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I was looking at all the fascinating information on site last night because I couldn't sleep, and I ended up writing this.

I just recently found this site and I don't really know much about this stuff (I just have a casual interest in video games, statistics, and economics), so I would appreciate any comments and corrections (or links to any similar analysis that I'm sure is probably much better than mine).

I'm not a "fanboy" and I'm not trying to bash any particular console, I was just trying to analyze this as objectively as possible.




IGN has a series of stories on the new video games coming to each console this summer:
"Eyeballing the release calendar for summer (June 21-September 21) shows that there are several dozen games bound for stores in the next few months. And better still, many of these are quality titles."

The articles can be found here:
XBOX 360
PlayStation 3

Some of the games are listed under just one console, when in reality they are coming out on other consoles as well. Some of them have been out on another system for a while, yet are still listed under the console they are finally coming out on.

Combining all three lists:
Wii: 17 total games, 8 unique + 9 others
PS3: 33 total games, 5 unique + 28 others
360: 36 total games, 8 unique + 28 others

Wii: 8
Mario Strikers Charged
Manhunt 2 (delayed?)
Metroid Prime 3
Mercury Meltdown Revolution
Pokemon Battle Revolution
Space Station Tycoon
Dewy’s Adventure

PS3: 5
Heavenly Sword
Ninja Gaiden Sigma
Super Stardust HD

360: 8
Blue Dragon
Eternal Sonata
Mass Effect
Project Gotham Racing 4
Two Worlds

Wii + PS3 + 360: 7 + 2 = 9
-The Bigs, Madden 08, Transformers, Tiger Woods 08, Harry Potter, Ratatouille
-Driver Parallel Lines (PS2/Xbox already), Brothers in Arms: Double Time (PS2/Xbox already)

PS3 + 360: 15 + 4 = 19
-Blacksite: Area 51, The Darkness, Stranglehold, Medal of Honor Airborne, Skate, Turok, Football 08, Nascar 08, NCAA 08, NHL x 2, Dynasty Warriors Gundam, Juiced 2, Stuntman Ignition, Super Puzzle Figher 2
-DiRT (360 already), Ghost Recon 2 (360 already), Rainbow Six Vegas (360 already), Virtua Fighter 5 (PS3 already)

Each system has a few big games due out over the summer. Assuming Manhunt 2 will be delayed due to problems with the "AO" rating, the Wii still has Mario Strikers, Metroid, and Pokemon. The PS3 has Heavenly Sword, Lair, and Ninja Gaiden. The Xbox 360 has BioShock, Mass Effect, and Project Gotham. The 360 list is the most impressive, with highly anticipated sure-things and some other titles having the potential to be hits.

What is really interesting is the list of games coming out on multiple consoles. The 9 games coming out on the Wii were all listed in the Wii article, but not necessarily in the PS3 and 360 articles. Two of them weren't listed because they're essentially old PS2/XBOX games.

19 other multi-platform games are coming to both the PS3 and the 360, but not to the Wii. This is a staggering number, two-thirds of all multi-platform games. Considering the Wii has been out for just as long as the PS3 (they were both released over 30 weeks ago), one has to wonder why so many of those games are available for the PS3, but not the Wii. This is even more surprising considering the Wii has sold 8.4 million consoles worldwide (3.4m in the US), compared to just 3.5 million worldwide (1.5m in the US) for the PS3.

Is it that the Wii console isn't powerful enough to handle many of these games? As games become even larger and more complex, will the situation get even worse for the Wii in the future? Will the Wii still be able to compete with the other consoles despite having fewer games available on the system, due to the innovative Wii-mote controls and low price? Will more multi-platform games be made for the Wii in the future because the system is selling so well?


Summer 07 games
not on the IGN list

Wii: Chicken Shoot, Alien Syndrome, Guilty Gear, Pool Party, Escape from Bug Island, High School Musical, Carnival Games, Cosmic Family, My Word Coach, MySims, CSI

PS3: Theseis

360: Hour of Victory, Vampire Rain, Project Sylpheed, MotoGP 07, Fatal Inertia, CSI, Looney Tunes

Most of these other games will probably get mediocre to bad ratings and not sell many units. Some of the Wii titles (High School Musical? My Word Coach?) seem particularly uninteresting.

Notable games coming September 21 - October

NBA Live 08, Backyard Football 08, Lego Star Wars

NBA x 3, Half-Life 2, Grand Theft Auto IV, Lego Star Wars

NBA x 2, Halo 3, Half-Life 2, Grand Theft Auto IV, Lego Star Wars

The Wii doesn't have anything big scheduled to come out in early fall, whereas the 360 and PS3 both have Half-Life and Grand Theft Auto. The 360 also has its biggest selling game, Halo, coming out in this period.

