The three consoles are still in it for the long run, but the Console Wars have just heated up! The Microsoft Xbox 360 still in lead at around 12 million consoles sold worldwide! Nintendo's Wii sits at around 9 million consoles and Sony's PlayStation3 at around 4 million consoles. But now both Sony and Microsoft have change their lineup and prices in effort to draw more customers into the battle.
Sony's price cut first and came a while ago, and was argued by many as a non existant price cut. In our original Console Wars article we laid on the prices of the 20GB PS3 at $499 and the 60GB PS3 (that also came with WiFi and a card reader) at $599. The 20GB PS3 eventually was quite quickly removed from the market due to low sales according to Sony. Then the 60GB version was dropped in priced to $499 in the US Market with a 80GB Version comming in at $599. Many argue that it wasn't a true price drop since at launch you couldn't get a PS3 for less than $499 and you still can't get a new PS3 for less than $499.
Microsoft's 360 story is a bit more interesting. Being the first console out the door gave it a advantage in more time to sell consoles. However, now the Nintendo Wii is outselling the 360 in the US because sales for the 360 have fallen (though they are still higher than PS3 sales). Still the 360 is in the lead with most consoles sold and Microsoft seems determined to keep it that way. First Microsoft added a 3rd 360 to its lineup, calling it the Xbox 360 Elite. It was black, had a 120GB hard drive, HDMI and sold for $479.99. It was meant for those that really used the Xbox Live Marketplace to download videos and for those that wanted HDMI for 1080p HD (High Defintion) Content. The Sony PS3 already has HDMI on all its console with the Xbox using Component output at 1080p (though most TV's only accept upto 1080i on component). Secondly, Today on August 7th Microsoft announced that as of tomorrow there will a price cut for all Xbox 360's. The Core Unit with out a Hard Drive will cost $279.99, the Xbox 360 Premium or Pro (which accounts for 80% of sales) will drop $50 to $349.99 and the Elite will drop to $499.99. In addition to a great outlook on game releases for the 360 in the future, this war is expected to really heat up!
Another concern that plagued the 360 was the failure rates, with a more than normal failure rate for Xbox 360s. Many attribute this as the cause for stagnation of sales. Microsoft has also address this problem with better heatsinks and new 65nm chips in Xbox 360s that are manufactured in July 2007 or later. Additionally Microsoft has increased the warranty to 3 year for all failures marked by 3 red lights (Red Ring of Death). This may help push Microsoft up in consumers mind as it pushes to appear as company people can trust in.
Lastly the Nintendo Wii still remains at $249.99. Not much has changed since my review in the Console Wars article except the extreme thirst for this non HD console. It is the fun factor of games such a Wii Sports (included with console) and the innovative motion sensing controller that has caused this console to sell extremely fast. But for other games the new controller can be frustrating. It remains to be seen what the future is for the innovative console. Don't expect a price drop anytime soon.
So the Console Wars are heating up! Which console is right for you? Why? Are the changes to the lineups, hardward, or price affecting your decision on which console to buy? Let us know!