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October 11, 2006

Xbox, PS3, Wii: reading the tea leaves

Posted by David Hunter at 10:07 PM ET.

With Microsoft sitting on its one year Xbox 360 lead as the November launches of the Sony PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii rapidly approach, the speculation is mounting on how the battle of the game console titans will turn out. Yes, GameStop sold out its pre-order quota of PS3s in one day, but that’s only to be expected and purely anecdotal.

To bring a little science to the question, a consumer research firm has been surveying US consumers on the desirability of consoles from the competing players and the results put the PS3 way ahead as John Gudiosi reports at Next Generation:

According to the study by Los Angeles based Interpret, 8.9 million U.S consumers ‘are prepared’ to pay full price ($500 or $600) for the PlayStation 3 this fall, compared to 5.7 million consumers who are willing to buy Wii at $250 and just 800,000 people who are willing to pay full price for Xbox 360 ($300 to $400).

This research, released first to Next Generation, was derived from a sample of 2,000 interviews Interpret conducted online, weighted to 2004 Census data of 13 to 54 year-olds in the U.S. Researchers ran a parallel random digit dial telephone study as a back-up to weigh the data to what the US population looks like to ensure that the online data was not over-representing females, which often occurs with online surveys.

The numbers skew high in general (it will be 2008 before PS3 has an installed base of over 12 million in the US) but what’s interesting is the ratios, and the clear brand presence owned by Sony. Xbox 360 has enjoyed tremendous success in the past year, unopposed by competitors, but the real test will come when it is up against PS3, and is attempting to break into mainstream demographics. If these numbers are true, it has a tough time ahead.

There’s more by following the link including the role of the low priced Wii as a spoiler, but based on this kind of consumer brand perception it looks like the high end game console battle is Sony’s to lose.

Filed under Coopetition, Microsoft, Nintendo, Sony, Xbox

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