What Makes A Console Sell: Price, Hardware Or Exclusives?

There's a lot to consider when diving into the expensive world of video games and dropping a couple hundred on the newest generation of consoles/PC. The gaming space offers a tantalizing selection of games, systems and everything in between to keep us heavily dosed with feverish excitement annually. Though, what are the actual selling points that cause us to dive in one direction over the other?

Read Full Story >>
The story is too old to be commented.
chrisx34d ago

I'd say the most important are the exclusives. followed by price.

FallenAngel198433d ago

Yet Xbox still outsold GameCube and Xbox One outsold Wii U

Rimeskeem33d ago

I think you miss the point. Price and power are still factors, but exclusives may have a larger impact then the other 2, just an opinion though.

FallenAngel198432d ago

And GameCube was still very powerful and cheaper than Xbox, yet still sold less than it despite having more exclusives

Saigon32d ago (Edited 32d ago )

Yet, you seem to forget Halo was a hidden gem that sparked sales on that system. Without Halo, I am not certain how successful the Xbox brand would be. The GC was also coming off of the failure of the N64. Many doubted the GC. I know I did and I wish I did not. What threw me off, in the beginning, was that controller but after using it, I wish I did not take that initial stance

With that, it just leads to the equation that exclusives do matter. But honestly, I believe all three factors play a part.

bluefox75532d ago

Nintendo is a bit of a wildcard. I truly don't know why certain nintendo consoles failed while others succeeded.

FallenAngel198432d ago

@ Sai

I’m not saying that exclusives aren’t important, I’m saying they on their own won’t guarantee a console’s success over its competition

yomfweeee32d ago

GameCube didn't have a lot of great exclusives, it lacked third party support and it was underpowered.

Same for WiiU.

FallenAngel198432d ago

GameCube didn’t even have a lot of great exclusives? 😂 I’m not even going to dignify that response with a list.

Also what dafuq makes GameCube underpowered? It ran most multiplats better than PS2.

S2Killinit32d ago (Edited 32d ago )

People generally dont buy Nintendo consoles unless they are handheld because there is an incorrect perception that Nintendo consoles dont have support.

Ps: how come xbox is shown with a VR headset? a bit misinforming picture isnt it?

Saigon32d ago


How do you explain the PS3 and PS4 success?

And you are right GC was a worthwhile purchase.

FallenAngel198432d ago

@ S2

People bought NES, SNES & Wii

@ Sai

They sold for a multitude of reasons, exclusives just happened to be one of those reasons.

PS3 & PS4 sold faster day one than 360 & XO respectively before the major exclusives even reached those Sony consoles.

Godmars29032d ago

Missing the detail that the sales difference between OG Xbox and the GameCube was 1-2 million.

Meanwhile, the PS2 was all by itself with a 100 million unit lead.

And wasn't the Wii U a late entry against the 360? Had pretty much crashed and burned by the time XB1 launched.

FallenAngel198432d ago (Edited 32d ago )

You’re missing the point that a newcomer like Microsoft was able to beat longtime veteran like Nintendo. It doesn’t matter how big the gap is, what matters is that the gap exists and Nintendo was on the losing side.

Wii U was an 8th gen console, unless you’re going to argue that Wii is actually a late 6th gen entry against PS2.

bigmalky32d ago

Xbox was a new venture, people were interested. It didn't help that the Gamecube released with only a few decent games and lacked a good first party lineup off the bat.

People also saw the Wii U as another gimmick machine, with the strange, handheld looking controller and a terrible lack of support from third parties.

Nintendo dropped the ball by not feeding their fan base fast enough with Mario and Zelda... Look what remedying that has done for Switch.

FallenAngel198432d ago

How is being a new venture supposed to be a perk? That just makes it that much harder to succeed. 3DO & Pippin were also a new ventures and those systems flopped hard. GameCube started with a far better first party lineup than Xbox.

Yet Wii U still had a number of exclusives, moreso than Xbox One. Fact that it still flopped despite having them shows that exclusives alone can’t guarantee success. It’s a multitude of things that exclusives are a part of that garner success for systems

tontontam032d ago (Edited 32d ago )

Haha you just proved his point.

most people bought xbox because of halo.

