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Sony: It'll Be Tough For The PS3 To Outstrip The PS2

The PS2 was the most popular video game console in history. It's a tough act to follow.

As the PlayStation 3 continues to chip away at Microsoft's worldwide lead in this generation, we have to remind ourselves how much further it has to go before it can overtake its predecessor. If the PS3 has sold 46.6 million worldwide, former Sony boss Phil Harrison says, "yeah, but let's not forget the PS2 sold 100 million more than that." It'll be a "difficult challenge" for the PS3 to top that number, he told Eurogamer. Thing is, times have changed and the situation has changed. Said Harrison:

"I hope PS3 can match PS2, but I think the market dynamics are slightly different. It's much more competitive. For a large chunk of its life-cycle, the PS2 didn't really have any competition anywhere in the world. So Sony was able to sell a huge number of units. If PS3 does reach the same level it will take longer and it will be a more difficult challenge."

This was in reply to SCEE president Chris Deering, who had recently said he thought the PS3 could indeed beat the PS2, given time. Deering's point is that Sony sold far more PS2 Slims than "fat" PS2s and the PS3 Slim has only been out for a couple of years. Of course, we should also note that while the PS2 has been on the market for over 10 years now, the PS3 has just entered its 5th year of existence. Can it take down the PS2 some time down the road?

Well, only time will tell.

Tags: ps2, ps3, playstation 3, ps3 sales, sony playstation

11/29/2010 8:52:05 PM John Shepard

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Comments (46 posts)

Temjin001
Monday, November 29, 2010 @ 9:35:09 PM
Reply

A better indicator of success would be by examining the total revenue of software and services the two platforms have generated. If a PS3 can generate twice the amount of revenue than the PS2 did with everything the PS3 can offer, then 50 million PS3's would be just as healthy to Sony as 100 million PS2's.

And didn't Phil Harrison go to Atari? Is the poor guy eating out of garbage bins these days? What have those guys made in the last few years anyway?

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LegendaryWolfeh
Monday, November 29, 2010 @ 11:31:19 PM

Actually if I remember, I think he left Atari after that too, don't know what he's doing now..

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godsman
Tuesday, November 30, 2010 @ 1:25:01 AM

I don't think it's possible to generate more revenue. Although PS3 games cost more, but PS2 games has an attach rate of 10-12 (Forgot where I read that). PS2 having the largest attach rate plus the best selling console. I don't see PS3 to make more money than that.

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Shams
Tuesday, November 30, 2010 @ 8:20:24 AM

If you consider that the same generation (of children) have now grown up, it is quite likely that attach rate could increase. I know that I own more games for my ps3 than i ever did for the ps2, ps1, or any console I had before, which directly has to do with having increased livelihood. Of course, i don't have wife and children, as many do, but even if I count for a large minority (and I'm sure it's more of a majority as marriage age has increased steadily), it does account for something in sales.

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Fane1024
Wednesday, December 01, 2010 @ 2:28:09 AM

Who are these people who only buy 10-12 games in an entire generation?

I have nearly 10 times that many PS2 games...and I didn't get one until Xmas 2003.

p.s. PS3 will only have a chance to catch PS2 if Sony ever stop selling PS2s.



Last edited by Fane1024 on 12/1/2010 2:31:05 AM

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Riku994
Monday, November 29, 2010 @ 9:37:36 PM
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Im tired of that ad bot, can you ban him? I think the PS3 COULD outsell the PS2, but as he said it would take a long time. I agree that the market has changed, but with Move and 3D, the tables will soon take a huge turn and the 360 will fall below the PS3. Maybe after 10 years of life the PS3 could be close to the PS2, but it's only got 5 years to "move"(see what I did there?) 100 million units. Sony may have to "Step their game up" (har har har) if they wanna match their previous console.

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Snaaaake
Monday, November 29, 2010 @ 9:37:45 PM
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My take is that it will never, the PS2 had a good launch, the support of many 3rd party studios and the lack of competition when it first launched.

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Fane1024
Wednesday, December 01, 2010 @ 2:32:20 AM

Dreamcast?

Same situation as with 360.

Last edited by Fane1024 on 12/1/2010 2:33:41 AM

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Highlander
Monday, November 29, 2010 @ 9:41:18 PM
Reply

The way I look at it is from the point of view of Sony. because in the end that's all that matters to us as PlayStation consumers. As long as the PS3 ultimately pays back it's investment and makes a tidy profit, it is a success and there will therefore be a PS4. That is all that matters. Selling more than the PS2 is a nice to have target, but what matters is meeting the business plan.

