Analysis: Xbox 360, PS3's 'Reversal Of Fortune' Down To Modern Warfare 2

Gamasutra analyst Matt Matthews looks at Microsoft's surprise Xbox 360 hardware win in U.S. November sales as part of today's NPD analysis, linking it to Modern Warfare 2's launch and a resulting surge of Xbox-centric console buyers -- also touching on Wii and PSP sales.

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30sec3625d ago (Edited 3625d ago )

So the 360 increased its sales (compared to last year) by 16k? And the PS3 increased its sales over 300k, while the Wii dropped by almost 800k? Yeah, I guess it is a reversal of fortune :)

EDIT: Thanks for the correction Sangria.

Sangria3625d ago (Edited 3625d ago )

Mmmh no, compared to last year, it decreased. In November 2008, 836.000 units were sold while in November 2009, 820.000 units were sold. So year-to-year, it decreased by 16k while PS3 increased by 332.000 units.

According to the diagram, only the DS and the PS3 increased in sales on a year-to-year comparison.

raztad3625d ago

I agree that MW2 played a relevant role but why people is overlooking that 1m banned xboxs? most of them FOR SURE got another xbox.

Mike134nl3625d ago

The hackers actually already found a way to unban themself, if I remember correctly

StanLee3625d ago

What I want to know is how many XBox Live gold subscriptions Microsoft saw with the launch of Modern Warfare 2. Not only would new console owners buy gold subscriptions but friends of mine who didn't have gold subscriptions in more than a year bought new gold subscriptions.

silvacrest3625d ago

from what i have read it is pretty complex to unban your self, so unless it gets easier i wouldn't get that to make much difference

@raz, i totally agree, as if someone is gonna let there 20+ games go to waste when they could easily buy a replacement arcade, some people are delusional

BadboyCivic3603625d ago

to be honest, PS3 and 360 did well, its the wii that really fell off...

deadreckoning6663625d ago (Edited 3625d ago )

"most of them FOR SURE got another xbox."

Raztad, I find that impressive. No one forced consumers to buy another 360. They could have bought a PS3 if they wanted to. The 360 and PS3s are the same price now.I don't thk people are giving M$ proper credit. For a banned person to just get another 360 so quickly is a HUGE example of brand loyalty.

M$ did something SMART, yet the hate continues...*sigh*

@below- When u get banned, u can't play ANYTHG. Offline or online. Everything is in the terms of service.

travelguy2k3625d ago

wasn't it just the live account that got banned. Counld't you just by another live account and be good to go. I realize you would lose you gamer score and all, but you don't need a new 360 do you?

GrieverSoul3625d ago

Once again its here... the US sales results! The US!!! The UUU...SSS...

I just wish for once we would get a global charts across the platforms. Including JAPAN and EUROPEAN markets as well other regions across the globe. Then we would see how sales are going.

By the way, 4 million users are now on the PS3 Modern Warfare 2 leaderboards. Even if 15% are duplicate accounts its still impressive.

Ju3625d ago (Edited 3625d ago )

If MW2 was the one responsible for the increase in sales, then I would imagine, MS could report also an increase in XBox live memberships. Surprisingly, these haven't been reported, yet. (Even one month free memberships require new registration). If those haven't increased by much, I guess its legit to assume, a big chunk of sales went to existing users.

Also, MW2 sold reportedly 6.7M by now. The increase is possibly around 200K. A relatively low number compared to the numbers the game sold.

lowcarb3625d ago

"I just wish for once we would get a global charts across the platforms. Including JAPAN and EUROPEAN markets as well other regions across the globe. Then we would see how sales are going."

It would be nice to have a world chart but why? These are US numbers were talking about not the other markets. Why can't you just accept the fact that as of right now (maybe always who cares) PS3 is in 3rd but starting to really gain momentum? Wii seems to be possibly slipping and with the introduction Natal and the wand (or I forgot what SOny's calling it) both company's might get huge new face lift late next year.As long as Sony keeps delivering great games is all that matters.

Somnipotent3625d ago (Edited 3625d ago )

correct me if i'm wrong but the reported hack to unban oneself would require a new console anyway as you'd have to use a new cpu id. plus, most people would think it easier to cough up the $199 and just swap HDD. all in all, i'm a firm believer that MS did this intentionally around the release of MW2 because they just banned the hardware and not the gamertag itself which would allow anyone to just pick up where they left off. ingenious, albeit low (but then again, it is Microsoft you know), but it makes sense.

@ dead

wrong, you can still play ur games offline, you just can't log into XBL.

IdleLeeSiuLung3625d ago (Edited 3625d ago )

I think MS did really well considering last year they had a price cut and this year the PS3 is the same price as the Elite i.e. the value proposition is shifting in PS3s favor. Sony by all means did great as well considering they don't have a $200 SKU.

