End 2008 hardware shipments: Things of Note


DS passed GBA last quarter. Its shoot up continues. It's certainly passed Game Boy and Game Boy Color individually, but as Nintendo prefers to report them as a whole, that's still the one barrier DS has to becoming Nintendo's most-sold system ever.

Here's the console equivalent. Don't take the early NES/SNES line segments seriously; since our first solid shipment data for them comes from the late 90s when they were almost finished, those looooong straight line segments representing 1983-1996 are simply the best we have. Wii has already passed GameCube and N64. SNES will probably be passed with another quarter. NES will take a little longer, but short a disaster Wii will be the most successful Nintendo home console ever by the end of 2009.

The line comparison is nice, but I also really like how this bar version looks, comparing Wii's growth with previous consoles' totals.

Europe continues to pull away as DS's biggest market, while Japan has had a slow year relative to DS's previous boom.

North America remains the stronghold for Wii, though. Japan is far in third here, accounting for less than half as many systems as second-place Europe.

It was already true that Wii was the most successful Nintendo console ever in Europe, but the amount by which that is true continues to grow. It's now nearly sold twice as much as second-place NES. I continue to think it's only a matter of time until it has outsold all previous four consoles combined, which would take about 28.7 million units.

For PS3 and X360 only worldwide numbers are available, so I can't go into as much detail.

In worldwide shipments at this age, PS3 is between where PS1 and PS2 were at this time. Keep in mind that both of those systems had a much more protracted worldwide launch, and that PS1 didn't have the advantage of coming in as the successor to the previous generation's champion. A sudden upturn to 100 million for PS3 still remains quite unlikely.

X360 beat the last-generation Xbox in the previous quarter; the rest of the growth here is gravy.

So how do they compare to the secondary and tertiary consoles of the last few generations? Pretty decently, really. Both are keeping their heads above the N64 mark, which was the previous best-selling secondary console at ~33 million. It's feasible that both X360 and PS3 will pass that by the end of 2009, though it's less of a certainty for PS3.

Though Wii has long since passed up X360 and PS3 individually, it's still a hard slog against the combined userbase of the HD consoles. At the end of 2007 the gap was about 8 million. By the end of September 2008 the PS360's lead had shrunk to 5.2 million. As of the end of 2008... it's 5.2 million. The holidays exacerbate Wii shortages, and it doesn't get quite the percentage boost of the others. It did better this holiday than last, however; in the final quarter of 2007, PS360 increased its lead over Wii by more than 2 million.

Thanks to Sony's change of shipment reporting methods a couple years ago and lack of giving decent LTD numbers since, I don't have anything fancy to show for PS2 or PSP.

To cap things off, the one phrase I may have used the most in discussions such as these:

There are more Wiis available than any near-launch home console ever.

At the same age, Wii shipments are about 50% ahead of #2 PS2, and more than double #3 PS3.


Console Sales Fall Sharply in Japan Amid Recession


Japan - Even the red-hot Nintendo isn't immune to the belt-tightening fear of recession. Just weeks after what was is the biggest part of the year, console sales are down across the board to a shocking low.

Compared to this week last year, the Wii is selling barely 42% of its previous total (2008: 26.7k, 2007: 63.5k). However, Sony's PS3 and Microsoft's XBOX 360 are both up several thousand units comparatively, but the Wii's 68% market share means this is a significant contraction indeed.

In a striking reality check, Nintendo (the company with untold billions of cash on hand) saw it's stock drop 12% after it cut its earnings forecast.

Stay right here for the latest and we take a look at how handheld sales are effected.

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Media Create Sales: 01/19 - 01/25 (Hardware)


Media Create Sales: 01/19 - 01/25 (Hardware)
NDS - 65,294
PSP - 38,280
WII - 26,770
PS3 - 17,708
360 - 7,663
PS2 - 5,007
DSi - 51,618
DSL - 13,676


Wii Scores First Three Spots in Japan; Fragile Debutes in 2nd


Japan - The Wii is finally starting to flex its muscle in the new year, this time by sweeping the first three spots in the weekly rankings. The GameCube remake Mario Tennis takes the top spot, but interestingly, two third party efforts make their way into the second and third spots.

Fragile, second on the list, is an interesting test by Namco to see if a quiet, exploration-based RPG in a post-apocalyptic world has any audience on a system typically dominated by first party Wii series games.