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TheCrazyMerc
Monday, November 29, 2010 @ 9:42:38 PM
Reply

All the PS3 needs is a library similar to the PS2 and then we could talk about PS3 sales.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, November 29, 2010 @ 10:40:52 PM

With just as many JRPGs.

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Highlander
Monday, November 29, 2010 @ 10:49:25 PM

More JRPGs = long term sales.

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shadowscorpio
Tuesday, November 30, 2010 @ 12:21:13 AM

True. i say start building ps3 slims with the emotion chip. put the ps2 back into the ps3. Why compete with it. Join its forces again. Anything to help ps3 sales, you know.

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Sky_Genesis
Friday, December 03, 2010 @ 12:12:31 AM

Agreed PS3 Need The same stellar library as the PS 2...to compete

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lil3incher
Monday, November 29, 2010 @ 9:51:30 PM
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no the ps3 will never best the ps2 sales wise, the ps2 is still selling thousands of consoles every month

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WolfCrimson
Monday, November 29, 2010 @ 10:09:19 PM
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Ben, typo: 4th para, 2nd line- should be "thought" instead of though "though".

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, November 29, 2010 @ 10:41:35 PM

When I read those I insert a [sic] in my minds eye.

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WolfCrimson
Tuesday, November 30, 2010 @ 9:56:42 AM

[sic]? what's that?

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Underdog15
Tuesday, November 30, 2010 @ 12:17:35 PM

Most commonly used by editors to indicate that something is truly how it was said/found. It means that you know it was improper spelling/grammar, but that's how it looked. It gives the reader a heads up not to literally interpret the word they see as is and to figure out what they actually meant.

In this case, if the word "though" had "[sic]" written next to it, like in World's mind's eye, it would indicate that, sure, it says "though", but he didn't mean that word.

Sometimes in a newspaper you'll see it next to a word in a quote. Like when they quote someone as saying something and they use a word you or I know isn't right, but we can figure it out what they meant, when the newspaper quotes them, they will write "[sic]" next to the incorrect word use of the person they are quoting.

Hope the lame grammar lesson helps. lol

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AcHiLLiA
Tuesday, November 30, 2010 @ 1:25:00 PM

It's a song from Slipknot's first album.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, November 30, 2010 @ 2:21:30 PM

lol, thanks underdog, saved me a long breath.

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Underdog15
Tuesday, November 30, 2010 @ 2:31:31 PM

Wherever there's a lame grammatical lesson, I'll be there.

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Fane1024
Wednesday, December 01, 2010 @ 2:37:29 AM

Nothing lame about it; nicely done and entirely justified.

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Kiryu
Monday, November 29, 2010 @ 10:14:13 PM
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I think it will reach 100 million by the next 3 yrs.By its 10 yrs life cycle it will reach 146.6 million i guarantee it!

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frylock25
Monday, November 29, 2010 @ 10:18:13 PM
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i think the ps2 will have to stop being sold. then there would be a chance that the ps3 might catch up. might but not likely for a long long time. i dont think they will stop selling ps2's for a while. ps2 could see 12 years easily.

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BikerSaint
Monday, November 29, 2010 @ 10:22:31 PM
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I think PS3 can & will catch the PS2 over time, but for right now, it's all about the games, & the PS3 still has a long way to go to catch the PS2's amount of games.

So far from what I could find the PS2 has 2030 games, and the PS3 only has 650 right now.

(Please note: I averaged both of those numbers from all the various info I found so far)

Last edited by BikerSaint on 11/29/2010 10:23:25 PM

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Highlander
Tuesday, November 30, 2010 @ 12:38:36 PM

One thing that might help is to look at PS2 games that sold a significant number of copies. There are a lot of games on every platform that are just plain awful and sell insignificant numbers.

It might be interesting (but difficult) to analyze games that sold to a significant fraction of the console owning audience on each platform. Games that sold a million or more on the PS2 are actually not that common compared to the total game library of the PS2. If you look a them in terms of what percentage of PS2 owners purchased them, the numbers look quite low for some games that are considered perennial favorites. When you start looking at it that way, games that sell a million or more copies on the PS3 are doing far better than the equivalent on the PS2, because they are selling to a higher percentage of console owners.