Godmars29032d ago

"You’re missing the point that a newcomer like Microsoft was able to beat longtime veteran like Nintendo."

Really getting tired of the myth of MS being a newcomer to gaming. More so since learning from another discussion that they were behind the MSX, an early 80s home-PC system that was popular in Asia and Europe. They had that experience, PC gaming experience, brought in people from Sega-US after they closed their doors, and still, they failed to repeat or come near the level of success Sony had against Nintendo when they first got into gaming.

FallenAngel198432d ago

@ ton

How? GameCube always offered a superior exclusive lineup than Xbox, yet still got outsold.

@ God

Because Microsoft was a newcomer to consoles. Bandai, Nintendo, Sega, Hudson Soft, SNK, & Sony all had prior experience with gaming before the made full on consoles and/or handhelds. Same goes with Microsoft. Just because they had some experience with some aspect of gaming prior didn’t guarantee that their fully fledged gaming systems would be a success though.

Also bringing up MSX is superfluous since the team at Microsoft that worked with MSX is entirely different than the team that worked on Xbox. MSX didn’t even release in Microsoft’s home territory.

Valve has tons of gaming experience as well, but that didn’t make the Steam Machines anymore successful. They were complete flops. Once again having proving that having experience in an aspect of gaming doesn’t guarantee success with having your own hardware platform.

Microsoft was still able to beat Nintendo when they entered the console market despite the odds being stacked against them. Doing that as an American company is no small feat. They were able to do so again in two generations later.

Godmars29032d ago

You keep dismissing that Nintendo, because of their failure with the N64, their slow adaptation of disc based tech, and success/retreat to portables, that they all but abandoned the console market. That the PS1 had effectively devastated them.

As much as you want to keep beating a 1-2 million sales gap into the ground, you keep ignoring that the OG Xbox's 2nd place position was 100 million behind 1st place PS2 and growing. That when the 360 was a thing the gap between it and the PS3 shrank. That early on the Wii nearly outsold both, or that the WiiU was more a response to those two systems rather than the XB1 whose direct competitor is the Switch.

And still, none of that means nothing. Three console generations in and MS *STILL* has a issue with creating exclusives. Seeing or showing that they can see value in 1st party exclusives. Are either somehow still "new" to the industry or just that generally incompetent.

PhoenixUp32d ago

@ God

You make it seem like just about any company could’ve entered the industry and beat Nintendo in the console space at the time.

Also I’m pretty sure that the argument wasn’t “exclusives don’t matter,” but rather “saying only exclusives matter is wrong.” Those two Nintendo consoles prove the latter statement true.

Godmars29032d ago

Much like its been repeatedly insisted that being a couple of million ahead of them was a big accomplishment?

And yes, anyone willing to move beyond the creative restrictions Nintendo was operating under at the time likely could have done better. Provided they actually had games and marketing.

PhoenixUp32d ago

It is an accomplishment when no other American company was able to have a significant presence in console gaming since the gaming crash of 1983. Microsoft had to start from scratch and they still managed while Nintendo had a preestablished fan base to rely on beforehand.

Acting like a newcomer coming ahead of a veteran is no big deal is very disingenuous, even if it is by only a few million units.

Yet Pippin was released when Nintendo was losing its top position in gaming. Sega themselves fell out of the hardware business around the same time, so no not just anybody could’ve just released a console and instantly come ahead of Nintendo.

Ratchet7532d ago (Edited 32d ago )

Xbox and Xbox one had a lot more 3 rd party support than gamecube or wiiu.
If switch was not supported by third party, I do not think first party titles would be enough to play for a whole year.

madpuppy32d ago

And, on top of that, not everyone is a fan of Nintendo exclusives as well as both those Nintendo consoles were interim consoles that in some cases were much worse than what they replaced.

Godmars29032d ago (Edited 32d ago )

While I give in on the point that not just anyone could do better than Nintendo, I still hold that MS were as much a newcomer to gaming as Sony. That, as an American company, they pretty much prove the example of the 80s game crash by repeating its mistakes. That if the Xbox can claim a point where thrived or had a success that it was from the wealth of it's parent company which was also behind it's mistakes.

