IDC: PS3 narrowly beats Xbox 360 in worldwide game console shipments

While the Nintendo Wii is by far the most popular of the current generation of game consoles with over 96 million units shipped worldwide, Microsoft has had the number two game console position for the Xbox 360. On Thursday, Microsoft announced 1.4 million units of the console were sold in December in the US, marking two straight years that that the Xbox 360 has been number one in the US.

But hold your horses! A new report from IDC now claims that the number two position in the current console wars is now in the hands of Sony's Playstation 3. IDC's press release says that they estimate that the PS3 has now shipped 77 million units worldwide, versus 76 million units for the Xbox 360. This happened even though the Xbox 360 launched in 2005, one year prior to the PS3's launch.

The press release doesn't go into detail on why this might have happened (IDC is trying to sell a report, after all) but we can speculate that one big reason was the poor performance of Microsoft's Xbox business as a whole in Japan. As we have reported before, Microsoft has sold very little of the first two Xbox console models in that country where Sony and Nintendo have their headquarters.

IDC's press release goes on to predict the future of the game console business will still continue to be mainly based on disk delivered games for a long time and that alternatives such as "Smart" TVs and set top boxes will not be a big threat to Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo's console businesses in the next couple of years.

Source: IDC | Image via Sony

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All of the sales are not just in USA and UK, in my country, from what I've seen, the PS2 / PS3 are dominating (Algeria). And I'm a big fan of the XBOX. Where the XBOX has the KINECT, PS3 had THE MOVE before that. So, sales aren't just in USA and Europe.

PS3 is sold in more regions than the 360.

Anyway, I'll still never understand why this is a story. It'd be like me suddenly becoming the richest man in the world 4 days before I died, even though I'd been broke for 99% of my life.

All 3 consoles sold well this gen, as it was more balanced than any before. Everyone can cherry pick why so-and-so was more successful this gen, but these numbers really don't tell the whole story. Not even close...

Considering that Japan market is lost for the X360, I'm surprise that the number is not higher for the PS3... It should have sold allot better. After all, it was, at the time, the cheapest Blu-Ray player you could buy.

The Wii was/is a HUGE success, but seeing the numbers for the Wii U, I guess people got wiser this time around. The Wii is probably under lots of dust in many houses, so no big rush to buy the next generation with that big tablet gamepad.

if you must know the waiting is over. what you heard before is regional sales not worldwide. when are people going to come to sense?

All three competitors have had a relatively succesful run. If they feel otherwise then there simply isn't enough market to share.

The Wii started out strong but while they've sold many consoles, the average Wii owner bought few games. Which matters less as Nintendo made a profit on the Wii itself. Xbox started out poorly with the PROD but become suprisingly succesful. PS3 is often consisdered a failure because it didn't dominate the market like the PS2 did.

But it stil sold very well. Worldwide it is now outselling the X360. Arguable this matters little because the most engaged gamers (a.k.a. biggest spenders) already made their choice. At this point I don't think it matters much who ships or even sells the most consoles.

The WII may have sold 96 mil, but a lot of those are not used, we have not used ours in over 2 years, it's collecting dust. We own 4 XBox 360's. 3 of them are 320GB models.

MorganX said,
Don't forget Xbox basically does nothing in Japan.

Yeah, I hope the next generation goes a bit better in Japan. More Eastern games would be a nice step. I can't even remember the last good RPG...

it's virtually a tie when it is all over between the tree. yes Nintendo shipped more but they set themselves to fail long term. Sony fell from undisputed king to barrely surviving. And MSFT went from underdog to be the best positioned to take over in the next round.

with equivalent leaked specs, graphics won't tip the balance on anybody's favor. it is all up to software and sony has shown again and again that they just don't get it with a dashboard that is more at home in the 90s than in today's connected world.

neonspark said,
it's virtually a tie when it is all over between the tree. yes Nintendo shipped more but they set themselves to fail long term. Sony fell from undisputed king to barrely surviving. And MSFT went from underdog to be the best positioned to take over in the next round.

with equivalent leaked specs, graphics won't tip the balance on anybody's favor. it is all up to software and sony has shown again and again that they just don't get it with a dashboard that is more at home in the 90s than in today's connected world.

I cant agree with you as much as sony fails underdeliver en so many aspects they are improving, microsoft on other hand its getting worse, they had 1 year advantage, RROD push more console sales, console bans push more sales too and they charge for live. They are making the dashboard more BLOATED, full of ADS yet they increase the price of gold live suscription.

