Gaming consoles chalk up record sales

Price cuts, new slimline units and video connectivity helped the Sony PlayStation 3 experience record sales growth in 2009.

Price cuts, new slimline units and video connectivity helped the Sony PlayStation 3 experience record sales growth in 2009.

According to data from market research firm, GfK, Australian sales for PlayStation 3 units rose by 27 per cent in 2009. More than 318,000 PlayStations 3s were purchased to reach a total of 770,000 consoles, a figure which includes all versions of the device.

The rise comes on the back of global sales growth and record holiday figures. Sony computer entertainment director of sales, Tony Nico, said the PS3 slimline version, which launched in September, and drop in retail prices were the biggest influences on sales.

“I think the [price cuts] were the main reason, but there was a strong line-up of software launched late last year with Uncharted 2 leading the way as well as EyePet,” he said. “Ballpark, about 80 per cent of the PS3 sales were Slimline models.”

Despite continuing economic uncertainty and stiff competition from Microsoft, Nico said he was confident of a continuing rise in PS3 sales and market share moving into 2010.

“PlayStation 3 represented 19 per cent of the total $2 billion industry in Australia, but that’s over 12 months. If you look at the results for the quarter ending December, PlayStation 3 represented 23 per cent of the total market,” he said.

According to Nico, one of the advantages held by the PS3 is its range of customised video streaming services such as PlayTV and the ABC’s iView service.

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“[iView] was announced late last year and the latest figures are that PlayStation 3 users take up a 28 per cent share of all visits to the service,” he said. “It’s another reason to purchase the PS3. Of our users, 55 per cent are connected to our online network so it’s a big part of our business going forward.”

Microsoft’s Xbox 360, meanwhile, recorded a 12 per cent year-on-year increase but was still ahead in overall sales, selling 950,000 consoles locally to date.

Microsoft’s flagship console also recorded a 13 per cent revenue spike and the subscriber base for its online community, Xbox LIVE, doubled. Xbox product manager, Andrew Jenkins, credited the positive outcome to the slew of online services such as Videos on Demand, Facebook and Twitter that were made available to users eight weeks ago.

The company claims Australians made 8.3 million purchases through Xbox LIVE in the past year.

“We’ve got tonnes of plans to add more to Xbox LIVE in the future so you will see it grow tremendously in the next 6-12 months,” Jenkins said.

With a number of exclusive game titles such as Splinter Cell: Conviction, Mass Effect 2 and Halo Reach, Microsoft hopes to significantly boost console sales this year.