Wow, the Xbox 360 is Absolutely Killing it (in the US, Anyway)

Illustration for article titled Wow, the Xbox 360 is Absolutely Killing it (in the US, Anyway)

I tend to let monthly sales charts wash over me these days because, well, I'm 31 now and don't give a shit which console sells more than another in any given month.

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Sometimes, though, I like to get a little hypocritical and take a peek at annual sales. And 2011's make for interesting reading.

While we've grown accustomed to the Wii destroying everything in its path, in 2011 - at least in the United States - a new sales king was crowned. The Xbox 360.

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It didn't just squeeze past the Wii and PS3, either, as with 7.3 million consoles sold it was almost three million clear of its rivals.

That stat, and plenty more like it, come courtesy of another exhaustive bit of number-crunching from Gamasutra's Matt Matthews, which you can check out below.

NPD: Behind the numbers of 2011 [Gamasutra]

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DISCUSSION

It seems like a surge in purchases from uninformed, casual consumers. This is fine in the short term, but what has Microsoft had to sacrifice to gain this extra 3 million consoles sold this holiday season? They have left their entire hardcore crowd out to rot. They cannibalized their first party studios and have them focused on casual games, or use the money to secure DLC or to fund their Kinect advertising blitzkrieg.

It's clear the short term gain is there, and it worked. But will this strategy be worth it in the long run? The Xbox, and the 360 were built by hardcore gamers who embraced it first. If they all jump ship, it will have an effect at some point. Casual gamers are a fickle bunch. Microsoft has thrown all of their eggs in a basket that could break at any moment when the newest casual craze comes out.

Do they have the ability to create another new IP that will have the impact of Halo? Because, Bungie is gone. While Microsoft tries to restart Halo with a completely untested studio, I wonder, is Halo even as relevant as it used to be in the post Battlefield/Call of Duty world, and without Bungie? We'll see.

Also, when PS4 launches, any perceived gap between the performance of Live and PSN will be gone when Sony builds it from the ground up with robust online gaming and cross-game chat in mind. Will Microsoft still try to charge for Gold, or will they try to do something more like PSN + and give Silver the ability to play games? That will be a real glaring issue, especially with PSN integrating with Steam more.