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Next-Gen: Hidden Secrets of Software Tie Ratios

Matt Matthews of Next-Gen.biz examines the great mystery of the software tie ratio, and what the most up-to-date tie ratios mean for their respective platform holders.

Hard Software Numbers

The Xbox 360 is way ahead of the competition in part because it had a full year headstart. Still, the PS3 and Wii have been out for the same length of time and the Wii has moved far more software.

Before the Sony and Nintendo fans get all bent out of shape, let's do a better comparison. Reports on December 2006 sales put the Xbox 360's LTD tie ratio at 5.1. Digging out our hardware LTD sales from that same period, here is an apples-to-apples comparison, each platform 14 months after launch.

The Wii looks great up against the Xbox 360 despite a lower tie ratio precisely because it has sold more hardware. That is, more system owners buying less software can give higher software sales than fewer system owners buying more software. Regrettably for Sony, they've got both fewer system owners and fewer software per owner.

Monthly Sales Too

Both the Xbox 360 and the Wii are doing well, and the PS3...ouch. Given that December is one of the two best months of the year for software sales, these are grim numbers for Sony.

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CNIVEK3527d ago (Edited 3527d ago )

360 gamers just tend to be more dedicated, avid gamers...not sure why, but it's true. One cool thing about LIVE and the Achievements system, is you can see what games people have played, and how much (judging by the % of achievements unlocked). I do this on a regular basis, because if some random guy sends me a 'friend request' after a fun COD4 match, or something, I like to know more about their gaming habits, before I accept. It amazes me the # of games most people I check have played, and often OWN.

The attach rate is one thing, but another intangible is rentals. I'd wager that 360 games rentals are easily 5x that of PS3 and Wii. Most PS3 gamers really only care about the "exclusives"...of which most have yet to release. This is even more the case with Wii, and most people are only playing the Mario/Zelda/Metroid games, and the pack-in party games. 360 owners tend to play just about EVERYTHING...good or bad...even if it's a rental, or a buy-then-trade scenario. I currently have a 360 library of over 30 games (not including XBLA titles), and have traded no less than 15 others in the past 2 years. As far as rentals go, I have no idea...but I'm sure it's 50+ (which is scary, since they're $8.50 each o_O )

This gen...so far...the 360 has done what the PS2 did last gen: it 's carried the multiplatform game sales. EA, Activision, Capcom,Ubi...all the major devs/publishers know that the 360 is where the $$ is, until Sony moves more consoles.

lesferdinand3527d ago

360 is aimed squarely at the hardcore. That's what Live is all about. The comparison with PS2 doesn't hold as that reached out to a mainstream audience, like Wii is doing right now. From a monetary perspective, publishers should focus all attention to the Wii. That's where the real money can be made: most units out there, cheapest development cost.

But 'fortunately' for PS3 and 360 owners, the video games sector is still quite amateurish and publishers keep spending millions on high-def upgrades of old games. They just don't know what to do with the Wii as this requires imagination and creativity instead of the cyclical graphics upgrades they were used too. So they release PS2 ports with tacked on Wii-controls, which fail. Which in their view justifies not devoting more resources to Wii development.

As it is now, 360 and PS3 will not become viable hardware platforms from a business POV. The major franchises will still sell millions and make some cash. But their installed base isn't and very likely won't be big enough to support the creative, niche titles that were released on PS2 in the previous cycle.

Lord Cheese3527d ago

Something that contributes to this, at least in my opinion, is the tiny little *draws* the 360 offers over the ps3 on multiplatform titles...

Take burnout paradise, for example. the game, is, for all intents and purposes, identical on both platforms. But, the 360 version, you've got achievements (which some people hate, and some people love) and, more importantly (especially given the shocking state of the in-game soundtrack) the custom soundtracks option. There are also the features you get on live that, as yet, sony havent delivered on psn, and you've got a few selling points there. Plus, theres the additional thing (at least in the UK) that for some reason, 360 games average £5-10 cheaper than their ps3 counterparts, its no wonder the stats are the way they are.