Nevermind that you and other have to be so damn insistent that Xbox had a win against Nintendo, you don't really regard the quality of that win. That dismiss where Sony was at the time, or where Xbox is now. Use what was a shallow win 2-3 console gens ago to insist that it going to cause a current major win now that MS/Xbox has gotten its crap together - with no actual evidence that they have!

"You’re not wrong bro. It’s just the Sony fanboys on this site that have a hard time dealing with facts lol"

National, how are sales numbers not facts? The point that while MS has long stopped releasing sales numbers, they wont hesitate to talk about game users, who could be someone who just logs on and plays for a few minutes.

KickSpinFilter32d ago (Edited 32d ago )

Yet what helped sell the org Xbox was exclusives/3rd party AAA's and first complete online infrastructure, (Dreamcast had first online but was lacking) Wii U was an absolute fail lack of 3rd party AAA's and wonky console.
This is what sells systems in this order
1. 3rd Party AAA's support
2. Exclusives
3. Price
4. Where your friends play
5. Hardware

Marioraider1832d ago

Xbox had better exclusives dummy

Godmars29032d ago

Xbox had Halo, Gears and COD as FPS and realtime took over the industry mindset for game making.

Your 1st and 2nd are either reversed, or only apply to Xbox.

Mind you, by their own hype hardware is #1, though you got it right.

zackeroniii32d ago (Edited 32d ago )

the fact that you are comparing the xbox consoles to those consoles says it all LMFAOOOOOO

WelkinCole31d ago

That is because in the end Xbox still had more games than Nintendo consoles you mentioned courtesy of 3rd party games that were available on the xbox, xbox1 that were not on the Wii U and game cube.

Bottomline is games matter the most and yes exclusives which are games would matter even more so.

So despite not have the bulk of 3rd party games that were available on PS and Xbox, Nintendo consoles still managed to survived on the power of their exclusives alone. Yes they are that powerful

If Game Cube and Wii U had the same support from 3rd party as Sony and MS Nintendo would have completely annihilate the xbox and give Sony a run for their money for the hardcore gaming segment. However Nin are happy with the lane they are right now.

So to recap. Games matters the most and exclusives games put the console over the top. They provide the edge.

PhoenixUp31d ago (Edited 31d ago )

@ God

What about Xbox repeated the failures of other American consoles before it?

Yeah I’m insistent on those Xbox consoles outselling those Nintendo consoles cuz that’s the point of the OP. Even if it’s by a few million like PS3 outselling 360 by a million, it’s still a significant event.

Even without as strong an exclusive lineup as its Nintendo contemporaries, those Microsoft consoles still sold more. This goes to show that exclusives on their own can’t make a console succeed above its competition but that exclusives in conjunction with various other elements do.

I didn’t say anything about causing a major win for Microsoft now. I’m consistently reiterated what happened in the past, that’s all. Exclusives are very important yes, but if they alone were as important as chris mentioned then GameCube and Wii U should’ve sold more than those Xbox consoles. Acknowledging that there were other factors that brought Xbox and Xbox One relative success is basically proving my point.

Godmars29030d ago

"What about Xbox repeated the failures of other American consoles before it?"

The Atari game crash happened because Atari and several publishers focused on potential profits, a quick buck, over quality or entertainment value. MS's shown that bad habit to a degree with OG Xbox and 360, then majorly with Kinect and the attempted always online/DRM policies for the XB1. That they then sank money into fixing those issues, made re-commitments towards gaming after cleanly becoming complacent multiple times, aren't marks of dedication. Or rather they are, but not in regards to "providing the best games experience."

More like dedication to attempt to control the games/home entertainment market where Atari simply lacked the money from other sources to cover for their mistakes in a market that was a fraction of what it is now.

PhoenixUp29d ago

Xbox offered way more quality software than Atari 2600 hundred which had an over abundance of shovelware.

Idk why Microsoft’s business as a whole is being called into question when the topic has merely been about two Xbox consoles outselling two Nintendo consoles with better exclusives.

