Xbox nearing 10 million sales, but

The article: http://www.avault.com/news/displaynews.asp?story=7212003-7233

It sound good but look at this:

The company said it has sold 9.4 million consoles since its launch. The Xbox is doing best in North America - with 6.2 million units sold - while it has sold 2.2 million units in Europe and 1 million units in Asia.

It looks like the Xbox is a bust in Europe and Asia. Only 2.2 million and 1 million units sold can’t be a good thing. What’s wrong here? Can’t Microsoft get any kind of penetration in the foreign markets? This has to worry MS a bit.

And…

An analyst told SiliconValley.com that the accumulated losses for the Xbox will top approximately $1.7 billion by the end of this year. That number could rise to $3 billion in the next two years as Microsoft is forced to sell hardware at lower prices to remain competitive.

That can’t be good for MS share holders. Can it?

:?

MS still thinks it has a shot in the market. If the Xbox 2 or whatever it’s called doesn’t gain on Sony, and MS loses a boatload of money on another $400 machine selling for $200, I’m sure there will be some interesting strategy discussions.

Nice for consumers, though. With such a powerful company selling the hardware so cheap, Sony and Nintendo have to go all out to keep their market share.

From many different reports it sounds like the Xbox is a bust in Asia, but I know nothing about numbers. Are there comparable numbers for other systems in Europe (just because I’d read somewhere it was doing o.k. there)?

I think Xbox and Gamecube are within shouting distance of one another in Europe. In Japan, the Xbox is a dismal flop. The Gamecube has done much better in Japan, of course, but I don’t think it’s performed up to Nintendo’s expectations in that market.

Sony’s basically killing everyone.

I think Xbox and Gamecube are within shouting distance of one another in Europe. In Japan, the Xbox is a dismal flop. The Gamecube has done much better in Japan, of course, but I don’t think it’s performed up to Nintendo’s expectations in that market.

Sony’s basically killing everyone.[/quote]

It probably isn’t Xbox’s fault that it’s a flop in Japan. The way their import laws over there work it might be seen as very dim, socially and financially, to buy a non-Japanse console. Also, it has to fight the natural ethnocentric advantage of Japanese gaming companies designing games that will hit with Japanese consumers. Home field advantage and all that.

It’s ironic that Microsoft is running into the same problem in the console market that helps them in the desktop PC space. Game consoles are a natural monopoly: both consumers and third-party developers benefit if there is only one successful one–consumers because they only have to shell out for one platform to play the games they want, developers because they only have to incur the development costs of one platform to reach all the consumers. It’s a much weaker natural monopoly than the business software space, because platform costs are so low, but it almost seems that if Microsoft was able to drive the platform cost to zero, people would still prefer the better-established console.

It also seems that Sony made some very astute technical choices when designing the PS/2. Although it was available a year-and-a-half before the X box (two or three graphics card generations in the PC space), it’s graphics hold up amazingly well–at least in the ways that seem to matter most to gamers. It isn’t the miraculous alien-technology that it was hyped to be before release, but it has served gamers and Sony very well.

In Asia or Japan? Has it done as bad in the rest of Asia as it has in Japan?

Question for whoever, how many PS2’s have been sold worldwide and how many have been sold in Japan? I’m just curious what % of the total PS2 sales Japan has?

Well, I hear the Xbox can play progessive scan DVDs with Dobly 5.1 surround sound, store and stream MP3s to your boxen, play CDs with a direct hookup to a nice sound system, and connect to HDTVs and plasma TVs. IIRC, Microsoft also announced they were adding a multimedia software package that allows you to rip DVDs and CDs, and display JPGs and such in a slideshow fashion…Oh, and I hear you can play videogames on it, too, but you have to pay like $50 bucks each for those…

What’s not to like, for only $175? I know a guy who bought an extra Xbox just for those features and has no intention of ever playing a single game on it, or linking it to his other Xbox to play competitively. After all, that would mean buying two copies of each game.

