The busiest week in retail has come and gone, and now that the sales are over and the crowds have dispersed, the big 3 console manufacturers have already started their yearly pissing contest to see who “won” Black Friday.
Microsoft sold the most single consoles, having moved over 750,000 new 360’s during the week of Black Friday. Some analysts questioned whether the aging 360 hardware could still attract a new audience without a permanent price-cut this holiday season, but it seems like big blockbusters like Halo 4 were enough to entice new customers into adopting Microsoft’s nearly 7 year old console. The 360 has been the hardware sales leader for most of 2012, and it looks like it’ll continue that streak into the next year. While 360 sales remain strong, it’s worth noting that the amount of 360’s sold this year is actually a decline over the amount Microsoft sold last holiday season, but considering this generation is pretty much at it’s end, most analysts predicted that sales would taper off like this eventually.
While Microsoft sold the most of a single system, Nintendo takes the crown for the most total hardware sold, due to the variety of systems they have on the market at the moment: Nintendo sold an impressive 1.2 million new systems during the week of Black Friday. Breaking down that number by console, it appears that all of Nintendo’s platforms (even the out dated models that aren’t seeing much in the way of new releases,) sold equally well: Nintendo sold 275,000 DS and DSi’s, 250,000 3DS and 3DS XL’s, and 300,000 units of the original Wii. The brand new Wii U apparently sold out during it’s first week on store shelves, and Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime says the Wii U sold out of it’s entire launch shipment of 400,000 units.
Sony has a lot to be happy about as well: the Playstation 3 sold half a million units during the same period, while the struggling Vita managed a respectable 160,000 units sold. Sony says most of the Vitas sold during the week were specially priced bundles ($199, $50 less than the usual stand-alone price of the system,) that packaged the handheld with either a copy of Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed Liberation or Activision’s Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified. While Sony’s total sales weren’t as big as Microsoft or Nintendo’s, Sony was the only one out of the three to see a sales increase compared to last year: Sony says that the PS3 sold fifteen percent better this Black Friday than it did in 2011.
So it’s basically the same story as every year: depending on who you ask and whose PR spin you believe, all 3 of the major console manufacturers “won” this year’s Black Friday. Personal anecdote: I didn’t buy any new hardware this year — I’m waiting on another 3DS sale and I won’t buy a Wii U until it gets more games — but I did buy a lot of really cheap, really good games for all my current systems, so personally, I think the winner of this Black Friday was me. As for the loser? Well, that’d have to be my checking account, which due to all my impulse buys over the course of the Thanksgiving weekend, now has a total of 47 cents left in it. (I regret nothing.)