+ Show (30) more repliesLast reply 29d ago
kevnb32d ago (Edited 32d ago )

Marketing is the most important part actually, Microsoft really failed at the start of the gen. Sony didn’t even have any good exclusives for quite a while, they still killed Microsoft.

kevnb32d ago (Edited 32d ago )

People disagree but it’s the truth, Microsoft actually had better games at first but they also had a huge pr issue. This is why companies spend billions of dollars on advertising, it matters more than the product itself in many cases. If you look at the wii u you will see just how a good console can fail with poor marketing.

mcstorm32d ago

Yep your spot on. The start of a product is hype and advertising. You get that right and then later on give the games your on for a winner. Microsoft and Nintendo started off the new gen with better games than Sony but advertising and pr was poor on them both and sonys exclusives grew and became quality which kept the sales coming.

Look at the vita and 3ds for example of where Sony messed up but had great hardware.

EddieNX 32d ago (Edited 32d ago )

Youre right. PS4 had mediocre exclusives for first 2 years. All these good ones started dropping probably cus they took years to make.

Xbox1 had great exclusives at the start. Had loads of really good ones on day 1.

mkis00732d ago

You're correct but it was marginal in the beginning. It wasnt like xbox had a game of the year contender in the first 2 years. But if you look into why that was the case it brings you to the end of the previous gen with ps3 getting a huge goty exclusive the same year they released the ps4 (among other exclusives). 360 had nothing to compare the last few years.

This situation, whether consciously or subconsciously, made people on the fence unsure about the new xbox console and how long it would be supported. Somewhat similar to the situation they have now.

BehindTheRows32d ago (Edited 32d ago )

They killed Xbox in the beginning for a multitude of reasons and marketing was simply one of them. The early exclusive argument has, also, generally been irrelevant given most devices don’t launch with game changers (and the people claiming PS4’s first two years were just ‘mediocre’ clearly missed stuff like Bloodborne, inFAMOUS: Second Son, and Until Dawn).

Microsoft didn’t release anything Earth-shattering during those first two years (nothing coming anywhere near the cultural phenomenons of Bioshock, Gears of War, or Mass Effect).

Ultimately, it was Sony’s MASSIVE presence around the world, coupled with key marketing, few mistakes, the promise of gaming goodness, and an affordable price that helped kickstart where they ended up. The few gems I threw in also didn’t hurt (along with massive 3rd party deals like Battlefront [2015], the Call of Duty games, and the original Destiny).

rainslacker32d ago

Marketing is always important. Even the best console can fail miserably if people don't know about it. The hardcore community may rave over it, but its the mainstream that makes a system successful or not.

That marketing is, or at least should be, based on the actual things the system offers, so if you don't have much to offer, you have to spend more on marketing, and maybe not be quite so straight forward with it, to do well.

starchild32d ago


You're right that marketing is a very important factor for any console's success. People that say it's pretty much all about the exclusives really don't understand the game market. While exclusives are certainly an important factor contributing to the PS4's success there are quite a few other significant factors that played their part.

Some of these include:
-A cheaper launch price, which helped them gain a strong foothold early on.
-Stronger brand recognition globally.
-Significantly more money spent on advertising.
-Stronger hardware for most of the generation.
-Superior quality in multiplatform games among base consoles.
-Microsoft's blunders leading up to the launch of the Xbox One which lost them a lot of good will.
-Nintendo launching the Switch so much later.
-The excellent job Sony did at presenting the PS4 as a platform friendly to developers and gamers alike.
-The fact that Sony consoles have sold very well in previous generations and people often tend to stay with what they're familiar with and where they've already made friends.

All of these things, and many other smaller factors, contributed to the PS4's success.

derek32d ago

This isn't correct, people buy consoles to play games full stop. Yes marketing is important at the beginning of a gen and throughout. But early adopters are most likely to know the best games are coming in time. If you have a long standing track record of delivering them like Sony than that will be enough plus the excitement of having the newest and greatest system. I think Nintendo has gone the other way by focusing in on a new way to play their games to drive the initial sales of its consoles. But games specifically the promise of new more impressive looking and technically superior games is what sales new consoles.

DaveZero32d ago (Edited 32d ago )

killing is to strong a word for a console dev that still went and sold millions themselves despite having hardly any exclusives.

I dont know why you fanboys think Microsoft failed, I would say any console devs getting there console into millions of hands is damn rite a winner.

I would say the signing of a multimillion pound striker into a club who failed to score at all for his team in 40+ games in a league season was a failure, not someone who manages to sell multimillion units of something to consumers.