In third is Taiko no Tasujin Wii, another Namco game. Doing quite well for itself, the music game has crossed the 300k barrier, sharing that spot with only Dragon Quest Swords for 3rd party games on the Wii in Japan.

Media Create Sales: 01/19 - 01/25
01. [WII] Wii Play: Mario Tennis (Nintendo) 31,000 / 88,000
02. [WII] Fragile (Namco Bandai) 26,000 / NEW
03. [WII] Taiko no Tatsujin Wii (Namco Bandai) 25,000 / 316,000
04. [PSP] Zill'O (KOEI) 25,000 / NEW
05. [PSP] Monster Hunter Portable 2nd G (PSP the Best) (Capcom) 25,000 / 357,000
06. [NDS] Rhythm Tengoku Gold (Nintendo) 20,000 / 1,614,000
07. [WII] Wii Fit (Nintendo) 19,000 / 3,196,000
08. [PSP] Dissidia Final Fantasy (Square Enix) 18,000 / 866,000
09. [NDS] Devil Survivor (Atlus) 18,000 / NEW
10. [NDS] Wagamama Fashion: Girl's Mode (Nintendo) 17,000 / 684,000

11. [PS3] Gran Turismo 5 Prologue Spec III (SCE)
12. [360] Left 4 Dead (Electronic Arts)
13. [WII] Suzumiya Haruhi no Gekidou (Kadokawa Shoten)
14. [PS3] Naruto: Narutimate Storm (Namco Bandai)
15. [NDS] DS Uranai Seikatsu (Nintendo)
16. [NDS] Penguin no Mondai: Saikyou Penguin Densetsu! (Konami)
17. [WII] Mario Kart Wii (Nintendo)
18. [PS3] Fallout 3 (Bethesda Softworks)
19. [NDS] Tongariboushi and the 365 Days of Magic (Konami)
20. [WII] Animal Crossing: City Folk (Nintendo)
21. [NDS] Momotaro Dentetsu 20th Anniversary (Hudson)
22. [NDS] Kirby Super Star Ultra (Nintendo)
23. [NDS] Pokémon Platinum (Pokémon)
24. [WII] Wii Sports (Nintendo)
25. [NDS] Professor Layton and the Last Time Travel (Level 5)
26. [NDS] Power Pro Kun Pocket 11 (Konami)
27. [PS3] Pro Evolution Soccer 2009 (Konami)
28. [NDS] Animal Crossing: Wild World (Nintendo)
29. [PS2] Gundam Musou 2 (Limted Edition) (Namco Bandai)
30. [WII] Karaoke Joysound Wii (Hudson)



UK - Skate 2 Debuts in 3rd Place


UK – Nintendo’s Wii Fit retained its lead at the top of the software charts with a 21% increase in sales, marking the first time the game has held the number one spot for consecutive weeks.

Skate 2 debuted at number three, replacing EA’s previous new release, Lord of the Rings: Conquest, which moved down to number five following a 31% drop in sales. EA also maintains the fourth spot with FIFA 09.

Nintendo still has the most Top 10 games this week, thanks to Mario Kart Wii’s hardware bundling. Ubisoft’s own Wii Fitness game, My Fitness Coach, has entered the Top 10 at number seven.

The ubiquitous Playstation 2 has pushed Tomb Raider: Underworld into the Top 10 at number nine.

Rank Title - Publisher

1 Wii Fit - Nintendo
2 Call Of Duty: World At War - Activision Blizzard
3 Skate 2 - Electronic Arts
4 Fifa 09 - Electronic Arts
5 The Lord Of The Rings: Conquest - Electronic Arts
6 Wii Play - Nintendo
7 My Fitness Coach - Ubisoft
8 Mario Kart Wii - Nintendo
9 Tomb Raider: Underworld - Eidos
10 Professor Layton And The Curious Village - Nintendo
11 Guitar Hero: World Tour - Activision Blizzard
12 Mario & Sonic At The Olympic Games - Sega
13 Need For Speed: Undercover - Electronic Arts
14 Dr Kawashima's Brain Training - Nintendo
15 Carnival: Funfair Games - Take 2
16 Lego Batman: The Videogame - Warner Bros. Interactive
17 Lego Indiana Jones: Original Adventures - Lucasarts
18 Pro Evolution Soccer 2009 - Konami
19 Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare - Activision Blizzard
20 Fallout 3 - Bethesda Softworks
21 Gears Of War 2 - Microsoft
22 Football Manager 2009 - Sega
23 Grand Theft Auto Iv - Take 2
24 Big Brain Academy: Wii Degree - Nintendo
25 Littlebigplanet - Sony Computer Ent.
26 Quantum Of Solace - Activision Blizzard
27 Guitar Hero Iii: Legends Of Rock - Activision Blizzard
28 Shaun White Snowboarding - Ubisoft
29 Sonic Unleashed - Sega
30 More Brain Training From Dr Kawashima - Nintendo
31 Rayman Raving Rabbids Tv Party - Ubisoft
32 Mario Kart Ds - Nintendo
33 Far Cry 2 - Ubisoft
34 New Super Mario Bros. - Nintendo
35 Wall-E - Thq
36 Kung Fu Panda - Activision Blizzard
37 Saints Row 2 - Thq
38 Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga - Lucasarts
39 Off Road - Empire Interactive
40 Left 4 Dead - Electronic Arts


