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Another End of 2008 Prediction

Forums - Sales Discussion - Another End of 2008 Prediction

My apologies for creating yet another of these threads, in what has been an overdiscussed topic already. However, I wanted to have a reference point for my prediction over the next 12 months, and some of the analysis may prove interesting to other posters. So bear with me, because I have a lot to say here.

First of all, the most important thing to remember is that sales trends in each gaming generation are usually established within the first 12-18 months of all competitors appearing on the market. Once the pecking order has been determined, things usually don't change very much over the next few years. What that means for our purposes here is that we can expect each of the three consoles to sell at about the same rate in 2008 as they did in 2007, within a range of roughly +/- 25%. Expecting the sales of any system (yes, including the Wii) to go up by 50-100% is simply unrealistic.

Let's start by posting the sales for each console in calendar year 2007. These are pulled straight from the VGChartz tables, with the one minor change of subtracting 191k from this week's Wii sales in Japan, to bring them in line with Famitsu numbers (ioi having explained that the Japan numbers were overtracked):

VGChartz Hardware data for the period 07th Jan 2007 to 30th Dec 2007:

 
ConsoleWiiPS3X360
Total16,386,2497,687,4788,070,407
America7,279,7652,756,3215,235,796
Japan3,685,1151,224,648255,931
Total Others5,421,3693,706,5092,578,680
This will serve as the benchmark for future calculation of numbers. Please note that the Wii and PS3 did not sell 19m and 9m respectively in 2007; their lifetime totals include launch sales from 2006. I've noticed a lot of posters making this mistake and overestimating the potential 2008 sales as a result. Going console by console, I'll start with the easiest to predict: the 360.
Xbox 360
  Total Sales  
QuarterNAJapanOtherTotal
Oct-Dec '05651,33685,023447,2181,183,577
Jan-Mar '06612,56330,314501,3491,144,226
Apr-Jun '06861,20124,754397,9241,283,879
Jul-Sept '06804,57218,083306,5601,129,215
Oct-Dec '062,153,591127,140938,2173,218,948
Jan-Mar '07780,92482,173524,9531,388,050
Apr-Jun '07668,12444,241367,3011,079,666
Jul-Sept '071,036,81236,210516,6541,589,676
Oct-Dec '072,749,93693,3071,226,8744,070,117

These quarterly numbers are courtesy of a post from Sqrl, updated to include the final week of December. (There are some very, very minor discrepencies between these quarterly numbers and the VGChartz totals, but far too small to have any impact whatsoever.)

What have we figured out about 360 sales so far? Everyone knows it sells well in America, not so well in Europe, and very poorly in Japan. 2007 sales were up nicely over sales in 2006, despite a relatively slow first half of the year. After selling 6.78m in calendar 2006, the 360 moved 8.13m in 2007 - an increase of about 20%. The release of Halo and other big titles, combined with a price drop, helped drive sales in the second half of the year. Although the 360 struggles to sell outside of America, the market there should be strong enough to support the platform for the forseeable future.

Thanks to having two years worth of sales data, we can be reasonably confident about how the 360 will perform in 2008. The 360 should continue to see a steady flow of major titles, and sell at about the same pace in the new year. At the same time, however, it's clear that the console is not going to break out and fill the market leader position occupied by the PS2, which will ultimately limit how far it can penetrate into homes. Expect the 360 to sell about the same amount next year; I am estimating 8m in sales, for a lifetime end of 2008 total of about 24m.

Playstation 3

 

 Total Sales 
QuarterNAJapanOtherTotal
Oct-Dec '06746,653472,60513,3851,232,643
Jan-Mar '07533,585365,399671,2061,570,190
Apr-Jun '07306,452149,260489,404945,116
Jul-Sept '07490,962227,405453,1961,171,563
Oct-Dec '071,425,322482,5842,092,7034,000,609

The PS3 had a tumultuous year in calendar 2007. After debuing to much fanfare at the end of 2006, the console struggled to move units through the slow months of the year. The European launch moved 600k units in just two weeks, but took four months to duplicate that first 600k afterwards. At its absolute nadir, the PS3 was selling only 50k units per week worldwide. Fortunately, thanks to aggressive pricing and new models introduced by Sony, the PS3 rebounded strongly and enjoyed a much better holiday season, particularly in Europe.

Estimating the sales of the PS3 going forward is more difficult than for the 360. Much is resting upon whether the boosted sales seen in November and December will prove to be permanent, or a temporary result of Sony's latest hardware push. Expect to see post-holiday sales fall dramatically, yet remain higher than they had been in 2007. It's virtually impossible for the PS3 to do worse in 2008 than last year, when it was tracking behind the Gamecube and Dreamcast in many regions. Due to the lower entry price point, sales will be up, but not that much higher. The PS3 still costs $400/500 (and higher in Europe), which will not have units moving very fast in, say, February or April. I am estimating PS3 sales to be 20% higher in 2008, the same growth that the 360 saw in its second year on the market, which would put them at about 9.2m in calendar 2008. This places end of year sales at a little over 18m, so I'll round up and finish with 18.5m.