And neither console devs had any exclusives for first two years, they were to busy bringing out remastered games and selling them to us all again on our new consoles. That is what happened and check any forum on the net because I remember what Sony fans were saying before there exclusives broken record song came out, which instead of that it was how standard ps4 was better than standard xbox one. It was not until Xbox one x was announced that the tune changed to this exclusive song and the tune always changes to a new broken record like more exclusives is needed on xbox.

DarkZane32d ago

The exclusives on Xbox One were just as mediocre as the ones on PS4 in the first 2 years, I don't see why people claim otherwise.

KickSpinFilter32d ago

Neither did MS at the launch, Sony and MS were about equal ground at launch with exclusives.

AmUnRa31d ago

Sorry but Microsft has been marketing like hell this generation, and it brought them no where. Infact they are in danger to be dead last this generation. So marketing is not that important, excl games are more important.

+ Show (9) more repliesLast reply 31d ago
ABizzel132d ago (Edited 32d ago )

A combination of all 3.

Overall Games > Price >/= Exclusives > Hardware as long as hardware is a natural progression and not weaker at a higher cost.

starchild32d ago

Price, power and exclusives all matter, but they matter to different degrees to different people.

For me price isn't a huge consideration, but power and game library are big for me. Much of the mainstream demographic, on the other hand, are very price sensitive and therefore price plays a huge role in which platform they decide to get.

Anyway, it really depends on the person, but I would say price, power and exclusives and quite a few more factors all matter to people. Just to varying degrees.

The PC is my preferred platform and part of the reason is because I think it has the best overall library of games, but that's certainly not the only reason. There are a lot of other factors that matter to me. For example, having my games look their best and run with smooth framerates matters to me a lot. Being able to have access to my entire library of games and enjoy any of them even if they are older (thanks to backwards compatibility) matters to me a lot. Having free online matters to me a lot. Having the ability to use mods matters to me a lot. Being able to customize the hardware and software to my needs and preferences matters to me a lot. Being able to play my games on a variety of different devices, including my laptop and desktop PC, matters to me a lot.

I'm hardly alone in this. I know many other PC gamers feel the same way. And I know that people choose their consoles for a variety of reasons too.

ABizzel132d ago


Of course they matter to a different degree based on each individual. My ranking was based on mass market appeal. Someone who's a fan of a specific consoles exclusives or brand would matter most.

But for the majority of gamers what matters is if it has their favorite games both 1st and 3rd party, how much it cost (since the majority of consoles are bought when the price drops around the $199 - $299 mark, if it has great exclusives to define the system, and if the hardware is a great enough evolution and worth the asking price.

rainslacker32d ago

I'd say it's a combination of many factors which all combine to give the consumer enough desire to buy the system. Games, exclusives or otherwise, tend to be the biggest attraction for a gaming system. The biggest system sellers generally aren't exclusives though. FIFA and Madden, are regular system sellers. Things like GTA or COD. But exclusives can also push people over the edge when deciding between two systems.

Cost is important to some, but moreso, power vs. price, and if that console will have games they want to play.

Online infrastructure is an important aspect nowadays, but people are going to look at playing specific games with their friends.

Side features may be important to some, but that tends to be more added value to help people justify spending money on a specific console if they're also in the market for those things. I think UHD didn't hit that chord this gen like it has for other things in the past.

So, most things are about games in some way.

Muzikguy32d ago

Exclusives number one but I also believe that it's a combination of the three

Livingthedream32d ago

Price and brand loyalty imo. I think the ps3 is a great example, the pricing was ridiculous, but the fact that it was playstation kept it alive

WelkinCole31d ago

Games is the most important thing for any gaming console.

The base is games and exclusive games in particular is what puts the console over the top. It is the main reason why Sony has been so dominant since they started in gaming.

Third party games is the first half of the game base. The second half of the game base is the exclusives which determines who comes out on top in the end.

Price of course is a factor but as long as they are reasonable comparative to competition price would not factor as much.

+ Show (4) more repliesLast reply 29d ago
Nyxus34d ago

A combination of all of them, but in the end the games are the most important, and exclusives is what set it apart from other systems.

sammarshall10233d ago (Edited 33d ago )

Correct. The PS4 has the best exclusives, was more powerful at launch while being cheaper, no DRM or forced peripheral, carrying over momentum from last gen with games like TLOU

That my friend is a recipe for 91 million consoles sold and they'll hit 100 million easily

rainslacker32d ago

Most everything comes back to games in some way.