Based on these games, one would expect the 360 to do the best in the next few months in terms of both game and console sales, followed by the PS3, and with the Wii trailing behind the other two. Whether or not this is the case may indicate if having a large selection of games can lure consumers into buying a more expensive console.


How many games does each console owner buy?

Weekly US sales for the six weeks before this summer period:

Wii hardware: 135k, 131k, 122k, 101k, 83k, 91k, 81k, 84k
Wii software: 426k, 451k, 400k, 355k, 303k, 675k, 442k, 425k

PS3 hardware: 22k, 25k, 25k, 24k, 22k, 21k, 22k, 21k
PS3 software: 131k, 162k, 126k, 163k, 131k, 105k, 89k, 88k

360 hardware: 61k, 60k, 54k, 47k, 41k, 46k, 43k, 41k
360 software: 278k, 413k, 420k, 388k, 334k, 594k, 417k, 421k

(you might want to skip this next part)
Software / Hardware:
Wii (3,477 / 828 = 4.20): 3.16, 3.44, 3.28, 3.51, 3.65, 7.41, 5.45, 5.06
PS3 (995 / 182 = 5.47): 5.95, 6.48, 5.04, 6.79, 5.95, 5.00, 4.05, 4.19
360 (3,265 / 393 = 8.31): 4.56, 6.88, 7.78, 8.26, 8.15, 12.91, 9.70, 10.27

However, the Wii comes packaged with a game: "Each Wii will come with a game compilation called "Wii Sports," including tennis, golf, baseball and bowling games, that will show off the console's intuitive new controller."

Wii software with "Wii Sports" sales removed:
S - WS: (426k - 135k), (451k - 131k), (400k - 122k), (355k - 101k), (303k - 83k), (675k - 91k), (442k - 81k), (425k - 84k)
Software: 291, 320, 278, 254, 220, 584, 361, 341
Hardware: 135k, 131k, 122k, 101k, 83k, 91k, 81k, 84k
S / H (2,649 / 828 = 3.20): 2.16, 2.44, 2.28, 2.51, 2.65, 6.42, 4.46, 4.06

In the past six weeks, the 360 has sold 8.3 new games for every new console sold, the PS3 has sold 5.5 new games for every new console sold, and the Wii has sold only 3.2 new games for every new console sold.

Is this sizable difference because there are fewer games available for the Wii?
Is it that the Wii is being purchased by "casual gamers" and these people buy fewer games than "hardcore gamers"?
If Wii owners buy fewer games than PS3/360 owners, do software companies have less incentive to make games for the Wii?

Has this trend existed over the entire life of the three consoles? I couldn't find total US software sales for each console (help?), so I had to look at total Japanese software sales instead:

Wii: 4,812 (6,534 - 1,722 Wii Sports**)
PS3: 1,384
360: 1,388

Wii: 2,772k
PS3: 965k
360: 404k

S / H
Wii: 1.74
PS3: 1.43
360: 3.44

*I don't actually know what games are included with consoles in Japan. 30,000 copies of Blue Dragon were included with some Xbox 360 systems (but not with all 360s), this would make the 360's S/H ratio 3.36.
** I'm not sure why it's 1,722 when 2,772 Wiis were sold.

Once again the 360 sells the most games per console. I assume this is because Americans living in Japan buy more 360s than Wiis or PS3s.
Apparently people in Japan don't buy very many games, the average Japanese PS3 owner only has one and a half games (on a console they paid the equivalent of $600 for)!

Global sales
Wii software: 14,793 (19,891 – 5,098 Wii Sports)
PS3 software: 5,755
360 software: 31,178

Wii hardware: 9,990
PS3 hardware: 3,520
360 hardware: 8,380

S / H
Wii: 1.48
PS3: 1.63
360: 3.72

The global hardware numbers are taken from the VGC front page, and the global software numbers are from this thread from May because I couldn't find more recent numbers. Can this be right? Is the 360 selling over twice as many games per console as the other two?


Is there a difference in quality between the games available on each console?

Wii game reviews on Metacritic.
Of the 63 listed Wii games, 12 (19%) have a rating of 75+, 40 (63%) have a rating of 50-74, and 11 (17%) have a rating below 50. Two (3%) games are rated above a 90: Zelda and Resident Evil 4 (originally released on the GameCube and PS2 in 2005).

PS3 game reviews on Metacritic.
Of the 46 listed PS3 games, 22 (48%) have a rating of 75+, 21 (46%) have a rating of 50-74, and only 3 (6%) have a rating below 50. One game (2%) is rated above a 90: Oblivion.