MC 2009-01-12 and Famitsu 2009-01-05: Things of Note


Based on the latest Famitsu hardware numbers...
PSP comparisons: After 214 weeks, PSP is where PS2 was at 167.3 weeks (May 13, 2003), where DS was at 95.8 weeks (September 30, 2006), and where GBA was at 145.6 weeks (January 1, 2004).

X360 comparisons: After 162 weeks, X360 is where GCN was at 15.7 weeks (December 28, 2001), where PS3 was at 25.5 weeks (May 3, 2007), and where Wii was at 4.5 weeks (December 28, 2006).

PS3 comparisons: After 114 weeks, PS3 is where PS2 was at 30.1 weeks (September 25, 2000), where PSP was at 56.7 weeks (January 6, 2006), where GCN was at 118.4 weeks (December 17, 2003), and where Wii was at 30.0 weeks (June 24, 2007).

Wii comparisons: After 111 weeks, Wii is where GBA was at 93.4 weeks (January 1, 2003), where DS was at 74.6 weeks (May 4, 2006), where PS2 was at 110.2 weeks (April 8, 2002), and where PSP was at 160.9 weeks (January 6, 2008).

DSi comparisons: After 11 weeks, DSi is where GBASP was at 27.4 weeks (August 20, 2003), and where DSL was at 11.0 weeks (May 14, 2006).

Though DSi had the holiday going for it, it and early DSL continue putting out ridiculously similar numbers.

Based on the latest Media Create hardware numbers...
DS vs PSP: Weekly shares of 65.6 / 34.4 bring total shares to 68.8 / 31.2. If DS stopped selling and PSP continued at this week's rate, it would catch up in 328.4 weeks (May 7, 2015).

X360 vs PS3: Weekly shares of 31.6 / 68.4 bring total shares to 24.1 / 75.9. If PS3 stopped selling and X360 continued at this week's rate, it would catch up in 194.5 weeks (October 11, 2012).

PS3 vs Wii: Weekly shares of 39.0 / 61.0 bring total shares to 26.3 / 73.7. If Wii stopped selling and PS3 continued at this week's rate, it would catch up in 238.8 weeks (August 17, 2013).

Week over week, everything is down. Mostly 20-30%, though not so much for PS2 and X360 at the bottom.

Famitsu Software Stuff
Animal Crossing: City Folk (3281) passes 1 million, becoming the 7th Wii game to do so. It's not keeping up with its DS predecessor (95), but what can?

White Knight Chronicles passes 300K, becoming the 7th PS3 game to do so.

I didn't pay much attention to this one in the last few weeks, but Kirby Super Star Ultra (3265) never did fall behind Kirby Squeak Squad (194) in terms of sales at a given time from launch. It remains the best-selling Kirby (at least modern Kirby), is at a point that Squeak Squad took many more months to reach, and should cruise past its total without much trouble.


Major Publishers Discuss Global Layoffs


In light of a continuing economic slump and a crowded holiday market, three major video game publishers have recently been clarifying their plans for global layoffs.

Electronic Arts has raised its headcount reduction figures from six percent to ten percent (about 1,000 people worldwide). Yesterday, 200 employees were let go at Black Box following the release of Skate 2; Tiburon has lost staff this week, and Pandemic’s Brisbane studio has been released from the publisher, according to gamesindustry.biz.

Microsoft recently announced plans to cut some 5000 jobs, with long-time Flight Simulator studio ACES bearing many of those layoffs.