The fact the PS2 holds up well is a testament to all the programmers and artists that are willing to push themselves to the edge for the most popular current platform. It really has nothing to do with the design. In fact most of the programmers I have ever spoken with say the PS2 design is an impedement and not an aid.

As for a monopoly being good I totally disagree there. Competition makes better games and better value for all of us.

If a monopoly means I’d have to fork out less $$$-equivalents to get to play the games I wanted, then I’d say bring on the monopoly!

Three consoles suck, plain and simple, the competition is if anything detrimental to me as a consumer.

How could you ever think a monopoly in consoles would be a good thing? Why in the world would the price go down if you had control of the market? Isn’t that what people are screaming about in the OS space in regards to MS “monopoly”?

Gamerdad plug

I’d love to see one console, but Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo can be extremely hard-headed. I know a lot more about Microsoft and Nintendo’s history than Sony, but I just couldn’t see those two giving up control like that. Something big would have to happen. Like collapse of the industry type stuff, forcing everyone to get together. I’ll just be happy if all of the next gen consoles support wireless controllers and the ability to turn the console on and off with a remote.

What would be kinda cool is a $500 console that is expandable and could easily be modified to play games from the other consoles. That’s something I’d be willing to fork out the cash for. Unfortunately, since the architecture of the three major competitors at this point is so different, I imagine this is a pipe dream (until someone builds a console with a monster CPU and great emulation software).

aleck

Quite simply, becaue buying one console at $300 is cheaper than buying three consoles at $200 each the net cost to me as a consumer would be less, with the added benefit of being able to play every game that is released on a single machine.

Your just describing a PC basically. I don’t see the internals(CPU, graphics etc) becoming upgradeable since that would change one of the main points of consoles. You buy it and know any game for that system will run fine. I don’t think mfgs want to start dealing with games that way. You can run the game ok with standard HW but if you have the new upgraded GPU installed for your Xbox2 it will look really good. Doubt that would be very popular.

Well, I hear the Xbox can play progessive scan DVDs with Dobly 5.1 surround sound, store and stream MP3s to your boxen, play CDs with a direct hookup to a nice sound system, and connect to HDTVs and plasma TVs.

The XBox does not have progressive scan for DVD movies; it only works in games. The new PS2 with built in network adapter has progressive scan capability for movies.

Hah, that was what those guys making the aborted Linux console system had proposed. Talked with one of them for an hour a few years ago back at Linuxworld, and part of me just couldn’t figure out what weird reality he lived in. But the idea was that you’d be able to buy a special video card upgrade from your local retailer and just slap it in the system.

Thanks to Mike for the plug. I think one unified console would be good from a consumer standpoint. I know there are plenty of parents out there that keep their kids to one console which of course means they miss out on a lot of great games on other machines (and the PC). It’s highly unlikely that we’ll see it in the next couple generations…but you just never know.

As for Xbox in Asia, it has done poorly in Japan, not even breaking through 500,000 units last I saw. It was expected to do better in Korea, but it also tanked there. They all have PCs already or just go to one of the many LAN centers. Without the US sales, they’d be a lot further behind Nintendo than they are right now worldwide. As it stands, it’s probably about 1 million consoles difference between Nintendo and Microsoft with Nintendo ahead by that amount in total sales. But both of them are so far behind Sony there isn’t even a race. As the Sony slide presentation showed at E3 in 2002… “The console war is over.”

–Dave

Maybe Microsoft should abandon the other markets and just concentrate on the U.S. market ? I think only about 20,000 units have been sold in Australia.

The most popular market demographic in Australia for XBox’s is currently DINK’s and singles. Most other families with kids continue to buy PS2’s.

I think a console can be succesful even if it only has North America and Europe. Japan has less than half the population of North America and it’s an aging one at that. I understand that there are historically a lot of good games coming out of Japan, but that is shifting. Most of the games I play on a regular basis are made by western companies and I don’t think I’m alone in that respect.