2009 was a year that brought Sony much fortune. Not only did the PS3 see better sales for multiplatform titles, but Sony had some AMAZING exclusives. With 2010 a heartbeat away, the big question is, can Sony keep up their momentum going into the new year/decade?
2008 was a year that left many wondering if Sony would be able to stay in the console market, and if they did, if it would ever be profitable. In 2008 the PlayStation 3 sold 9,834,896 units, where as the Xbox 360 sold 10,721,440 units. Although Sony sold a decent amount of consoles, the gap between the 360 and PS3 was steadily growing wider and wider. There was also the case of multiplatform titles.
In 2008, Call of Duty: World at War and Grand Theft Auto were released on both the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3. The PS3 version of World at War sold 2,390,870 copies, which seems decent; however, the 360 version sold 4,120,691 copies. Many may argue that it is the superiority of Xbox Live that leads to 360 dominating in the FPS market, but regardless, the PS3 was smoked. Also, Grand Theft Auto IV sales perpetuated this even more so. The PS3 version sold 5,245,155 copies compared to the 360’s 6,620,807 copies. These two games showed the difference in user bases, and it showed that the PlayStation 3 needed some sort of miracle to keep the divide in sales from growing larger.
2009 started off looking like it would be a continuation of 2008. The first 5 months of the year were not an indicator of much (due to sluggish releases and decreased sales). However, E3 would be where PlayStation hopefuls would have to pray for their miracle. Around the time of E3, rumors were out in full force for the PlayStation brand. Not only did rumors fly around about a new handheld, but rumors were in full force about a newer slim model of the PlayStation 3, much like the slim iteration of the PlayStation 2. Although E3 brought no slim PS3 announcement, it showed the strength of the PlayStation 3’s upcoming releases. The game announcements showed that Sony would be going into the second half of 2009 strong, and there would be no stop to this momentum in 2010. Despite the strong release schedule, sales of the PlayStation 3 were still not spectacular.
At Gamescom in Germany, Sony finally made the announcement that fans had been waiting for. Kaz Hirai announced the PS3 Slim, available the first week of September, as well as a price reduction that would be effective immediately. This announcement would be what would start the shift into stronger sales figures. PlayStation 3 sales from the first week of September to the 19th of December were 6,739,473, and the Xbox 360 sold 4,303,837. Each week since that announcement, PlayStation 3 has outsold the Xbox 360 on total sales. Also, this would mark the first year that the PlayStation 3 was able to outsell the Xbox 360 (11,085,752 to 8,959,566). This had an even larger impact because Microsoft gave the Xbox 360 a price reduction as well. Also, multiplatform sales have seen an improvement as well.
In 2008, multiplatform games were selling substantially worse on the PS3 than the 360. 2009 brought Sony improved sales on multiplatform games. Assassin’s Creed II (to Dec 19) has sold 2,106,681 copies on the PlayStation 3 and has sold 2,381,845 on 360. Also, Modern Warfare 2, the biggest release of the year, saw 5,284,868 sales on PS3 where as the 360 sold 7,830,333 units. Although the 360 still outsells the PS3 on multiplatform sales, the PlayStation 3 is catching up on lost ground. Speculation led many to believe that Modern Warfare 2 would sell 2:1 in favor of the 360. These sales show that the PlayStation 3 is gaining more ground with multiplatform releases.
Sony ended 2009 with a huge bang, but the question of what will 2010 bring for the PlayStation 3 still looms over our heads. 2010 is the first time in my memory in which I can remember a huge start to the year as far as game releases. With Bioshock II and Bayonetta coming first thing, it will be interesting to see how they sell comparatively. March will also be a huge month, with Final Fantasy XIII releasing, it will be interesting to see if the PlayStation 3 will sell more units. If Microsoft manages to sell more, then that could be a huge blow to Sony in 2010. Also, with MAG, Heavy Rain, and God of War III it looks like Sony should have no problem selling more consoles in 2010. Although all we can do right now is speculate, it should be an exciting year, not only for Sony, but for gaming in general. 2010 should leave us all with empty wallets.