Friday, October 19, 2007

XBOX360 Propels to 1st Place: Halo 3 to Thank?

Never underestimate the chain reaction of success a blockbuster title can bring. Right on the heels of Halo 3's release (okay, calculate in a month of lag for all those fence-sitters), industry sales jumped 74% this month, largely thanks to Microsoft's hit title.

Nintendo saw Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass (DS) rack in a hefty amount of sales (400K), coupled with the continued success of Wii and its casual-fun games. Between Zelda, Samus, and Wii mini-games, Nintendo saw well over 1 million copies sold for September and early October.

However, that number pales- and I mean pales- in comparison to what Microsoft saw since Halo 3's release. Clocking in at 3.3 million copies sold on release day, that number's since grown to over 5.2 million copies sold worldwide. If history taught us anything about hit exclusives, it's that each release is coupled with massive sales increases with its console.

As NPD Group analyst Anita Frazier says, "Halo 3 had a very big and significant impact on 360 hardware sales. Consumers always tell us that the availability of the games they want to play is the #1 reason why they purchase any given hardware system, and when you have a game of this magnitude, the effect of compelling content on driving hardware acquisition is evident."

Well, people weren't just acquiring consoles... they were snatching them up like all XBOX inventory was going to be incinerated by Christmas. Analysts can't help but chock that up to Halo 3 (and partially to others).

An NPD Group analyst, Anita Frazier, "We should continue to see strong sales for Halo 3 into the holidays and that will definitely help keep the momentum going for the 360. Not only that, but those new owners are going to be looking for some more content to play so it's a cycle that feeds itself."

With Sony's Playstation 3 and Nintendo's Wii offering nothing of world-shaking significance (yet), it's going to be a white-and-green holiday as XBOX360 games piggyback off Halo's penetration.

To sum things up:

  • Software Sales: +64% (Rose to $550.5 million)
  • Hardware Sales: +188% (Rose to $418.6 million)
  • Industry Sales: +74% (Total video game sales rose to $1.36 billion)

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