Microsoft: The End of New-Generation Console War Is Not Near

Microsoft Does Not See Nintendo Wii As a Winner of the Console War

by Anton Shilov
05/21/2008 | 11:49 PM

Despite of the fact that Nintendo Wii outsold all the other non-portable game consoles combined in the U.S. retail market in April, Microsoft Corp. believes that it is too early to consider the latest video game system from Nintendo as the winner of the new-generation game console war.


“This is only the third year of our [X360] existence and only the second year of Sony [PS3] and Nintendo’s [Wii] existence. Are we just amusing ourselves by trying to declare a winner and loser while the customers are still out there deciding? […] I think it’s way too early… When somebody’s well on their way to reaching 100 million units [that would be the time],” said Shane Kim, corporate vice president of Microsoft Game Studios, in an interview with Wired web-site.

According to some estimates, Nintendo Wii life-to-date sales are about 26 million units worldwide, whereas Microsoft Xbox 360 and Sony PlayStation 3 sold-through figures are at 19 million and 12.8 million, respectively. Even though many industry observers consider such data inaccurate, the figures outline some general trends worldwide: Wii has outsold PlayStation 3 by over 100% and Xbox 360 by more than 35%.

According to the head of Microsoft video game development arm, there may be no clear winner in this generation of video game consoles at all.

“The winner of the last generation [Sony] was the winner of the previous generation. They were building off that kind of success. The winner of last generation isn’t the winner of this generation, they’re in third. So now you’re talking about a completely different company, a very good company but not a company that has won a generation in quite a long time. Will they get to expand beyond 35, 40 million to 100 million? Will anybody? I mean, that’s going to be an interesting thing to see: Will there be a clear-cut winner like there has been in the last two generations?,” asked Shane Kim.

The most recent figures released by NPD market tracking firm showed that with 714.2 thousand video game systems sold in April, Nintendo Wii outsells all the other non-portable game consoles available today, Microsoft Xbox 360 (188 thousand), Sony PlayStation 2 (124.4 thousand) and Sony PlayStation 3 (187.1 thousand), combined. Analysts believe that pricing of Microsoft’s and Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.’s game consoles is to blame for such sales results. In fact, Robert Kotick, chief executive of Activision Blizzard, late in 2007 called Microsoft and Sony to drop pricing of their consoles to $199 level as soon as possible from $279 for the cheapest X360 and $399 for the most affordable PS3.