As someone who has been playing video games for well over 30 years and has an avid interest in video games beyond just the games themselves, I felt that it was worth keeping up with the overall health of the industry. Sales figures are obviously a good barometer of said health, and in looking through sales data for console hardware, I’ve come to observe that sales, while not exactly predictable in terms of numbers, are attributable to several major factors, and that we can understand how and why consoles sell what they do. By understanding the “how” and “why” of sales, we can make reasonable guesses as to the relative success of a given system even early on in a generation, and explain the relative performance of any two consoles.
The purpose of this article is to give a (mostly) complete history of hardware sales in the console market, showing the factors, trends, and data to give as complete of a picture as possible on the “how” and “why” of console sales. I hope that this will serve as a valuable reference for anyone else interested in the subject. While many of the more general points I make in this article are already well-known to most others who also regularly discuss game sales, I felt this would still be a good resource for people less familiar with the subject material, and serve as a good go-to reference for more specific information on console sales.
And now for something completely different.
While I normally focus on video games on this blog, they are not my only interest. I’m also an avid movie-goer. I’ve seen several hundred movies in theaters since I was a kid (I currently average about 15 trips to the cinema each year) and many hundreds more on home video and TV. All in all I’ve probably seen at least 1500 films, maybe more. I’m not really too picky about what kind of films I enjoy, either. But when there’s a movie that sufficiently interests me, I try to go see it in theaters. I just love the big-screen experience. The size of the screen. The big hi-fi sound systems. The smell of freshly-buttered popcorn. So, I decided to make a digression from video games and talk about the movies. Specifically, I wanted to take a look at the recent history and current state of the domestic (U.S. & Canada) box office, focusing on the the so-called “Blockbuster Era” of film, complete with all sorts of charts like the ones from my video game sales post.
(UPDATE: The article has been edited to take into account information on the XBO and PS4 revealed prior to and during E3.)
(UPDATE 2: The article has been edited to take into account news that Microsoft has rescinded their policy on second-hand XBO games.)
In my article “Do Video Games Cost Too Much?” I defended the video game industry’s current pricing practices, specifically the standard $60 price point for console games. I argued that the common complaints some gamers offer in regards to pricing practices — “Games cost more than ever,” “We’re getting less value for our dollar,” etc. — were false. But I did mention in that article that there are many legitimate complaints gamers have regarding the games industry, and in this article, I’ll be focusing on one of those, namely, used games and industry antagonism towards them. Continue reading