I've got multiplatform titles on both platforms, so i dont really have a preference myself, but for those that arent necessarily drawn to a particular platform purely by the console itself, you can possibly see why these things happen. (At least in my somewhat uneducated opinion :O) )

heavyarms3527d ago

those numbers should be getting higher for sony in the coming months.
I would like to see this numbers again next year and see if things have changed. Personally i have more games listed on the ps3 that i want for this year.

Bowzabub3527d ago

let's see.. i've had my PS3 since last February.. and so far i have 32 PS3 games, 25 PSN games. 9 PS1 /PSP games and i still play PS2 games on it too, which brings me to a total of 113 games i can play on my PS3 & PSP so what is my attatch rate? And how many of these 360 games do all of " the avid Diehards" have?? Oh... and I planned on picking up some more soon, too.

iMad3526d ago (Edited 3526d ago )

This show that other 32/5(sony atach rate)= 7 people with only one game. So you have 32 and 7 other people have only 1 games. And you know what that means? That means that more then predicted people buy PS3 just for movies. In your case that is 7 more :)

Verdict: Hardcore gamers buys tons games, movie watchers none on PS3. That is means that installbase not 100% from gamers. There is amount of people who own PS3 but not buy games. How much is it? I guess it is large, This example shows how much large it is.

coolfool3527d ago

The question is will the wii continue to make the gains it already has? Or will we see the "gimmick" factor kick in and people find that they become bored of their wii? This is the kind of decision a dev has to make. Today, the Wii looks strong but the devs can't really look at todays figure to make a platform choice as the dev time means the game will be realeased a couple of years down the line.

Taking this point of view I think the PS3 still has a lot of ground to make up to convince developers like it did with the PS2. At the moment (depending on genre and style of game made) the 360 is where the big money is.

lesferdinand3526d ago

"Today, the Wii looks strong but the devs can't really look at todays figure to make a platform choice as the dev time means the game will be realeased a couple of years down the line."

On Wii it shouldn't. Publishers underestimated the Wii and are still doing so because the crap (PS2 ports with some Wii-controls) they created for the platform didn't sell well. This says nothing about the platform but everything about crappy products: in general people won't buy them.

The Wii performs very well right now and had it not been for production problems at Nintendo it would be even further ahead of the other two. 360 sales are winding down instead of up, PS3 might pick up some steam in 2008 but so far it hasn't shown it will be able to beat the Wii. Only stupid management (of which there is plenty in the video game industry) would ignore these facts and keep hoping that their HD upgrade games will somehow magically lead to a surge in sales of the 360 and PS3 which will propel one (or both) of them past the Wii. And even if those platforms did succeed, development cost of their titles is so much higher, that they'd need to have an installed base of a couple of times as big as the Wii to be as profitable as a top Wii title.

To clarify, I don't own a Wii. A single platform is more than enough for me after my Gamecube did little but gather dust in the previous gen so I went for PS3 which will play my PS2 games but more importantly, is region free so I can play any game I like (including baseball games which don't get a release in the EU).

coolfool3526d ago (Edited 3526d ago )

You are right with your points, a little imagination and a cost effective developement could prove to be a tidy little earner for a dev.

However, I think the average casual gaming wii owner won't buy as many games as the more hardcore 360 or PS3 owner. I am talking throught the life of the entire console.

An example of the "average casual gamer" which the Wii has managed to reach is my female housemate. She hasn't ever owned a console before but she bought the Wii console with a couple of games and if she sees anything interesting in the future she might get that. But I can't see that she will ever own more than 10 games (and that is being optimistic) as she only like is it for the odd group wii session. I think she represents a market which the Wii has managed to tap. This is why it was imperitive that the Wii hardware was making a profit from the beginning. Nintendo don't have to rely on software sales to make their money.

Good comment by the way, bubble for you!!!!

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