Make the Case Editorial:
Monday: Why 360 is a success - Tuesday: PS3 is a failure
Thursday: Why 360 is a failure - Friday: PS3 is a success
With Sony continuing to give the gaming public Further Proof the PS3 is Done
, its Microsoft that is picking up the pieces and asserting their dominance in the video game world. While the Wii may own the overall hardware lead, Microsoft's combination performance in hardware and software proves this is Bill Gates' world, we just live in it.
Great Sales Figures
Earlier this year, the Xbox 360 passed the original Xbox in worldwide sales totals. With the Wii also selling more units than the GameCube, the new systems continue to chip away at the market share of the mighty PlayStation 2. While no one knows for sure whether this generation will be as big as the last, the one thing we know for sure is that the PS3 will not hold as big a chunk of the gaming landscape as they did in the last generation.
But the Xbox 360 wouldn't be in the good position its in without the massive game sales that accompany the system. Everyone knows about the console's ridiculous attach rate (which Microsoft pegged at 8.1 games per console sold as of December 1), but this shear routing of the competition was in rare form in a stunning display in November. In that month, Gears of War 2
, the Xbox 360 version of Call of Duty: World at War
and the Xbox 360 version of Left 4 Dead
sold as many copies as every PS3 game combined. Those three games covered the PS3's entire spread (which was a little over 3.5 million copies) and all told, Xbox 360 games obliterated the PS3's numbers by selling roughly 9 million copies total.
This sales dominance stretches back all year for the Xbox 360. An Xbox 360 game has held the top spot in the monthly NPD rankings nine times out of eleven so far this year. And Xbox 360 games have earned more than double the total number of spots on the list than PS3 games. The Wii bests them both in that department, but only because Wii Play charted every single month.
But Microsoft is not winning the war solely on sales numbers. With a simple idea that we all had at one time or another, the Achievements and Gamerscore system has turned out to be the biggest gamechanger of this generation. More so than Blu-ray. More so than the Virtual Console. Way moreso than Home. And even more than Miis.
But this nifty little idea is more than just a feather in their cap for Microsoft, it also ties in directly with why the Xbox 360 is as popular as it is. Making the Gamerscore grow has turned a whole class of gamers into Achievement Whores (I should know, even though my Gamerscore is just a shade over 3,000 I still get a little thrill "Achievement Unlocked" pops up). And this incentive (which only required Microsoft to come up with the idea) has locked in a whole group of gamers that will only buy multiplatfrom titles on the Xbox 360.
And it's not just third party games. Achievements can be used to show just how dedicated gamers are to Microsoft's big franchises too. Such as the recent release of Gears of War 2, which saw gamers unlock more than 19 million Achievements
over the first weekend the game was available.
Are You Experienced?
The New Xbox Experience took four months to go from announcement to reality and it streamlined nearly every aspect of the Xbox 360's Dashboard. While Avatars are an obvious Mii ripoff, the ease with which the NXE allows Xbox 360 owners to jump from section to section is unparalleled among the current crop of consoles. Meanwhile, many PS3 owners are reporting that Home is little more than a Sony branded Second Life clone that is interesting for a bit, but hardly worth two years of hype.
While the new navigation system is slick, the real power of the NXE is in all of the value added pieces that it adds to the (forgive me) Xbox 360 experience. Chief among those is Netflix video streaming. While I'm not a Netflix subscriber myself, I have yet to sign into Xbox Live since the NXE went live without seeing at least one of my friends watching a movie or television show through Netflix.
Can the Xbox 360 Keep the Momentum?
Interestingly enough, most of the heavy lifting to keep the Xbox 360 relevant in 2009 is being handled by Square-Enix and Namco Bandai. These two publishers have ensured that the PS3 will not be able to claim 2009 as "The Year of the PS3" as the two biggest exclusives left in Sony's stable, Final Fantasy XIII
and Tekken 6
, have gone multiplatform.
But Microsoft is no slouch either when it comes to applying the pressure to Sony. On top of an already solid 2009 third party lineup, Microsoft themselves will put out not one, but two games set in the Halo universe. And they've mostly licked the Red Ring of Death hardware problems that plagued the early years of the Xbox 360. And with optional hard drive installations of games thanks to the NXE and the new and improved "Jasper" hardware revision appearing on store shelves anyday now, the Xbox 360 hardware is in the best shape its ever been and 2009 will undoubtedly be the "Year of the Xbox 360"... just like 2008 was.