360 leads hardware to software ratio, Wii and PS3 trail with similar ratios


Heading into the holiday season, it's worth looking at NPD's sales figures from September in the United States with particular attention paid to the total hardware to software sales ratios of the current generation consoles. Although people typically call it the "attach rate," NPD was clear to point out to Joystiq that an attach rate corresponds to a specific title (e.g., Halo 3 has a 110% attach rate*). The sales ratio has been most controversial for the Wii as the console's been unfairly labeled as a Wii Sports seller, and not much else. Comparing current hardware to software sales ratios shows Xbox 360 leads with nearly seven games sold for every system. PS3 and Wii, in terms of this ratio, are practically equal, although the Wii has sold 2.6 million more units. The hard numbers:
  • Xbox 360: hardware to software ratio: 6.59 (hardware total sold = 6.8 million; software total sold = 44.8 million)
  • PlayStation 3: hardware to software ratio: 3.58 (hardware total sold = 1.9 million; software total sold = 6.8 million)
  • Wii: hardware to software ratio: 3.44 (hardware total sold = 4.5 million; software total sold = 15.5 million)
The data can be manipulated in numerous ways, but the one factor we feel obligated to point out is Wii Play's impact. Wii Play is considered "software" on the sales chart even though it's essentially an extra for purchasing a Wiimote (the difference between this bundle and a Wiimote without the game is $10 -- should downloadable games count too?). Wii Play has sold between 250K and 300K copies every month since its introduction in the States, accounting for a few million units of the console's software total. Removing that data from these ratios leaves the Wii hovering around 3 games sold per system.

Wii might be selling strong on both hardware and software fronts, but it could be doing better by focusing some of its marketing on actual gamers -- the ones who buy more games. It will be interesting to compare Wii's and PS3's data a year from now with the current data for Xbox 360. Microsoft's console has had an extra year under its belt to develop a strong software lineup, but with promising titles on the horizon for Nintendo and Sony (e.g., Mario, Smash Bros., MGS4, FFXIII, etc) the ratios may balance out in late '08. But for now, it's obvious why PS3 and Wii have such infamous reputations.

*Not a real figure; just a bad joke.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.