 will be a very interesting time in the “console wars”, Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo will all be competing for your custom and there has been plenty of rumours to discuss over the coming year as to the future direction of all the “big name” firms.
So was Kinect THE console device to own over the Xmas period? Has Microsoft created a WII like frenzy with users flocking to its latest product Kinect? Well if the figures from Amazon are representative of the larger picture then – no. It appears the PS3 Blu-Ray controller took first place for console hardware sales this Xmas period, with Kinect crawling in at number 10. It seems that over the festive period, Kinect is not the tech which is getting people as excited. What does that say about the popularity of Kinect and the 360 if the number one slot is a PS3 piece of hardware? – Questions which can’t be answered merely from the figures of Amazon and rather unhelpfully its being stated around the net that they do not represent the entire holiday period, although nobody seems to specify exactly what period it does refer to.
Interestingly it could suggest (at least in terms of Amazon customers) that there is a substantially larger number of users who are seeing Blu-Ray on their PS3’s as the thing to have this year, maybe this signifies a more enthusiastic adoption of the format finally? If this is the case, Microsoft may have worries, but before we look at that lets consider some of the other figures released.
To balance the more popular PS3 controller, we have COD Special Ops (Xbox ver) coming in at #1 over the PS3 version at number 3. So whilst hardware buyers are going in the majority with Sony, Software sales go to the Xbox.
Nintendo did very well too, with it appearing to be the best-selling games console over Xmas, rating it at number 30 and it just goes to show that the “Nintendo appeal” is still going strong in the face of the latest tech from both Microsoft and Sony….thats according to Amazon figures and I’m sure as the year progresses things are likely to change.
360 degree’s of trouble for Microsoft?
Whilst the 360 was infamous for the RROD, its often forgotten about Microsoft’s failed attempt with HDdvd, when Microsoft made the decision that it was not wise to go with Blu-Ray and opted for its poorer cousin instead. Of course now in hindsight we see that it was completely the wrong decision and it could come to bite Microsoft in 2011. Let me explain.
Consider for a moment your coat pocket, what would you prefer, a phone, a mp3 player and a handheld gaming device, all separate all stuffed into your pockets? I will go out on a limb and suggest that not many people would and instead would opt for an all-in-one device. Here is where the PS3 offers a more complete solution to consumers and maybe why the controller has taken the top slot as we are finally seeing more acceptance and migration away from limited DVD.  I don’t suppose people want multiple devices stuffed under their TV either. When you add these factors together (as well as rumours that Sony have an upgrade module to boost its core specs) one has to wonder if, as before, its Sony making the correct decisions to future proof its products? I don’t believe we will have a next gen console in the coming couple of years, so as BluRay gains more momentum, Microsoft seems to have only the Kinect to drag out its system – That could change and the one thing history has seen in the games console world, its far from predictable. There are other advantages for the Blu-Ray format and users demand for 1080 cgi cut scenes in games and other multi-media experiences, further put a strain on the limited capacity DVD (in the face of Blu-Ray)
Of course this is merely supposition and opinion, but I think Microsoft’s decision to not go down the Blu-Ray route, will haunt them later. Time will tell.
But the winner is….
It’s still very early to make any sort of conclusions, especially since the figures are not complete and from only one source. We can take it as a given that 2011 will see some great exclusive titles to all three systems. In the meantime my wife is thoroughly enjoying Gran Turismo 5 and she has even got me (slightly) hooked in the world of online console gaming. Whilst this will, I am sure by some have me claimed to be supporting the PS3 merely since its not Microsoft, shortly we will be looking at a controversial console comparison where I explain why I choose the PS3 over both the WII and 360.
But what was the real winner this Xmas? Well, at the present time that accolade goes to the Kindle which Amazon states was the best-selling piece of hardware. This comes with its own “but” as one just has to consider that Microsoft has a cross-licensing deal which really shows to me yet again that if Microsoft cannot make the products people want to buy, it’s quite happy to cream a little off the top of those that do. That, maybe shows why I generally see Microsoft as harmful.
Consider this dark future – imagine Microsoft actually does succeed in all its tech’s and establishes them in every home, imagine playing on your Microsoft console, making calls on your Microsoft phone, using Microsoft on your desktop…of course all this would be great news for Ballmer (who I would suggest has a cardboard box on standby to clear out the contents of his desk) but how would that effect the end-user? Competition is good. Monopolies and extortion are not – never put all your eggs into one basket.
Is 2011 the year you consider how many Microsoft “solutions” you can replace with better alternatives?
 Firstly it shows my age, secondly it shows just how quickly tech is moving to describe DVD as “limited”.
Ending on a quote:
…I’ve determined that Microsoft is not a substantial innovator…..
Source: David A Wheeler
I am sure we will be talking further about Xmas sales on TechBytes show.
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