It would be an interesting analysis, but getting the necessary information is very difficult.

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Alienange
Monday, November 29, 2010 @ 10:34:24 PM
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He's absolutely right. To match the PS2 numbers in the same span of time is going to be impossible for the PS3.

It's certainly not a lack of features and I don't even think it's the (current) price. When third party devs stopped making exclusives, Sony lost those console sales to gamers who simply bought the multiplats for the console they'd already had for a year. Others didn't see the need to buy a $600 console for the exact same game that played on a $300 console.

I think there was quite a shift in console loyalty between 2005 and 2007.

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A2K78
Monday, November 29, 2010 @ 10:45:12 PM
Reply

so wait, but did Sony just vindicate my long held view that the PS3 will never come close to PS2 in term of install base?

Anyhow it doesn't suprise me as why the PS3 will never come close to the PS2 in terms in sales. Even in home its home turf(Japan) its pulling Saturn numbers.


"A better indicator of success would be by examining the total revenue of software and services the two platforms have generated. If a PS3 can generate twice the amount of revenue than the PS2 did with everything the PS3 can offer, then 50 million PS3's would be just as healthy to Sony as 100 million PS2's."

If we were using that variable, then the PS2 still beats it by a grand canyon size margin. What make its so is the fact that the PS2 was litterally profitable out of the door(within a few small years) compared to the PS3 which Sony is still hemorraging from. With that said the PS3 still have a VERY LONG ways to go before it can touch the PS2 in terms of install base and revenue.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, November 29, 2010 @ 10:48:02 PM
Reply

Yeah it won't make those sales. PS2 went up against Dreamcast, chewed it up and crapped it out, then flew solo with tons and tons of 3rd party games that were only on that system, then beat up the Xbox1 with their own exclusives, timed exclusives, and reputation in the industry.

But you might say the xbox was ahead of its time insofar as it was primarily a shooter heavy machine, and now look around, now that gaming is more mainstream it is all about FPS this generation and the games that made the PS2 great aren't even selling worth a damn anymore. That said, I'm still happy the Playstation offers more diverse games and all those fun extras.

Given everything it offers, Sony should try to support it for 15 years as the trickle down reaches the people who are always a decade behind in their gaming.

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eLLeJuss
Tuesday, November 30, 2010 @ 12:07:05 AM
Reply

PS2 is boss. I think most of the people bought ps2 for FFX and/or Gran turismo 3

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DemonNeno
Tuesday, November 30, 2010 @ 1:19:45 AM
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Ok, this makes sense to me at a glance, but too many aspects of this system are overlooked. Firstly, the ps3 offers unimaginable features compared to its predecessor and even its current competition. Here's one thing they definitely didn't have in common; economy.

here's why I think the ps3 still has unforeseen potential:

It's usable (not just in the sense of gaming. Home theater entertainment is still another chunk of what ps 3 does) life span will exceed its current outgoing competition. Neither the wii our xbox have a reason to be owned other than gameplay. Sure, both play netflix, but most (some for now, but think of the future) tvs and home theater/entertainment equipment have online access... For free.

You get bluray, gameplay, internet, audio and video players. dig a little deeper in this and you'll realize the advantage this system has over equivalent equipment. Top notch bluray support and compatibility. Incredible upscaling of sd media and bleeding edge technology.

As the consoles leave town, one will still stand. it's safe to say there will still be enough good reasons to buy a ps 3 on it's tenth birthday. The same can't be said about the other systems.

Rewind to modern day. We have 3d gaming and the move still in their infancy. This is a kingdom of standard setting uses for one system. The move is getting credible recognition and 3d hdtv immediately has a ps3 associating knee-jerk reaction. Toss in 3d games that are creating interest and even 5 months from now is truly unpredictable.

It's not hard to figure out that the ps2 will own the ps3 in gaming software sales, but given the diversity of the latter, it'll blossom beyond expected success. We're talking about more than just one form of gaming and entertainment.

... Would it really surprise you if Sony brought us more features before the ps3 s cycle is done?

Last edited by DemonNeno on 11/30/2010 1:28:29 AM

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BikerSaint
Tuesday, November 30, 2010 @ 8:45:34 AM

DemonNeno,

And we should also be getting the Vudu streaming movie service without subscription fees too with the next firmware update.