What most likely happened is you buy the console/game for the platform that your friends are playing on and the 360 has a larger user base in the U.S.


Notice that the average selling price of the 360 went up significantly. This suggest that these are new buyers or upgraders, not replacers.

"While we are not privy to the number of Xbox 360 systems bundled with the Modern Warfare 2, we can observe that the average price of Microsoft's system appears to have seen a significant increase in its average selling price in November." - gamasutra

Banning only affects certain features on the console and you can still play it offline. The Xbox Live account is fully functional, so no need to buy a new subscription.

raztad3625d ago

I find rather funny someone disagreeing with me in my first post. Some delusion perhaps?

Is there anyone really thinking that 1m banned are all playing PS3/Wii games now? I still remember some comments from xbox fans arguing that the most probable scenery for those banned was to get another xbox, something I agree with.


Considering how many xbox users keep going back to the same console RROD after RROD, I wouldnt be surprised. Friends, game collection could be a powerful attractor for some. Besides to pirate on the PS3 is not a viable option, so why would them?

Guitarded3625d ago (Edited 3625d ago )

First of all, english is not your first language, is it?

Second, there were not one million 360s banned.

Third, well, that is where the PS3 wound up in November NPD.

Funny you should mention RRoD too. Why wouldn't I go back if Microsoft fixes it for free for three years. Even if I had to buy a second one after three years I will have a warranty until the next generation. I have absolutely no problem with that considering last generation and every one before, that was a disc based system, I had to buy a new system or have it repaired at my cost within a year and a half. Including 2 PS2 fats in less then a year(90 day fat warranty sucked, so did DRE). I had three different 360s in three years and only paid for one.

Thank you for reminding me RRoD saved me money!

Lifendz3625d ago

but if you got banned, and you had a substantial library of games, are you really going to buy a PS3 and take the hit on trading all those games in? Even if you sell them yourself you're still going to take a major loss on those games. Nah, those guys weren't forced to get another 360 but I highly doubt they didn't. Between Modern Warfare 2, the massive bans, and the holiday season, it's no surprise that MS pushed more units than Sony.

And keep in mind that MS has a cheaper sku on the market. But all that aside, everyone did well. Nintendo may be falling down to earth but they're still on a different level than Sony or MS when it comes to sales. MS needs to refocus on Sony because Sony is right there with MS now when it comes to sales.

raztad3625d ago (Edited 3625d ago )


Nope, English it's not my native language. Did I say something wrong? I would like to improve. Feel free to PM.

I mention RROD because I know that is something that actually happened. When people is attached to certain hardware some things can be overlooked.

EDIT: I'm not quite sure but from your post it seems you are saying RRoD is something good. Thats funny. I obviously dont agree with that, under any condition.

Ju3625d ago

"Notice that the average selling price of the 360 went up significantly"

Not necessarily, since the $299 MW2 bundle would possibly have compensated the Arcade price for those wanting the game anyhow. That said, the ban was absolutely timed right.

FarEastOrient3625d ago

What about the sales through Wal-Mart and Amazon, they are not included in NPD numbers.

sikbeta3625d ago (Edited 3625d ago )

We all know MW2 helped M$ sold more consoles, so this is old news and xboyz still claiming a victory whereas Sony obviously sold more in Japan than M$, but they don't care cuz they think USA is the only country in the world and even with wii that sold less than 2008 but still being first in sales in America only

A quote from the Gamasutra article "NPD: Behind the Numbers, November 2009" page 2:

[ ]

"As with almost everything in November 2009, a key factor was the launch of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Clearly the Xbox 360 is the preferred platform for this game, and Microsoft has made multiplayer games and Xbox Live a key selling point for its system.

While we are not privy to the number of Xbox 360 systems bundled with the Modern Warfare 2, we can observe that the average price of Microsoft's system appears to have seen a significant increase in its average selling price in November.

That suggests that consumers were buying the Modern Warfare 2 bundles and possibly a higher proportion of the $300 Xbox 360 Elite systems, the ones geared for online gaming out-of-the-box"

Sarcasm3625d ago

MS tactics is definitely cunning. 1 million Live bans before the biggest multi-player game of the year. MW2 bundle (which is a pretty good deal for the consumer so that's not really a bad thing.) Multiple price drops or rebates. And lastly they're usual horde of advertising MW2 as an exclusive game.

So yes, MS succeeded with the MW2 plan.

However, in contrast Sony's ad campaigns were excellent, and 720,000 consoles in one month is still very good especially compared to last year. And they'll make up any loss ground starting this weekend with FFXIII releasing in Japan.

Overall a good holiday for all consoles. I'm not even going to start on the Wii since it's like a freight train with no end in sight. NSMB Wii is a fun great title for the whole family, and personally I'd buy a Wii just for that title too.

