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.


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