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Liabe Brave
(09-26-2017, 08:22 AM)
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Just thought I'd fill in the missing numbers from July and August, to the best of my ability using parametrics.

The Xbox One total for July seems to have been 123k. This is closely constrained, but does also require that the "leaked" numbers be slightly wrong, whether due to truncation of significant digits or intentional obfuscation on the poster's part. (Or individualized copyright traps by NPD.)

For August, my calculations show Switch at 215-216k (with lower being favored), PS4 at 190-194k (with the very bottom of the range more likely), and Xbox One at 115-116k (with higher being slightly favored). If I had to select specific numbers, it would be these:

SWI: 215k
PS4: 190k
XB1: 116k

Of course, these aren't based on any access to the actual NPD results, so they should in no way be taken as definitive. The totals do closely match the gen-over-gen percentages given by Mr. Piscatella above--to within a few hundredths of a percent--but that doesn't mean the component values are correct. (Especially since many months in both comparative periods are themselves based on rounded estimates. The apparent precision could be spurious.)

But if we presumptuously take them as given, here are a few conclusions we could derive. First, percentage changes from July, and versus last August.


       MoM       YoY   
SWI   -3.2%      ---
PS4  -12.4%    +18.8%
XB1   -5.7%    -57.8% (last year was launch of One S)

       LTD       YTD   YTD vs 2016
SWI   2.01m     2.01m      ---     March launch
PS4  19.73m     2.19m    +15.1%
XB1  17.08m     1.23m    -21.0%

As stated by NPD, Switch has won most months since its launch, but PS4 has sold more overall this year. This isn't just due to Sony's extra two months, but also to Nintendo's stock issues. After April they were up on PS4 by almost 600k units, but then gave back almost 200k during May and June as they couldn't keep shelves full. July and August have been relatively modest wins, but perhaps they're indication of increasing inventory levels. If we accept Nintendo's continuing conservative FY projection, though, a holiday surge passing the PS4 for the year wouldn't seem to be in the cards.

PS4 is having its best year in the US so far, and by a decent margin. They started the year mildly down versus 2016, but since March have been up every month but May. It seems hard to imagine how they might fall behind 2016, since that would require their second-worst holiday yet. But Sony's fiscal year projection does have them down worldwide, so either they're lagging in the rest of the world, or they expect tough competition from One X and/or Switch coming up.

Xbox One is having its worst year in the US so far, and by an even larger margin. This too has intensified recently, with early-year spotty up-and-down performance turning into consistent large drops versus 2016. The gap to PS4 is now over 2.6m, the highest it's ever been in absolute terms. More than that, even as a percentage of sales it's also going up, despite that the ratio gets harder to increase as LTD totals get bigger. PS4 is now ahead by 15.5% in the US, its biggest percentage advantage since October 2014.

Perhaps more worryingly for Microsoft, Xbox One is now consistently selling much more slowly than its predecessor, launch-aligned. In general this isn't particularly new, as exceeding Xbox 360 month-by-month has always been a challenge. But each year, Xbox One's giant holiday seasons have made up for losses. But as you can see, that effect has diminished over time, and the non-holiday shortfall became notably higher in 2017.

Of course, Microsoft is betting big on One X to provide a boost. And since Xbox 360 had a relatively poor holiday in 2009, Xbox One will definitely beat it. But in order to reverse the entire 2017 gap, One X would probably have to drive the best non-Kinect holiday in Xbox history. That would mean One X being 30% of all Xboxes sold, if One S were flat from last year. That seems very unlikely, given that we already seem to see One S being lowered by customers waiting on X. If it remains 20% down, then One X would have to sell 40% of all Xboxes. That would be the fourth-biggest console launch in US history, bigger than Wii.

Overall, the trajectory of each platform seems set for the holidays. There's some question as to exactly how well each will do, both absolutely and compared to their competitors. But nothing aside from unexpected record-breaking results would really revise the overall picture.