So there’s a press release making the rounds today about how Microsoft’s new Xbox motion controller Kinect has sold one million units in its first 10 days. This is big news for Xbox because Microsoft has made big noise about wanting to sell 5 million Kinect units by the end of this year, and they claim that these initial numbers put them on track for that.
But I can’t help wondering how this news stacks up to Kinect’s motion-controlling competition. First-week ticket sales mean everything at the box office, so why not apply that same prognostication factor to gaming? One million units in ten days is a great pull quote, but did Kinect manage to do better in its first week than Nintendo or PlayStation? And more importantly, what does this mean for Kinect’s future?
If you do the math, and in terms of “first week sales,” Microsoft‘s numbers equate to approximately 700,000 units in its first week. My research shows that in the U.S., Sony sold approximately 60,000 Move units (defined as an Eye Camera and one Move controller) in their hardware’s first week. As for the Wii console, when it first launched back in 2006, Nintendo claimed that it sold 800,000 units in the first eight days — which equates to approximately 525,000 in the first week.
Now it’s important to remember the importance of supply-and-demand when it comes to early sales. Sony and Microsoft both offered ample supply in their first week of sales, but Nintendo’s numbers were hampered by the fact that they had a nation-wide shortage of initial hardware units available. Early adopters had to work hard to even find a Wii console in those first months, when retailers sporadically received scant shipments which would usually sell out within minutes. So Nintendo could have sold more — a lot more — Wiis if they had had more units available at launch.
But here’s how first-week sales in the U.S. break down, in approximate numbers:
Nintendo Wii: 525,000
PlayStation Move: 60,000
Xbox Kinect: 700,000
The clear winner is Kinect, and it points to a strong future for the peripheral. But this doesn’t necessarily mean Kinect will outsell Wii in the long run, as that’s a very lofty goal; Wii has got a gigantic 4-year head start, and has demonstrated incredible staying power, with over 36 million units sold in the U.S. and some 76+ million sold worldwide.