So what's the verdict for eighth gen consoles then? Looks pretty disappointing all around.
I made the following comment last night: "Of course, these results are objectively good for the industry as a whole. The XBO had the best second November (first Nov. of the first full year) of any system ever, and the PS4 is not trailing too far behind where the Wii and PS2 were in their second November. If the numbers above are correct, combined sales of the PS4, XBO, and Wii U for November were about 2,325,000, thus making it the best early November of any generation. Combined PS2, GC, and Xbox sales were about 2,304,000 in November 2001 and 2,254,000 in November 2002, while combined Wii, 360, & PS3 sales were 2,217,000 in November 2007. Overall, the U.S. market as a whole remains very healthy."
1. Wii U is an outright failure.
If we define "failure" as "worst-selling Nintendo console ever," then yes. But if it's profitable in the long run...
2. Xbox One required heavy discounts to get things going.
It's still the biggest boost from a price cut ever. Also, the XBO sold more in one month at $350 than the PS2 did in Nov. 2001 at $300 and what the Wii did in Nov. 2007 at $250 (of course, that's not counting inflation; $300 in 2001 dollars is just over $400 in 2014 dollars, though $250 in 2007 dollars is only $286 in today's dollars). It's the biggest second November of any system ever in the U.S. market.
3. PS4 is running out of steam a bit, because the purchases based on its future software lineup are continually decreasing.
The PS4 still sold about 840k, giving it the fourth-best second November of any system ever, not too far behind the PS2's 919k and well ahead of the 360's 511k.
Talking about the full next year, Wii U should be down while the other two consoles probably won't see big increases. The majority of active game buyers has already moved on to eighth gen consoles, so there isn't that big of a pool to draw from anymore. There doesn't seem to be much in the way of new IPs either, because most companies play it really safe with yearly sequels.
Agreed about this year being the Wii U's peak. A price cut could keep it from going down too much, though. However, I disagree about no YoY boosts for the PS4 & XBO. While MS is still apparently planning on the price cut being for the holidays only, which if they do will kill its post-New Year momentum. Of couse, they can still issue another price cut later in 2015 and keep it permanent. Sony still has yet to issue a price cut of their own. Based on historical precedent, both systems are due for a permanent price cut next year. Price cuts almost always boost sales significantly, and are the single biggest drivers of long-term sales increases. Software rarely gives bumps past the month they're released in, so the supposed lack of new IPs isn't a big deal. Hell, the 360's best years were when there were few new third-party IPs that were huge commercial successes and MS themselves had been reduced to Halo, Gears, and Forza. So, I doubt a dearth of new IPs will hurt the PS4 & XBO any.
Finally, there were tens of millions of U.S. households that bought a seventh-gen console, at least 70 million based on Nielsen data on console-owning households. Over 40 million 360s were sold. Considering that the XBO and PS4 have together sold only 10.5 million units to date, there's still a lot of consumers who have yet to move on. Your assumption that most active game buyers have moved on is based on, well, nothing, whereas history shows that yearly hardware sales undulate, going from peak to trough. There's still tens of millions of gamers who are waiting for lower prices and/or games that interest them before moving on. Obviously, most gamers who bought N64s and PS1s had moved on to PS2, GC, or Xbox by the end of 2002 as the majority of that generation's sales came after 2002. Likewise, we have yet to scratch the surface of the current generation's sales potential.