It was obvious from the first week of sales that Microsoft Kinect was finding a home with the gaming public at large, but it's hard to think that the company's pitch of allowing gamers to "become the controller" would result in the amount of sales we've now seen. Kinect has only been out for two months, and has already exceeded the lofty goal that Microsoft set, finding a place for itself in the homes of eight million families. At first glance it might seem that motion controls have finally found mainstream success, but the truth is that the PlayStation Move is struggling in comparison.
The release of a new peripheral results in somewhat complicated sales numbers and data, since it's difficult to figure out exactly how much of an effect the addition of the device added to sales of the console itself.
Luckily there are people like industry analyst Michael Pachter, who make a living deciphering the numbers to give us the straight facts. And facts are what's important here, considering how much mud has quietly been thrown between Microsoft and Sony in the lead-up to the holiday shopping season.
Sony took the gloves off first, stating their belief that the Kinect was far more limited, and that in some cases, wouldn't be able to give players the same experience as the Move. After all of the name-calling, it seems that the public has had the last word.
The big players over the holiday season weren't just the extra devices themselves, but the PlayStation Move bundle and the Xbox 360 Kinect bundle. We knew they would do well, but the sales of each will likely surprise even the most hardcore fanboys. According to Pachter, the numbers are already painting a very clear picture:
"About one fifth of PS3 sales included bundles with Sony’s Move controller, suggesting a modest third month... About half of Xbox 360 sales included bundles with Microsoft’s Kinect peripheral, as Xbox 360 Kinect console bundles outsold PS3 Move console bundles by 5:1"
The discrepancies don't end with hardware, and while you might expect the software numbers to follow the same trend, they most certainly do not. Pachter sees the most telling results in the software sales, and it seems that Microsoft should be patting themselves on the back for their selection of launch titles:
"Microsoft announced that it has shipped 8 million Kinect units since launch (in November), which was raised from its earlier goal of 5 million. More significantly, in our view, the top two selling Kinect software titles outsold the top two Move titles by over 13:1."
The top two Kinect titles in question are Dance Central and Kinect Sports, as Microsoft's Aaron Greenberg recently tweeted that the two games had each managed to sell over one million copies in the US alone. We're not surprised that fans embraced Harmonix's dance title, since we concluded that the game was a must-buy for those picking up a Kinect.
Kinect Sports could be seen as mirroring the success of Wii Sports Resort with that console's launch, but a million copies sold is nothing to scoff at.
It's hard to calculate exactly what Microsoft did to draw such amazing sales numbers, but it's clear that somewhere along the line they made some great decisions. Sony will have to concede this round of the fight to their opponent, since their lackluster first month sales never rebounded in the way they had hoped.
Sony has a major challenge on their hands, and will need to get busy designing games if they want to keep the Move from going the way of the EyeToy. Taking one look at how Microsoft plans to expand the device's uses, and the hacks that have already been created, it seems that Sony is in for one heck of a fight.
Maybe they'll start putting less time into advertising, and more time into building up a serious catalog of games for the hardcore. We certainly hope that's the case, since that ultimately means better games for everyone.
Your move, Sony.
Source: IndustryGamers, Joystiq