Its not surprising to see that ps3 catched up and its getting better plus suscription means incentive not a requirement, ps3 its more reliable more console exclusive and again less annoyance. Its not perfect but its many ways better than microsoft proposition so far....

eilegz said,

I cant agree with you as much as sony fails underdeliver en so many aspects they are improving, microsoft on other hand its getting worse, they had 1 year advantage, RROD push more console sales, console bans push more sales too and they charge for live. They are making the dashboard more BLOATED, full of ADS yet they increase the price of gold live suscription.

Its not surprising to see that ps3 catched up and its getting better plus suscription means incentive not a requirement, ps3 its more reliable more console exclusive and again less annoyance. Its not perfect but its many ways better than microsoft proposition so far....


they should test you mentally before you post.

eilegz said,

I cant agree with you as much as sony fails underdeliver en so many aspects they are improving, microsoft on other hand its getting worse, they had 1 year advantage, RROD push more console sales, console bans push more sales too and they charge for live. They are making the dashboard more BLOATED, full of ADS yet they increase the price of gold live suscription.

Its not surprising to see that ps3 catched up and its getting better plus suscription means incentive not a requirement, ps3 its more reliable more console exclusive and again less annoyance. Its not perfect but its many ways better than microsoft proposition so far....


Hardly... I think this is bias, not logic... It certainly isn't accurate...

It will be interesting to see as well what MS does when the Xbox720 is launched. When the 360 launched they pretty much instantly dropped all support of the original Xbox. I'm hoping this was only because the original did so poorly and that since the 360 has done so well they'll continue to support it well after the 720's launch. That's one thing you can say for Sony though, they support each generation well into the the next.

Definitely, I believe the 360 will continue to sell because it is such a versatile console with everything that it can do. Combine that with a large game library that is already cheap (and will continue to get cheaper) and I think it'll still be selling similar to how the PS2 moved units late in its lifetime.

ozzy76 said,
Just because the Ford Tempo sold more than a Ferrari or Porsche doesn't make it a better vehicle.

Say this to all the Samsung Galaxy users out there, this is something they don't understand.

Jason Stillion said,
I love seeing the #2 and #3 race and fans attack each other while not acknowledging the #1 selling console.

As much as i like nintendo i cant consider the wii as "current gen" and the wii u "next gen".

boumboqc said,

Say this to all the Samsung Galaxy users out there, this is something they don't understand.

You mean iPhone users.

eilegz said,

As much as i like nintendo i cant consider the wii as "current gen" and the wii u "next gen".


Agreed. It's hardly the same generation of hardware...

Mr.XXIV said,
No, Android users. Preferably the sheep that call others sheep.

You are wrong and dont no the facts. The iphone is the best selling smartphone because it has 21% marketshare of all smartphones. Also the Galaxy s is better so just because the iphone is the best selling smartphone it doesnt make it the best

iOS is better overall because even with OS X, it all works together unlike Android where there's 1000s of different phones and most of them are just clearly garbage and become useless and no longer supported because they don't share the same family structure like Apple does.

ahhell said,
As has been said numerous times, SHIPPED does not mean SOLD.

Shipped mean console SOLD means there its demand, if there are not selling retailers wont ask sony to ship more since its shelf its full.

Just because america xbox360 sales its higher than ps3 wont mean the same worlwide

eilegz said,

Shipped mean console SOLD means there its demand, if there are not selling retailers wont ask sony to ship more since its shelf its full.

Just because america xbox360 sales its higher than ps3 wont mean the same worlwide


in UK I have seen just 3 PS 3 and the rest are 360... All my school folks use the 360.

eilegz said,

Shipped mean console SOLD means there its demand, if there are not selling retailers wont ask sony to ship more since its shelf its full.

Just because america xbox360 sales its higher than ps3 wont mean the same worlwide


Overstocking retailers, especially when you're trying to make your product appear successful, is not uncommon in retail at all...

ahhell said,
As has been said numerous times, SHIPPED does not mean SOLD.

It's a valid statement when something just got released. Here and there stores will over evaluate the demand and get stuck with surplus. This is when shipped != sold.

But in the case of the PS3 if it was not selling the stores would have cancelled orders a long time ago.

same could be said for xbox 360. so its fair to say that PS3 beats xbox in worldwide sale even it was release 1 years after xbox 360

Let us wait for the official numbers from both companies in two weeks. I've seen this claimed time and time again and every time it was debunked and the 360 has more than a 100 million lead in software sales over the PS3.
Plus IDC have been wrong lots of times. especially in the games industry.
Sony also couldn't be in any worser state with an ever increasing $150 Billion in debt and a credit rating of junk. This generation has cost Sony everything and their debt to equity ratio is 85% and rising. Soon loan sharks will tear Sony apart. They made a bigger loss than the profit of the two generations combined and the Vita is dead in the water. Hollow victory that only fanboys lament TBH.