When Will The PS3 Tie The Xbox 360?
It's probably safe to say there's about a 5-million-unit gap in worldwide sales between the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3. They've just announced that 360 sales have hit 40 million and at last count several months ago, the PS3 was at about 34 million, so 5 million seems to be just right.
Obviously, the PS3 has made up a ton of ground, especially considering the fact it came out a year after the 360 and in 2007, it actually fell even further behind due to the high price of the console, a lack of software, and the fact that Blu-Ray hadn't caught on just yet. Now that things have changed significantly, the PS3 has been continually narrowing the gap and at this point, it seems inevitable that it will eventually draw even with the 360 in terms of worldwide sales. The question is, when? Well, next to price drops, hot exclusives tend to move hardware better than anything else; it's easy to spot the PS3 sales spikes when games like Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, and God of War III arrived. Therefore, maybe we could argue that Gran Turismo 5 will be the straw that breaks the camel's back.
After all, the game is absolutely massive in Japan where the 360 is basically non-existent, anyway, and it's an easy 2-3 million seller. It should sell even more, actually. However, between now and then, there don't appear to be any major PS3 exclusives that would allow Sony to inch closer in the global competition, and Microsoft does have Alan Wake, which is shaping up quite nicely. Therefore, despite the surge when GT5 arrives, I don't think that'll do it...it'll be close, but I think we need one more massive exclusive to even things up. I'd like to think it might be Final Fantasy Versus XIII, but we just know so little and God only knows when it'll finally arrive. How about The Last Guardian? Eh...it's probably too "artsy" and too "niche" to really have a huge sales impact. But then again, we said that about Heavy Rain, so...
Then there are the shooters like Killzone 3 and Resistance 3. Maybe we should go with the third effort from Guerrilla Games; the title should hit store shelves at just about the time the PS3 is extremely close to the 360 (maybe just a few months after GT5 releases), so the timing would be just about right. Any other guesses? I'd mention PlayStation Move, but I don't have a lot of confidence that it will generate enough interest over Natal to help bridge the hardware sales gap.
P.S. By the way, Joseph Gatt did sign up to contribute; I think he posted three replies as "MoCap Kratos." Check it out!
4/23/2010 Ben Dutka