Added features can help push people over the edge, and in some cases actually make people decide on the system, but for those looking for a game system, they're likely to be attracted to a game of some sort. It's the hardcore that buy it more for general gaming purposes. The mainstream will buy for specific games more often than not.

Hardiman34d ago (Edited 34d ago )

Price and games are the main factors but for me it's what games are available with that console. It's why I got a NES, SNES, Genesis, N64, PlayStation and so on and so forth. If Sega didn't have Sonic Adventure, Shenmue, RE Code Veronica, House of the Dead 2, NFL2K and Souls Caliber I don't buy a Dreamcast. If Nintendo didn't have Mario 64, Turok, Goldensye, Mario Kart 64, Ocarina etc I don't buy one. If PlayStation didn't have RE, Metal Gear, FFVII, Dino Crisis, Nightmare Creatures, Parasite Eve or Silent Hill I don't buy one. Same with PS2, Xbox and the 360 and if PS4 doesn't have all the exclusives it has and has coming I don't buy it! But and here's the kicker the PS4 does and because they always have and continue to do so I'll buy a PS5 and if they keep delivering I'm a customer!

nucky6432d ago

you're right. i'm not loyal to any particular company - i just go with the one that has the games i want to play - and sony has always produced great games.

Hardiman32d ago

That's it because I love gaming and I'm really loving how some of these studios are delivering experiences beyond fear or excitement. Sony's Worldwide Studios just happen to be very talented and can deliver them. As long as they continue that I'm there and if another starts delivering them I'll give them a go. Reputation and consistency go a long way with people.

BigTrain32d ago (Edited 32d ago )

I agree with what you're saying but it seems to fall in line with how I game and that is just to own them all. Presently I have everything but a Switch. Got burned with the WiiU so Im giving Nintendo a break until I see them headed in a solidified direction. A gamer loves games, period. Shouldn't matter where you play them. Everyone has their favored preference but a gamer at heart will go wherever a game is.

darthv7234d ago

It's price for me. I'm cheap in my old age so I know prices will come down, and when they do is when I jump in.

NarutoFox32d ago

You'll have to wait like 2 years for that price to go down

darthv7231d ago

No worries. I didnt get ps4 and xb1 until 3 years in. Whats 2 years waiting for ps5 and xb2.

SegaGamer34d ago

Games and price, hardware is the least important, which is clear to see at this point. PS2 dominated and it was the weakest hardware next to the Gamecube and Xbox. You also have the Xbox One X which is more powerful than the PS4 Pro and Switch but is being left behind. If console gamers care about hardware over price and exclusives, then they wouldn't bother with consoles anymore, they would buy a pc.

kevnb32d ago (Edited 32d ago )

Marketing, as soon as they started marketing the ps2 the competition suffered. This was before the system even came out. Heck many people think consoles are more powerful than pc, marketing is key.

rainslacker32d ago

I don't know how many people around here were around during the PS1 launch, but that was probably one of the most aggressive and effective marketing plans in gaming history. While there was a lot going for Sony that gen, namely they made CD media standard at a time where cart memory was very expensive, the biggest thing they managed to do was make gaming cool for those who weren't gamers. They brought gaming to the mainstream, and their marketing wasn't about the games, but the experience. Same thing most console marketing tries to replicate now....although ironically, Sony actually shows games more, but they still have plenty of that "experience" marketing as well.

starchild32d ago

"hardware is the least important"

Sure, to the casual mainstream gamers that make up most of the console market that's probably true. They tend to be most influenced by price, advertising, particular games, brand recognition and friends.

But enthusiasts generally do care how their games look and run. I know for me, for instance, it's easily one of the biggest considerations. But that's why I mostly game on PC, so you're kind of right about that. Although, I don't think it's a completely either/or kind of thing. It seems some of the more serious console gamers care too, even if they don't want to play on PC for some reason. That's why the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X have seen somewhat decent sales despite being priced higher.

Santouryuu32d ago

Dont know about putting hardware last. Since I think the GC lost because of hardware, to be more specific the looks.