Console tug-of-war as PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 both claim market leadership

By Patrick Avenell

If you ever needed proof that one can read any statistic to suit themselves, check out the following quotes released today from Sony Computer Entertainment Australia and Microsoft Australia:

“Despite a very eventful year, these results signal the PlayStation platform’s leadership position in the interactive games category in Australia,” said SCE managing director Michael Ephraim.

And then, 118 minutes later:

“We won at the telling Christmas period, we are standalone in our growth this year and looking at the past five years our consistency is unprecedented,” said Microsoft Consumer Channels Group director David McLean.

Both Sony and Microsoft quote NPD Group Australia for their claims of market leadership, with each choosing which individual statistic to use to support their announcements.

For example, Sony aggregates its sales of PlayStation 3 hardware, software and peripheral sales in order to deliver #1 value and unit shares in the Australian market. Singling out just the PS3 console, Sony claims a unit sales increase of almost 25 per cent year-on-year.

Whilst Microsoft doesn’t claim to have the #1 platform with its Xbox 360 range of products, it does claim to be “the only platform to show growth” during calendar 2011. Furthermore, the Xbox 360 console was the “number one selling console during the important Christmas sales period in 2011”.

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Amusingly, both Ephraim and McLean believe that their console platform is the best placed in the Australian market, using almost exactly the same language to convey this thought.

“We are leaders in interactive home entertainment,” is Ephraim’s take on NPD’s sales results, while McLean said that “It’s clear to see that the momentum in this industry is with Microsoft and the Xbox platform”.

For the year ahead, Sony is very enthusiastic about its new PlayStation Vita handheld console, which launches locally on 23 February 2012, while Microsoft is focused on growing its subscription base, with users able to stream Foxtel, Zune Movies and Music, YouTube and several catch-up TV services on the device.

We eagerly await Nintendo's announcement.

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