It's usually quite consistent. The NPD Group will release sales figures for the year that was — console sales, unit sales, game sales — and the press release battle will begin in earnest. Maybe Sony will strike first, perhaps Microsoft, but sooner or later both with bring the spin, each claiming victory over a certain area of the local games industry. Maybe they'll focus on raw unit sales — maybe market share, perhaps revenue? You'll be dazzled with numbers to the point where you have no idea who won what.
We've had the Sony press release, and its claiming "total platform performance", but Microsoft and Nintendo have both been a little quiet.
Sony claimed it was number one in Australia, with the PS3 achieving 25.3% of unit sales and 31.3% value share.
Michael Ephraim took the chance to talk up the PlayStation brand. He used words like "power", "exceptional", "aggressive" and "strength". We pictured him beating his chest vigorously whilst stating the following...
"PlayStation 3 continues to power in Australia. Our sales leadership strength continues despite factors such as economic downturn, aggressive industry pricing and new competitor consoles being launched. PlayStation 3 sales continue to perform because it remains a great value, high definition entertainment solution for all Australian families that offers exceptional games, movies, TV and music experiences."
We contacted NPD to find out precisely what Microsoft and Nintendo's numbers were like in comparison, but the NPD declined to provide them at this point, claiming they will be officially released later. According to one NPD representative, Microsoft is possibly planning to send out a press release at some point beating its chest about something or other, but at this point we can't be sure.
Which is stange. Usually both releases come out within an hour of each other, with a dramatically different story to tell. Did Sony actually dominate to the point where Microsoft is reluctant to send out a release of its own?
Its doubtful. Despite Sony's claims of "total platform dominance", numbers like 25.3% and even 31.3% suggest it was probably closer than Sony would have you believe. Most likely Microsoft still has some other stats up its sleeve to brag about. We await the press release with bated breath.