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___________
Tuesday, November 30, 2010 @ 1:57:24 AM
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way to go state the obvious sony!
ps3 will never reach ps2 sales, probably not even 70%!
not even the exclusives count, because back then you had 1st and 3rd party but now 3rd party exclusives have gone the way of the dodo.
not to mention it released so late in comparison to the competition, not to mention it was and still is ridiculously expensive!

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Lawless SXE
Tuesday, November 30, 2010 @ 2:25:51 AM
Reply

It might be tough, but I think that it is very much possible. There is no doubt that the neXtbox and Wii2 are only a couple of years ago, and support for their current consoles will be cut relatively quickly, based on previous generations. Take into account that the PS3 will drop further in price, and remain longer on the market than either of its current competitors, and you realise that it should easily outsell those over its lifespan.

Then you have the PS2. It may have sold 150 million units, and the PS3 isn't sitting at even a third of that, but with more people than ever interested in gaming, the slow but sure migration back to PS brand, and the innumerable features available on the system, it only makes sense that it will take off once support for its direct competitors is cut. I only hope that Sony don't make the mistake of rushing out a next-gen system as a knee-jerk reaction to MS and Ninty.
Peace.

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shadowscorpio
Tuesday, November 30, 2010 @ 3:47:48 AM

Yeah. As long as Sony has costumers to serve it will do what is necessary. They realized that they needed to reconstruct the PS3 and sell it for a cheaper price and that resulted in more people purchaseing the product. A business can't tell the market what price to buy something at and always hope they will. It is the market that tell businesses what they feel is the worthy price.

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t4_robz
Tuesday, November 30, 2010 @ 6:34:05 AM
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nawh, the PS3 wont match the PS2 in sales! i highly doubt it...

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JCARROLL
Tuesday, November 30, 2010 @ 6:57:31 AM
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If they can cut the price to 199 in the next 2 years and if 3d TVs become affordable then it should sell loads. Then 3rd party developers would have incentive to make exclusives for it and then it would sell even more.

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A2K78
Tuesday, November 30, 2010 @ 12:04:46 PM
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"PS2 went up against Dreamcast, chewed it up and crapped it out, then flew solo with tons and tons of 3rd party games that were only on that system"

It amazes that the mass consensus still believe that the PS2 kill the dreamcast. Truth it was Okawas's long held belief after he he took over the company that SEGA should be out of the hardware business and there are quotes to back it up:

http://gamrconnect.vgchartz.com/thread.php?id=85928

with that said I don't why gaming media and gamers still believe the version of history that the PS2 killed the Dreamcast.

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RobiinzZ
Tuesday, November 30, 2010 @ 12:13:01 PM
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I personally dont think the ps3 will sell another 100 mil in its life time due to it needed to shift over a million a month.

But i do think it may hit the 100mil mark and i could see the sony releasing another new cheaper slim ps3 since i thought the ps3 slim came out quite soon after the phat.

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Highlander
Tuesday, November 30, 2010 @ 12:19:49 PM

If the PS3 goes a year or two longer than the PS2, it could out sell, or match the PS2 in terms of lifetime sales. The key thing is that it sells well in all markets, so it is an international brand. The 360 is extremely focused on the English speaking world in terms of sales, it is not perceived in the same way. The broad reach of the PlayStation brand and additional longevity of the PS3 could leave it sitting on a mountain of continued sales.

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Highlander
Tuesday, November 30, 2010 @ 12:17:32 PM
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A few things;

A price cut will drive sales, but Sony must be careful not to cut the price ahead of profit. The PS3 project has to make up it's costs and move into overall profit.

3D adoption, HD entering all the mainstream TV buying markets (even budget), and the continued development of BluRay as *the* HD video standard will all help.

Incorporating 'Net based video services like Netflix, and other net based media services covering TV, movies, music and print are all important elements of a strategy to lengthen the life of the PS3.

Move can extend the life of the PS3 further by driving it into the younger and more casual markets that the PS2 captured in it's later years. If HD screens in the 20-16 inch range come down to the levels we're seeing for computer monitors in that size range, then I think a lower priced PS3 with one of the budget screens becomes a possibility for a lot of families that were PS2 users, or even Wii users.

As the Ps3 drops in price and continues to last well, with really good games coming on it, we may even see a slight shift of buyers/users from the 360.