360 game reviews on Metacritic.
Of the 203 listed 360 games, 88 (43%) have a rating of 75+, 106 (52%) have a rating of 50-74, and only 9 (4%) have a rating below 50. Seven games (3%) have a rating above 90, with Gears of War and Oblivion the highest rated.

Rating..... Wii..... PS3..... 360
90-100 ....... 2 ....... 1 ....... 7
80-89 ....... 4 ....... 13 ....... 49
75-79 ....... 6 ....... 8 ....... 32
65-74 ...... 22 ...... 12 ...... 59
50-64 ...... 18 ....... 9 ...... 47
00-49 ...... 11 ....... 3 ....... 9
Total ....... 63 ...... 46 ...... 203

Wii games are less than half as likely to be rated 75-100 as PS3 and 360 games. Given all the buzz surrounding the Wii and all the praise from both the gaming and mainsteam media, this is rather shocking. And the PS3 doesn't have many games, but they are of surprisingly high quality for a console that was proclaimed a "bust" in mid-December 2006.

Do Wii owners buy fewer games because the system doesn't have as many high-quality games available?
Are the software companies that make highly rated games less likely to make games for the Wii because the hardware isn't as powerful?


Why the Wii?

If the Wii doesn't have many games, and the games it does have are of lower quality, why is the system so popular?
Part of the explanation is obviously the price difference: the PS3 is $600, the 360 is $400, and the Wii is only $250. Also, the market for casual gamers will always be larger than that for hardcore gamers. Other reasons may include that the Wii has innovative controls, is smaller in size, etc.

Stories have begun to appear in the press wondering when sales of the Wii will pass the 360. The sales rankings have stayed fairly consistent since December 2006, with the Wii outselling the 360, and the PS3 in last place.

Globally, the Wii appears to just be 1-2 million below the 360. However, in America the 360 still has a large lead over the Wii and it's not certain that the Wii will catch up to the 360 anytime soon. It will certainly pass it in the rest of the world eventually, but the big gains for the Wii are made mostly in Japan, where it dominates the 360.



Why does the Wii have such a big lead over the 360 in Japan?
Does Japan have more casual gamers and fewer hardcore gamers than the US?
Is it because the Wii is so much cheaper than the 360 and PS3 (Japan's GDP per capita is $33k, compared to $44k for the US)?

Looking over the 50 biggest-selling games in Japan, most of them are Nintendo games (although no Wii games have cracked the top 50 yet). Not only are they mostly Nintendo games, almost all of those are Pokemon (1, 2, 3, 4, 18, 19, 42), Mario (5, 9, 11, 15, 26, 30, 33, 37, 43, 47), or Final Fantasy (12, 16, 24, 25, 27, 29, 32, 38). No wonder these are three of the four best-selling video game franchises. But what about Zelda? Metroid? Not a single game makes it in the top 50 in Japan.

It's clear Japanese tastes are often quite different from those of the rest of the world, based on the global best-selling software charts. Although the recent Grand Theft Auto trilogy ranks 11, 14, and 17 on the global list with 40.7 million copies sold, only 1.24 million of that was Japan. The three biggest Xbox games, Halo, Halo 2, and Gears of War sold a combined 290k in Japan. Clearly the upcoming releases of Halo 3 and Grand Theft Auto IV will do little to improve sales of the 360 or PS3 in Japan. The Japanese are going to stick with Mario, Final Fantasy and Pokemon(!) no matter how good American games are.

Microsoft has released two Final Fantasy-style RPGs recently in Japan: Blue Dragon (210k sold in Japan since December 2006; rated 37/40 by Famitsu) and Eternal Sonata (called Trusty Bell: Chopin's Dream, 47k sold in Japan in the first week, placing second on the Japanese sales charts; rated 35/40 by Famitsu). Although these games have sold well, the general lack of enthusiasm for American games ensures the 360 will remain well behind the Wii and PS3 in Japan.


We don't provide the 'easy to program for' console that they [developers] want, because 'easy to program for' means that anybody will be able to take advantage of pretty much what the hardware can do, so the question is what do you do for the rest of the nine and half years? It's a learning process. - SCEI president Kaz Hirai

It's a virus where you buy it and you play it with your friends and they're like, "Oh my God that's so cool, I'm gonna go buy it." So you stop playing it after two months, but they buy it and they stop playing it after two months but they've showed it to someone else who then go out and buy it and so on. Everyone I know bought one and nobody turns it on. - Epic Games president Mike Capps

We have a real culture of thrift. The goal that I had in bringing a lot of the packaged goods folks into Activision about 10 years ago was to take all the fun out of making video games. - Activision CEO Bobby Kotick