Betanews writes, once again just before CES week, Microsoft is claiming victory in the game console race, at least against rival Sony PlayStation 3. And once again, veteran analyst Sharon Fisher pores over the numbers. When I was a kid, I used to love word problems. You know, "Sally is 6 years older than Jane, and Jane is twice as old as Margaret. If the ages of all three add up to 21, how old is each girl?"
That's what Microsoft's Xbox 360 sales press release today sounded like.
The report said Microsoft had sold "more consoles, games and online entertainment experiences sold than any previous year," where "life-to-date unit sales of Xbox 360 systems climbed to 28 million consoles worldwide." It also expanded "the product's lead over Sony PlayStation 3 to more than 8 million units."
Did you notice that, nowhere in there, did they say how many of the things they actually sold? But taking everything into account, Microsoft would have to have sold considerably more Xbox units worldwide -- that is, outside the US -- than Sony sold PS3s, in order to make its 8 million claim true.
But there's also Microsoft's use of that elegant little word, "sold." What is "sold"? Does "sold" mean "sitting in a consumer's living room"? Or does "sold" mean "shipped to a Circuit City, where it's currently standing in a huge stack of others on clearance, soon to be returned"? Does "sold" even mean "On a pallet packed up for Circuit City, unless they cancel the order? We have no way of knowing.
Let's do the math shall we?