Sarcasm3625d ago

"What about the sales through Wal-Mart and Amazon, they are not included in NPD numbers."

Yes they are. This is where the inaccuracies come from NPD though. They do something similar to VGchartz where they "estimate" the portions from those retailers.

So in a way, NPD isn't as accurate as everyone believes.

badz1493625d ago (Edited 3625d ago )

I think when MW2 launched, 360 outsold the PS3 heavily, heavier than anybody would have thought but on Black Friday week, we had news that the PS3 sold almost 1/2 a million and there was no specific comment from M$ camp besides they sold double their previous week's number. so, IMO, Black Friday actually saved the PS3 from being outsold too much in November thanks to MW2.

but based on this one;

PS3 - 360 = 168,733 - 16,573 = 152,160 (PS3)

360 - PS3 = 819,500 - 710,400 = 109,100 (360)

Japan - NA = 152,160 - 109,100 = 43,060 *(PS3)*

there are things both camps can enjoy but unless the 360 had managed to outsell the PS3 >43,060 consoles in EU and other countries, PS3 won November but with THAT small margin worldwide, I think, it's was stalemate!

but there's no more huge game launch for any console anywhere else but Japan left this year! FFXIII is going to do serious damage to 360 in Japan! (although I think damage is already done enough!)

IdleLeeSiuLung3625d ago (Edited 3625d ago )

"Not necessarily, since the $299 MW2 bundle would possibly have compensated the Arcade price for those wanting the game anyhow. That said, the ban was absolutely timed right."

Do you really think that a $400 MW2 (I'm assuming you meant $400 not $300) console sold in a recession will make such a significant impact alone? In contrast the PS3 whom overall should bring more value is just sold at $300. That is quite a compliment.

Now coupled that with the console banning, and we now expect a larger number of replacers buying the Arcade. MS has in the past said that their most sold SKU is the Pro, so I expect the Elite to take it's place now and to compensate for this.

Either way, that means that there must be an insane amount of owners owning MW2 on the 360, since the bundled game isn't counded in NPD.

+ Show (21) more repliesLast reply 3625d ago
Alcon Caper3625d ago

The 360 sold more in November then the PS3? How'd I miss that?

raztad3625d ago (Edited 3625d ago )

LOL. You literally have been living under a rock these lasts days. On NPD day N4G exploded.

StanLee3625d ago

When Sony announced Black Friday sales, the PS3 fanboys flooded N4G predicting the PS3 would outseld the XBox 360 2 to 1 and I said then many would be crying when the NPD was released but alas, fanboys never really pay attention do they; they just rant.

TheHater3625d ago

Here, I will copy and paste my previous comment because I am too lazy to rewrite it.

So the PS3 basically outsold the xbox 360 by about 152K last month in Japan according to Media Create and the xbox 360 out sold the PS3 by 100K in North America.
That means that the PS3 outsold the xbo 360 by 52K for the month of November in Japan and North America.

In the US, the xbox 360 outsold the PS3 in November by 100k, while the PS3 outsold it by 152k in Japan. So in actually, the PS3 outsold the xbox 360 by 52k worlwide last month when looking at the PS3 and Xbox 360 sales from Japan and the United States

AssassinHD3625d ago (Edited 3625d ago )

In the US, but the PS3 outsold the 360 by a greater margin in Japan, so the PS3 actually outsold the Xbox 360 in November. That is of course not factoring in EU numbers, but there are no solid numbers to factor in.

Edit: It seems I am 20 minutes late with this response. I see TheHater beat me to it.

Darkeyes3625d ago (Edited 3625d ago )

@TheHater... If you look at VGZ (don't want to, but what alternative do we have?), PS3 outsold the 360 by a good 400K in November and is ahead by 150K in the early first week of December... (scroll down to see the figures of hardware).

Not bad considering 360 outsold it by 100K in America.... Japan is the place 360 got pwnd bad last month where PS3 sold 50K consistently per week and 360 sold around 20K overall.. And the rest is Europe, but still shocked that it outsold the 360 by another 200-300K in Europe with the price difference being nearly 150-180$!!!

TheHater3625d ago

Sorry dude, I don't trust VGchartz and their made up numbers.
I am using the official Media Create and NPD numbers for Japan and the US.

Media Create: http://www.nintendoeverythi...

Darkeyes3625d ago

Yup Hater even I am not sure about VGZ numbers, but history has shown that they always give low numbers for PS3 and so if that holds true, then the gap might be more than 400K.... But still I think 400K is a little bit too much... I am guessing somewhere around 200-300K in November, but can't really tell what figures are true....