Sony has claimed that its reduction in global headcount will not affect the games division, despite recent Gamasutra reports that the company intends to increase its projected losses to $2.9 billion. With the PS3 struggling in a Wii-dominated market, it remains to be seen how many jobs will ultimately be lost.


Media Create Sales: 01/12 - 01/18 (Hardware)


Media Create Sales: 01/12 - 01/18 (Hardware)
DSi 62,525
PSP 42,559
Wii 32,333
PS3 20,690
DS Lite 18,809
Xbox 360 9,576
PS2 5,760


Media Create Sales: 01/12 - 01/18 (Software)


Media Create Sales: 01/12 - 01/18 (Software)
01. [WII] Wii Play: Mario Tennis (Nintendo) 56,000 / NEW
02. [NDS] Megami Ibunroku: Devil Survivor (Atlas) 55,000 / NEW
03. [PS3] Naruto: Narutimate Storm (Namco Bandai) 44,000 / NEW
04. [PSP] Dissidia Final Fantasy (Square Enix) 29,000 /
05. [PSP] Monster Hunter Portable 2nd G (PSP the Best) (Capcom) 27,000 /
06. [NDS] Rhythm Tengoku Gold (Nintendo) 25,000 /
07. [PS3] Fallout 3 (Bethesda Softworks) 24,000 /
08. [NDS] Wagamama Fashion: Girl's Mode (Nintendo) 22,000 /
09. [WII] Wii Fit (Nintendo) 22,000 /
10. [NDS] DS Uranai Seikatsu (Nintendo) 20,000 /

11. [PS3] Gran Turismo 5 Prologue Spec III (SCE)
12. [WII] Taiko no Tatsujin Wii (Namco Bandai)
13. [WII] Mario Kart Wii (Nintendo)
14. [PS2] Gundam Musou 2 (Limted Edition) (Namco Bandai)
15. [NDS] Tongariboushi and the 365 Days of Magic (Konami)
16. [WII] Animal Crossing: City Folk (Nintendo)
17. [NDS] Kirby Super Star Ultra (Nintendo)
18. [NDS] Momotaro Dentetsu 20th Anniversary (Hudson)
19. [WII] Wii Sports (Nintendo)
20. [NDS] Pokémon Platinum (Pokémon)
21. [PS3] White Knight Chronicles (SCE)
22. [NDS] Penguin no Mondai: Saikyou Penguin Densetsu! (Konami)
23. [PSP] Musou Orochi: Maou Sairin (KOEI)
24. [NDS] Power Pro Kun Pocket 11 (Konami)
25. [NDS] Professor Layton and the Last Time Travel (Level 5)
26. [PS3] Race Driver Grid (Codemasters)
27. [PS3] Gundam Musou 2 (Limted Edition) (Namco Bandai)
28. [NDS] Animal Crossing: Wild World (Nintendo)
29. [NDS] Phantasy Star Zero (SEGA)
30. [PS3] Pro Evolution Soccer 2009 (Konami)

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Japan: Top Ten Games of the Bush Administration


Silly? A bit pointless? Sure. So sue me.

Looking at Famitsu software sales data for games released between January 20, 2001 and January 20, 2009, here are the top 10 games. Coincidentally, these are the 10 games from that time period which passed 3 million sales.

Top 10 Games in Japan During the Bush Years:

1. 5.58 million DS Pokémon Diamond/Pearl
2. 5.34 million GBA Pokémon Ruby/Sapphire
3. 5.29 million DS New Super Mario Bros.
4. 4.90 million DS Brain Age 2
5. 4.88 million DS Animal Crossing: Wild World
6. 3.69 million DS Brain Age
7. 3.54 million PS2 Dragon Quest VIII
8. 3.36 million Wii Wii Sports
9. 3.35 million DS Mario Kart DS
10. 3.04 million Wii Wii Fit

A few things of note. One, the bigger games are more recent. If we were to split this up by term, only 2 of the 10 would be in Bush's first term; the remaining 8 would be in the second term. Two, Nintendo/Pokémon do dominate the list. Square Enix's Dragon Quest VIII is the odd man out. Three, DS in particular rules the list with 6 of the 10; I guess it's heavily responsible for that second term tilt. Four: These games account for about 43 million sales. Though not every sale is captured on a Famitsu list that I see, that seems to account for about 10% of total sales of games released in that time frame.