It will be very difficult for the PS3 to get much higher than this in sales; 20m seems like an absolute maximum to me for end of 2008. That would require over 11m in sales for calendar 2008, an increase of almost 45%. This might sound pleasant to Sony fans, but is not particularly realistic. Both the 360 and PS3 are limited not just by their price points, but by the demographics of their target audience. They both appeal to young males and attract the high-end users - who are a minority of the population.

Let me put this another way: why is it that there is no market where both the 360 and PS3 are strong? It's always one or the other: 360 in America, PS3 in Japan, etc. It might LOOK like both do alright in "Others", but no, even there it's an illusion; the 360 does well in some markets (UK, Australia) while the PS3 dominates the others (Italy, Spain, etc.) The truth is that they both fulfill the same market niche, that of the expensive top-tier console. With 80-90% of the same software, they directly cannibalize each other's success. For this very reason, it will be enormously difficult for either platform to sell beyond 10m units in a calendar year, which necessitates broad support in all regions, from many diverse purchasers.

Wii 
  Total Sales  
QuarterNAJapanOtherTotal
Oct-Dec '061,228,908959,153771,5882,959,649
Jan-Mar '071,094,2291,028,813690,2812,813,323
Apr-Jun '071,381,721883,268890,1303,155,119
Jul-Sept '071,541,225741,0631,073,9843,356,272
Oct-Dec '073,262,5901,031,9712,761,4937,056,054

2007 was clearly Nintendo's year to shine, between the continued success of its DS handheld and breakout of the Wii console. The Wii consistently dominated hardware sales in all regions, at all times of the year, aside from brief intervals when one of its competitors launched a major software title or slashed its prices. Q4 2007 was the only quarter in which the Wii did not (easily) outsell 360+PS3, and it actually came close to achieving that mark as well. Wii sales consistently increased every quarter in 2007, reflecting increased production from Nintendo, before exploding in the final holiday period of the year. The question for 2008 is not "will the Wii keep selling", but "how many units can Nintendo produce".

The Wii sold almost 16.5m units in 2007, and looks to easily break that mark for 2008. Predicting year-end totals revolves around guessing by how much. While it may be fun to get caught up in the Wii fever and predict impossible totals (like, say, 60m?) in reality Nintendo is still limited by production factors and a fear of supply exceeding demand. Keep in mind too that the PS2, in its best years on the market, didn't sell more than 22-23m units. The Wii may eventually be able to exceed that, but in only its second full year, seems unlikely to do much beyond that upper limit.

Nintendo has stated that they are producing 1.8m units per month; over the course of 12 months, that would work out to 21.6m units. Since Nintendo can reasonably expect to sell all of those units (if not during the slow months of the year, then during the holidays), a ballpark figure of 41m for the end of the year seems like a reasonable starting point. Due to Nintendo's incredibly conservative corporate nature, I don't expect them to sell much more than this, even though it would very likely be possible. That's why my prediction for 2008 is just above this number, at 22.5m units, for a lifetime total of 42m. Notice that I've actually gone against my initial warning here, and am predicting Wii sales about 35% higher than in 2007. The ONLY reason that I feel comfortable in doing so is the fact that the Wii was so consistently supply contrained during this past year. This has prevented us from determining where demand actually stops; in contrast, we have a pretty good idea of how demand sits for the 360 and PS3.

Totals
360 8m (24m LTD)
PS3 9.2m (18.5m LTD)
Wii 22.5m (42m LTD)

Note that this puts the Wii right around 50% marketshare at the end of 2008; I think it's about even odds whether it happens before the end of the year or not. Regardless, it's a near certainly in 2009 unless sales trends dramatically change. As a final note, expect to see the Wii do very, very well in the first two quarters of 2008. A lot of posters on this site are new, and don't know what sales look like in the slow months of the year. There was a period in 2007 where the Wii outsold 360+PS3 combined for almost 30 straight weeks in the slow months of the year, interrupted only by the European launch of the PS3. Unfortunately, we'll probably see (even more) Nintendo fansboys running around here in the future. Sales for the other systems will pick up in August, when the yearly sports titles are released and the annual slow buildup to the holidays begins, but for the next six months... Nintendomination looks very likely.

I'm sure I've missed something critical, but what that is will only appear in retrospect. We'll have to wait and see what that is.



My Website

End of 2008 totals: Wii 42m, 360 24m, PS3 18.5m (made Jan. 4, 2008)

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That was quite a read! :p But interesting nevertheless. My predictions for 2008 are a bit higher, but I can see your point.

