The 360's significant lead in the Americas is almost entirely attributable to Kinect. I knew this was coming. Microsoft really pulled Kinect out at the perfect time. It has boosted 360 sales substantially; otherwise, 360 almost definitely would be lagging behind ps3, probably by a margin of at least 30-40k/week. Go on Amazon.com and look at the top 100 video game items being sold. Kinect standalone (although it doesn't impact 360 sales), Kinect 4gb 360, and kinect 250gb 360 are all in the top 30-35. I've been checking out the Amazon top 100 periodically for a month or two now, and it's been this way consistently. If you look for a 360 standalone in the list, you'll almost never find it. America is eating Kinect up.
Prior to Kinect though, I think 360 has simply now become the "cool" system to have in the U.S. - in large part bc it was out the door first in this generation and pulled a large userbase in that time (might as well say it was out 2 or 3 years b4 ps3, bc ps3's extremely high price still was pushing ppl to choose 360 instead). This was a much bigger deal this time around bc of the strong integration of online play. It wasn't just, "Oh, get a 360 so we can talk about the same games"; it was "get a 360 so we can play online together" (and talk about the same games). Sony chose the wrong generation to get cocky. They lost a huge amount of fans bc of the year head start they gave M$, but also largely part bc of the high ps3 starting price. Those ppl then convinced their friends to get 360's so they could play online together, and it snowballed. As an example, one of my best friends has had a 360 for a few yrs. He just got a ps3 Christmas 2009 for LBP. He never plays his ps3 though, and his only reason is the fact that he has so many friends on Xbox Live, and very few on ps3. (I know this can go both ways, but I think it happens much more often with 360 bc of its head start and just the fact that the install base in the Americas is so much higher than ps3)
Looking ahead, now that all the current 360 owners have an established experience online with the 360, I don't know how many will want to switch when the next generation begins. Idk how Sony will recover the lead in the U.S., this generation or next. Hope I'm wrong. Sony needs to pull something big out with their next-gen console, and part of it has to involve stronger focus on/support/ease of online play. They also have to shoot to get their console out first, and at a reasonable price.
At the bolded, MS is raising the price on XBL, so it shows you that MS has rooted itself as "the" online gaming console in the states.
I may switch over next gen, meaning I may get a PS4 first (I have both now, but I play 360 a lot more). I'm not happy with MS reliability. However it will depend on console price, if Sony decides to charge for online gaming, and what new IP's MS and Sony will bring. I still prefer my 360 over my PS3 because I enjoy Halo > Killzone, Forza > GT, and Gears of War > Uncharted. I also don't think the Mass Effect experience is the same on PS3, and used games for 360 are much cheaper in Americas then PS3 games used. It's really going to depend on what Sony offers next gen because I'd rather accociate with the Playstation brand, but I can't wait 4 years for a Gran Turismo game.
Just curious...why would u rather associate with the PS brand? Just bc of the reliability and the price of Xbox Live? Or is there more?
I'm pretty big on reliabiliy, and I find that I'm really disliking north american products. My iPhone broke only just after a year, now I have to live with a phone with no volume and no power button (can't let it die or else it doesn't turn on again). I hate US cars too because they only last about 250,000-300,000km, when the Japanese make cars lasting 400,000-500,000km. Germans make good cars too, but only if they are built in Germany.
Basically I hate the way US companies run. GM in the 1970's made their cars fall apart specifically after 3 years of almost perfect running. It was called planned obsolesce, and they did it to force consumers to buy a new car every 3 years because after 3 years, everything would break on their cars. iPhones only cost $12 to make because they are made at slave labor costs, but they charge $600, and the way workers are treated is just pathetic.
Japanese companies actually care about their consumers, Nintendo for instance had shortages on their Wii's for over a year because they only let people make them if they garenteed reliability above a 0.2% fail rate. MS just made 360's, extended their warrenties when the failrate was 33%, and replaced broken 360's with other broken 360's (the replacement they sent me was actually broken), or other 1st gen 360's which they know also share the same 33% fail rate issue.
The only reason I tried MS was because my PS1 and PS2 both broke, and Nintendo just didn't look appealing with the Wii. Gears of War 1 was also freaken awesome, and PS3's fate early on was uncertain.