December is all PS3 man, with FF13 releasing in Japan, expect complete console ownage (includes Wii) in Japan and am thinking the MW2 and Banners boost 360 got will at least lose effect in December (at the most I am pretty sure PS3 and 360 both will break even in US)... So I expect PS3 to end the year strong and man early next year is gonna be sweet...

Guido3625d ago

No sir, what's hilarious is the 1:10 ratio in sales that the PS3 gets over the 360 in Japan. What we have seen this November in North America is a slight giggle but not quite hilarious.

SilentNegotiator3625d ago

Some World Wide estimates say different.

But NPDs don't even include Wal-Mart Sales (One of the biggest retailers in the US), how credible/accurate can they seriously be?

Sales don't mean much anyway, so long as they're going well.

badz1493625d ago

I think a proper word would be "imploded"!

+ Show (8) more repliesLast reply 3625d ago
SpinalRemains1383625d ago

Yes it is a sad truth. The fanboys who spam the board are probably failing high school economics class too. I can't understand the fanaticism that they exhibit.

Guido3625d ago

Some may have failed economics here but not me. Having studied economics and sociology, I can see just exactly why the fanboys enjoy seeing sales of their favorite console. I also see how the PS3 is still in the lead world wide so please, don't talk trash unless you have the wisdom to back it up.

avengers19783625d ago

Everyone that was banned or that had there 360 RRod had to rebuy one and in november they had some impressive deals. The MW2 bundle was a good deal, wal-mart had 100 dollar 360's, and on black friday best buy gave away 6 games with the 360 not good games but 6 free games non the less. November was the first time in along time that the 360 actually out sold the PS3...even with over a year long lead on the shelves the 360 is barely ahead of the PS3 in sales. Halo:Reach footage using a new engine showed really just how out dated the 360 hardware is.

BakedGoods3625d ago

Yeah, Microsoft's smart. Banning consoles instead of Live ID's = more sales. One million consoles were banned, if half--even less--a quarter--no, a tenth of banned gamers bought another 360 for the biggest shooter/hacker-fest of the year that's 100k in sales alone.

Compared to Sony who seemed to achieve new consumers rather than the repurchasing of their own base, it's hard to look at the 360's numbers as overwhelmingly positive.

GrieverSoul3625d ago

This man speaks the truth!
Let him be heard!


TheBand1t3625d ago

Y'know, I llike my PS3, but this idea that MS banned a bunch of pirates who were illegally downloading games just to get more sales is incredibly stupid, to say the least.

deadreckoning6663625d ago (Edited 3625d ago )

@TheBand1t- Ummm, how was what M$ did "stupid". IT WORKED. Where have you been?

Ju3625d ago (Edited 3625d ago )

It worked pretty well. I would rather say, 10% is way too underestimated.

TheBand1t3625d ago


I'm saying that the idea that they only banned them JUST to get more sales is stupid.

AssassinHD3625d ago

Just to play Devil's advocate Bandit, one has to question why Microsoft did not combat piracy like this before. If their goal is to combat pirates, then why not do it all year long? I am not making this post to be anti-Microsoft, but merely for the discussion value. I do love a good conspiracy theory.

TheBand1t3625d ago

It is, perhaps, entirely plausible that they had no way of accurately tracking the pirates.

Guitarded3625d ago (Edited 3625d ago )

Microsoft has done bans at least once a year since 360 launch. Some years up to three times. In fact I believe there was one earlier this year also.

In any case, IF Microsoft used the pirates to boost sales, as has been implied here many times, that seems perfectly fair. You reap what you sow.

EDIT: By the way, there were not one million consoles banned. A little research goes a long way.

kneon3625d ago

I'm sure the banning of pirates was primarily about getting rid of pirates, which is a good thing which I support 100%. But the timing was primarily about boosting sales. If they had done this during a dead period for big games then the repurchases would have been spread out over time and wouldn't have created any substantial monthly sales increase even though in the end the total may have been the same. There may have also been a few % extra people that given time may have migrated platforms.

Timing it just before MW2 guaranteed that a lot of people would rush out and buy a new box. They can't risk waiting and falling behind on their online stats and looking like a noob :)

Ju3625d ago

I don't understand that. If piracy is such a problem and MS is so serious about it, why not make this an ongoing process?

I mean, obviously, they do have a way to detect modded machines. Why not simply ban it as soon as it hits the network. Why announce it or even make a big fuss out of it ?

Sarcasm3625d ago

"I'm saying that the idea that they only banned them JUST to get more sales is stupid."

You have to think about it this way bandit, why did MS ALLOW these pirates to accumulate up to 1 million? If anything, they should have been proactively banning accounts at an early rate to really discourage pirates.

Why did they wait until the holiday season and again right before the biggest MP game this year. Despite anyone's opinions on MW2, nobody can deny the huge selling power of that title.

+ Show (8) more repliesLast reply 3625d ago