CES 2010: Microsoft and Sony in console stats war

It’s actually not quite as exciting as it sounds…

For their respective press events at this week’s Consumer Electronics Show, Microsoft and Sony have emerged from some serious spreadsheet and calculator sessions with a collection of scintillating sales stats.

First up, Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer confirmed that Xbox 360 has now shifted 39m units worldwide since its launch in 2005. This combines nicely with sales figures just released by ELSPA which show that last year, Xbox games overtook Wii titles in terms of UK revenue. As industry news source MCV, reports:

Xbox 360 raked in £459m in sales throughout the period according to numbers from ELSPA, generating more revenue than any other platform. Wii still won in raw unit terms, however, with 18m games sold.

Over at Sony, there were no new total sales figures for PS3, but it was announced that over 3.8 million hardware units were shifted during the five week run up to Christmas – a 76 per cent increase over last year, and a record Xmas performance for the machine.

While we’re on a stat offensive, ELSPA has also announced its 2009 UK games industry sales figures. Total sales of all videogames software during 2009 amounted to £1.621 billion, with revenue on console hardware sales amounting to £1.06 billion. The latter figure represents a slight fall from 2008 (£1.905 billion), which ELSPA puts down to slashed retail prices. And of course, a big bugger of a recession.

Here are the rest of the numerical titbits:

Nintendo Wii stormed the field with software sales of over 18 million units in the UK, retaining the title of Number One software format by units sold. Sony’s PlayStation 3 also saw a dramatic increase by 14 per cent of software units sold, from 10.4 million units in 2008 to 11.9 million units in 2009. Overall, in 2009 UK consumers bought a total of 74.6 million videogame units – which works out at more than one per person in the UK.

However, it was Microsoft’s Xbox 360 which saw the biggest increase in software revenue in 2009, up four per cent from 2008 to earn £459 million and become the number one software format by revenue, overtaking the Nintendo Wii.

The Sony PlayStation 3 was the star console this year, posting a two per cent increase of units sold compared to 2008. However it still could not overtake the Nintendo Wii which retained the lead as the most sold console of 2009. In total, 6.7 million videogame consoles were sold in the UK in 2009, which is one console for every nine people in the UK.

The total value of console/PC gaming peripherals was £630 million in 2009, with total sales reaching 35.8 million units.

As for Wii, Nintendo President Satoru Iwata recently told Reuters that the machine had recovered from its mid-2009 slowdown, with sales topping three million in the US over the festive season.

It will be interesting to see how the consoles vie for sales in 2010. With Microsoft now confirming Natal for a Christmas release and Sony lining up its own motion controller as well as confirming that 3D stereoscopic gaming will be added to the PS3 firmware this year, there’s a serious specifications war still raging.

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Keith Stuart

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