I think that the biggest element though relates to two gaming genre. Shooters and casual games.

shooters are such a focus on another platform, the actual game library of the 360 is relatively broad, but the sales on the 360 are hopelessly lopsided towards shooters, far more than they are on the PS3. PS3's non-shooter titles are much higher quality - in general, and te PS3 still offers a wider range of non-action titles. If the fascination with killing very many enemies/people in a game ever diminishes, the PS3 could see a benefit. It may be a case of waiting for the core demographic to mature a little, in which case it should start any time now. OTOH, many of the key demographic are adults, so there may not me a major shift.

Casual games, and I include those awful $0.99 games on phones, and those crappy 'free' facebook games, are something that represent a threat to all game console business. I feel like the PlayStation Plus service offers Sony a way to deliver bite sized game content for cheap, as does Home. As much as I utterly hate it, if Sony were to somehow bring a game like Farmville to Home, or PSN it could be a real winner. Alternately making sure that flash games such as this work in the PS3 browser would be a major help as well. Anything to keep those casual gamers connected to their PS3 instead of their PC or smartphone.

Delivering a PSP themed android phone with links into the PSN and compatibility of some kind with the PS3/PSP is a smart thing for Sony to do, but the Phone *must* be attractive to potential buyers. This way, the phone itself would help maintain and solidify the consumer's connection with the PlayStation brand as a whole, and the PS3 in particular.

There are many facets to it, but if Sony get's the majority of these things right they actually could sell in the same order of magnitude as the PS2. Maybe not quite as many, but anything over 100 million units is in the ballpark.

Of course we don't know whether there are additional things to come for the PS3. I noticed that nintendo is now selling a graphics tablet for the Wii. Sony could very easily put together a decent paint application - a user friendly, more basic version of something like Photoshop for example. Bundle it with an inexpensive, but industry standard USB graphics tablet, and you have a near instant product to 'compete'. It would also make a superb interface for command and control games like Command and Conquer or Civilization.

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AcHiLLiA
Tuesday, November 30, 2010 @ 1:28:43 PM
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Just have to wait near the end, PS3 is still struggling from what they had in the past and now I think.

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swapnilgyani
Tuesday, November 30, 2010 @ 2:59:13 PM
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As much as we hate to talk about it, one of the biggest things that influence the sale of a console is whether or not it is hackable.

I personally know lots and lots of people who bought the PS2 because modding it with a small chip meant they could play pirated games (that cost anywhere between $1 - $3). Same thing with the PSP.

One of the biggest factors that puts people off PS3 is that it won't play pirated games. When I talk about the wonderful games I play on the machine, many of my friends ask if it has been hacked yet. It is a sad situation.

But I think the PS3 will eventually come pretty close to the PS2, especially after the PS4 hits the market. As we have seen in the past, manufacturers and retailers will reduce the price of both the console as well as the games of the previous generation when a new one arrives, making it an affordable option for many.

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Highlander
Tuesday, November 30, 2010 @ 3:37:43 PM

I think you're wrong.

This is one of the biggest myths (perhaps even the biggest myth) of the current video game console age. This thought that somehow piracy drives hardware sales which is good. Good for who? Sony makes very little off the sale of PS3s, and people buying consoles to play pirated games don't pay for the games, so in fact it's a net loss to the industry.

The business model of video games is simple, the console sells at a loss initially and then the price drifts to the point of the cost to manufacture and stays there as the costs decrease, so does the price. The money that the console maker actually makes profit from is not the console sales, its the licensing fees from games and accessories. If people are supposedly buying consoles to play pirated games, then the console maker loses out completely, as do game makers because the ones buying a console to play pirated games are not contributing to the profits of console maker or the developer/publisher of games.

So, please let's not have this insane myth that Sony or anyone else can ride the back of software thieves to success. It just ain't gonna happen.

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swapnilgyani
Tuesday, November 30, 2010 @ 4:15:02 PM

I think you misread me.

I'm not saying in any way that it's a good thing that piracy drives hardware sales. It's not good at all (infact, I did say that it's a sad situation). But the fact is that piracy does have a bearing hardware sales, whether we like it or not.

You're right about the video game model of business, and that software piracy results in loss to the console maker. But that does not negate the point that a lot of hardware will be sold because it can play pirated games. Being able to play pirated games will improve the sale numbers for the console, not necessarily the console maker's profit margin.

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