You can easily track customer numbers. How?
Whatever is shipped is counted first. And whatever remains in stock after sellings to customers is the remainder. The SOLD TO CUSTOMERS is the difference. That's how you track sales to customers. Once a shipment is depleted whatever number that shipment was is a figure to count as sold. TRULY sold. Sold to Retailers means crap. Because there's no guarantee that the stuff is moving off the shelves. That's how we're 5 months in and XBox 360 still hasn't reached that 10 million number yet. The frequency of new shipments and the rapid destocking by purchases from customers means success.
Now they don't tell US this stuff word for word, no. But it's not at ALL hard to concretely figure what is being sold. It has to leave the store right? The store keeps inventory right? That nonsense about it being hard to track just doesn't hold weight. They just don't release the info to us. Japan certainly tracks this stuff which is why those ship/sold sleights of hand won't work there.
They don't talk about sales to consumers on reports much because all the investors are interested in money earned in profit. Sony made gigantic sales in revenue on the PS1 & PS2 but profitwise had little to show for that dominance. Investors only care about money, new avenues for money, new money-making ideas. So that's what they get on those reports.
There NEEDS to be customer metric for this kind of thing and I hope one day VGChartz is able to become the go-to guide to truly assess the performances of systems in the future.
Sure. Look, I usually agree with everything you say, but you are completely wrong here. Let's look at two scenarios:
1) Sony, follows your scenario. They count everything they sell to the retailers. They then call EVERY SINGLE RETAILER IN THE WORLD, asking them how many PS3's are sitting on shelves. They then sutract one number from the other and come up with an accurate number of consoles sold to consumers. They come up with a number (3 million) and give that to their investors. There's a reason why NPD takes two weeks to get their data, it's a lot of hard work, and they're only tracking one country, they don't even track all of it, and they GET MONEY FOR IT.
2) Sony calls retailers their customers, and just counts how many they sold to retailers, which of course they know since they have control over it. They release a larger number (looks better to their investors), and since they had to do a lot less work they get to take an early lunch.
I'm sorry, but scenario 1 is ridiculous. Sony's customer is the retailer, not the end user.
Hang on, the second half of your post is basically agreeing with me, saying the numbers Sony released as their number of PS3's sold were actually sold to retailers and not consumers...
What's your point?
Help! I'm stuck in a forum signature!