Note that since we don't get Famitsu numbers until a few weeks after they happen, and we haven't seen the 2008 Top 100 yet, the final numbers will be a bit different. While I'm confident these will still be the Top 10, some of these are close enough that orders might change in those few weeks.



UK Top 40: Wii Fit Dethrones FIFA 09, Multi-Platform Titles Reshuffle


UK - Wii Fit climbed to the number one spot on the UK Top 40 software chart, as FIFA 09 dropped to number four following a 35% decline in sales.

Activision Blizzard’s Call of Duty: World at War has dropped 18% in sales, but remained at the number two spot, and EA’s Lord of the Rings: Conquest has debuted this week at number three.

Just 2,500 sales separate the top three spots. Need for Speed: Undercover fell to number six as sales were down 52%.

Grand Theft Auto IV made a huge leap from number 33 to number 18 thanks to a retailer price promotion, and Halo 3 reappears in the Top 40 at number 29.

UK Top 40, Week Ending January 17, 2009

1. Wii Fit (Nintendo)
2. Call of Duty: World at War (Activision Blizzard)
3. The Lord of the Rings: Conquest (Electronic Arts)
4. FIFA 09 (Electronic Arts)
5. Wii Play (Nintendo)
6. Need for Speed: Undercover (Electronic Arts)
7. Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games (Sega)
8. Guitar Hero: World Tour (Activision Blizzard)
9. Carnival: Funfair Games (Take Two)

10. Dr. Kawashima’s Brain Training (Nintendo)
11. Fallout 3 (Bethesda Softworks)
12. Quantum of Solace (Activision Blizzard)
13. Mario Kart Wii (Nintendo)
14. Lego Indiana Jones: Original Adventures (LucasArts)
15. Lego Batman: The Videogame (Warner Bros. Interactive)
16. Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock (Activision Blizzard)
17. Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (Activision Blizzard)
18. Grand Theft Auto IV (Take Two)
19. Gears of War 2 (Microsoft)

20. Far Cry 2 (Ubisoft)
21. Pro Evolution Soccer 2009 (Konami)
22. Wall-E (THQ)
23. Sonic Unleashed (Sega)
24. Football Manager 2009 (Sega)
25. More Brain Training from Dr. Kawashima (Nintendo)
26. LittleBigPlanet (Sony Computer Entertainment)
27. Mirror’s Edge (Electronic Arts)
28. Shaun White Snowboarding (Ubisoft)
29. Halo 3 (Microsoft)

30. New Super Mario Bros. (Nintendo)
31. Kung Fu Panda (Activision Blizzard)
32. Mario Kart DS (Nintendo)
33. Tomb Raider: Underworld (Eidos)
34. 100 Classic Book Collection (Nintendo)
35. WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2009 (THQ)
36. Left 4 Dead (Electronic Arts)
37. Midnight Club: Los Angeles (Take Two)
38. Prince of Persia (Ubisoft)
39. Resistance 2 (Sony Computer Entertainment)
40. Tiger Woods PGA Tour 09 (Electronic Arts)


PSP Cements Foothold in Handheld Market


Japan - Just as Nintendo was once synonymous with gaming in the way that Kleenex is synonymous with tissue,* Game Boy was used interchangeably with handheld gaming for more than 15 years. So when the data comes in showing that Sony's first entry into the handheld market has captured and held 30% market share or more for over six months, it's no small feat, especially when considering that the DS has overtaken the PS2 for greatest selling system in Japan, ever.

* How many other products can we say that about? Maybe the iPod for MP3 players? Twenty points to the reader that can name another product where the branding is synonymous with the product.

Oh yeah. Tussin. That's mine.

Clearly there are several issues that factor into this, including the much larger handheld market, the costly entry into hardcore gaming this generation*, and actually having a viable competitor to the Nintendo product**, but Sony's foothold in the market can no longer be denied.

* By hardcore gaming, I mean the ability to play a majority of games from "hard core" franchises on a single system.

** What? The Wonderswan? The Taco Phone? The Game Gear? Somehow, against gaming greats such as those, the PSP was only the first to seriously challenge Nintendo in the handheld arena.

Of Note & Notice
1. The DS (all models) is averaging 79.2k units per week since the beginning of 2008.
2. The PSP (all models) is averaging 72.4k units per week since the beginning of 2008.
3. The PSP has gained 7.55% market share since 08/27/07.

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