Also with XBL, the issue isn't so much the cost, it's that they force you to buy 12 months at a time. The only other option is a 3 month card, which costs 40% of a full year, and if I have no paid bell internet, the XBL card is useless. What if I don't play online very often, what if I don't play that month at all? At least offer a pay as you go card for like 10 cents an hour, or maybe a reasonably priced 1 month card. Hence, I don't like US company ethics, always trying to squeze money out of you.
Note: I do honestly prefer 360 games over PS3 games, but it's only because I like Sci-Fi. So to me Gears of War is a lot better then Uncharted. I'm also big on RPG's and Racing games, and 360 has more, better ones too. However now PS3 is seeing a lot more RPG's. Still, a 4 year wait on GT5, and it's quality is nothing special is unacceptable. No official steering wheel either.
I'm with ya on every one of your points (except liking 360 games better than ps3 haha, but that's obviously to each his own). I actually had ps1 and skipped ps2/xbox generation (although I've played many ps2 and xbox games). But for the 360/ps3 generation, i was all for 360. But the irresponsibility (and money-hungry.....ness) Microsoft showed with the premature product they put on the line with the 360 was, in my opinion, disgraceful and inexcusable. I lost a lot of respect for the 360 and Microsoft bc of that. Then I looked at the 360 launch game library, and saw graphics (namely Perfect Dark: Zero) that sometimes looked almost worse than ps2/xbox graphics/animations, and this turned me even further away from the 360 (I'm referring to the beginning of the generation - the graphics have come a long way since then). I remember thinking to myself, "Wow, these are next-gen graphics??"
Anyways, PS3 was upcoming, and I since I lost my respect for the 360 I started doing research on the ps3. They were actually promising a true next-gen leap in gaming and game graphics. And also very importantly, my ps3 is still running like new after over 3 yrs bc Sony made sure they put a respectable, and foremost, reliable, product on the line (although arrogantly too expensive) at launch. I like Sony all around for almost all of their products bc of the amount of quality and value they place in each product. I remember one of the first times I really gained respect for Sony was when I bought a dvd player like 7 yrs ago. I went thru like 2 or 3 different dvd players from walmart in a year. All o f them were built crappy, and then broke down ontop of that. Ended up finding a Sony then, and pretty inexpensive if I remember correctly, maybe even less than the others. Got it, and immediately noticed how nice the physical set-up and quality of the machine was. And....it's still running today.
Anyways, like I said, I'm with you 100% on the importance of quality in a product. Microsoft is def very money-hungry. Every company wants profit, but M$ takes it too far sometimes imo.
As for the games...(ps3 exclusives rant ON) Have you ever played Metal Gear Solid 4 (my favorite game of all time, all generations), inFAMOUS (my 3rd favorite game of all time), Resistance: Fall of Man (great game, awesome weapon selection; R2 has awesome online co-op, but that's mainly all I like about the sequel), God of War III (not my type of game, but some pretty amazingly epic moments and a lot of ppl love it), Heavy Rain (had several moments that were the most intense moments I've ever experienced in a game), Demon's Souls (RPG--never played, but ppl go crazy over it, and Gamespot rated it their GoTY 2009), Ratchet and Clank: Tools of Destruction (the newest one, "A Crack in Time" isn't as good as ToD imo, weapons and gameplay wise), LittleBigPlanet 1 & 2 (my buddy, who is an all 360 guy and who likes mainly halo and call of duty, bought a ps3 for LBP 1)? Oh, and I'm sure you know, but a new Syphon Filter, new Twisted Metal, and new Motorstorm game are also coming in the future as exclusives. Also inFAMOUS 2, Resistance 3, Uncharted 3, Agent (Rockstar games ps3 exclusive), Socom 4, The Last Guardian, some good Move games, and Killzone 3 of course. (ps3 exclusives rant OFF)
I'm glad now that I got into the ps3 instead of the 360, bc if I would've bought a 360 I personally would have felt like I wasted my money (don't like halo, fable, splinter cell, etc.). There are very few 360 exclusives that interest me, let alone enough to warrant a purchase. I'm def intrigued by GeoW, but probably would still not buy it if I had a 360. I've always wanted to see the game played in person. Ironically, about 2 yrs ago, I was finally going to get to see GeoW 2 played by my friend's brother. Right when the level loaded, his 360 RRoD'd!! I was so mad, wanted to see Gears so bad!
On the other hand, the main reason I love the ps3 so much is bc they have so many exclusives that I love. Almost all of the 12 or so games I own are ps3 exclusives. But again, that's all personal preference.