 

Oh, and you overlooked the handhelds... ;) 

  



 2008 Predictions:


Wii: 44 Million
Xbox360: 25 Million
PS3: 22 Million

DS: 90 Million
PSP: 37 Million

Not bad, but I don't think they are going to stick with 1.8 for the year, I expect in 4-6 months they will have upped production over 2 million a month, possibly up to 2.5



 

Predictions:Sales of Wii Fit will surpass the combined sales of the Grand Theft Auto franchiseLifetime sales of Wii will surpass the combined sales of the entire Playstation family of consoles by 12/31/2015 Wii hardware sales will surpass the total hardware sales of the PS2 by 12/31/2010 Wii will have 50% marketshare or more by the end of 2008 (I was wrong!!  It was a little over 48% only)Wii will surpass 45 Million in lifetime sales by the end of 2008 (I was wrong!!  Nintendo Financials showed it fell slightly short of 45 million shipped by end of 2008)Wii will surpass 80 Million in lifetime sales by the end of 2009 (I was wrong!! Wii didn't even get to 70 Million)

Interesting read and close to my own predictions (360: 24m, PS3: 18m, Wii: 45m). I expect Nintendo to up their production by mid year to be able to meet holiday demand.

The PS2 shipped 18m in its second full fiscal year, double of what it shipped in its first full fiscal year. So the Wii selling 50 % more in 2008 than in 2007 isn't that unlikely as it may seem.



Legend11 correctly predicted that GTA IV (360+PS3) would outsell SSBB. I was wrong.

A Biased Review Reloaded / Open Your Eyes / Switch Gamers Club

Excellent analysis, and quite close to my guesses of 19 million PS3, 23 million 360s and 47 million Wii.... perhaps I shall lower my PS3 by 1 mil in light of your writing. [I still want to believe Nintendo will be more gutsy though, and like you said we have no way of knowing how high Wii could have been this year]

Any way we can have handheld predictions?... if not an analysis then pure numbers will suffice.
I have 39 million for PSP and 93 million for DS at the moment. Edit. my first sentence mirrored Rols too much. and @Rol, production wise doubling is perfectly reasonable, but surely Sony didn't produce that many in year 1 because 2/3 of it was Japan only.



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wii could do much more than 50% higher sales in 08 than in 07 if Nintendo would up production soon enough and high enough



Bets:Missed by 420k I bet leo-j vg$500 that wii will sell 31 million by 7/31/08.  Sorry, I don't think he has enough vg$ to make it with all of u that wish you could. Hit, with room to spare I bet kingofwale a 1-week ban that wii Americas ltd sales>360 Americas ltd sales as of the numbers for week ending 7/05/08 (using vgchartz homepage #s)

Predictions:

Wii will sell 18-20mil by 12/31/07  CHECKWii will sell 45mil+ WW by 12/31/08Wii will surpass PS2 sales WW by 11/17/11 (5yr anniversary)Wii Fit will hit 12mil sales in 2009MKWii+SSBB+Wii Fit+SMG > 50 mil sales by 2010 > gta4+mgs+gt5+ff13+haze+lbp

I think not only have we not seen what the demand is for the Wii but I think that demand is increasing somewhat expodentially as new people are exposed to it from their friends and games like WiiFit expand the audience. It will not follow normal VG trends as it is redefining what video entertainment is and who it appeals to. We saw this already when the Wii experienced no slowdown in sales when consoles traditionally do (except somewhat in Japan, but even then it's numbers were high for that time of year). So it's hard to say what it's selling potential is. I still think 55m-65m is probable if Nintendo can continue to increase supply throughout the year.

Otherwise it's a well thought out and excellent projection (and closely mirrors my own).



 

To end 2008 with 47m units, the Wii would have to sell about 28m next year, an increase of roughly 70% over this year.

To end 2008 with 55m units, the Wii would have to sell about 36m next year, an increase of roughly 120% over this year.

To end 2008 with 65m units, the Wii would have to sell about 46m next year, an increase of roughly 180% over this year. (That's nearly TRIPLE 2007's record-breaking sales!)

These are not realistic projections. I actually think I'm already being extremely bullish on the Wii for next year; I'm essentially saying it will equal or better the BEST years of the PS2, the top-selling home console of all time. I don't think going much beyond that is particularly likely to happen.

For comparison purposes, the DS in 2007 had the greatest year of any gaming device in history. It sold 29m units this past year. So if you think the Wii will reach 55m units by the end of next year, you're essentially saying the Wii will equal that mark - and then sell another SEVEN MILLION consoles! (This would also require monthly sales of 3m - pretty much December 2007 sales for an entire year.) Seriously, it's not going to happen. Be realistic.



My Website

End of 2008 totals: Wii 42m, 360 24m, PS3 18.5m (made Jan. 4, 2008)

Good analysis..but fantastic tables =P



To Each Man, Responsibility

Sullla,

Check DS sales.

2004 (late year launch): 2.84 M
2005: 11.59M
2006: 21.18M (82% increase)
2007: around 30M (LTD after 2006 only 35.61)

Yes, giant leaps in sales DO occur even after things are "set" in the console war.

Actually, this leap would have been higher, but 2005 didn't have much in the way of supply constraints, while 2006 found DS sold out constantly in Japan.



"[Our former customers] are unable to find software which they WANT to play."
"The way to solve this problem lies in how to communicate what kind of games [they CAN play]."

Satoru Iwata, Nintendo President. Only slightly paraphrased.