The Xbox 360 has been rolling as of late, posting six consecutive ‘wins’ in NPD’s monthly reports, and the Kinect seems to be easily outselling PlayStation Move. That said, over the last few years, PS3 has made great strides in closing the gap with Xbox 360 in global installed base, and a number of analysts believe PS3 will soon overtake Xbox 360 in the console wars for good.
In our recent interview with EA boss John Riccitiello, we asked the executive what he thought this meant with regards to Sony and Microsoft. Did Microsoft blow its lead, or has Sony just been coming on too strong? It’s not really either of those, says Riccitiello.
“I don’t think it’s either of those things. Honestly, I think that Microsoft has done great work the last couple of years, and they’ve made a lot of smart moves: hitting pricing when they needed to, the right combination of hitting price points and disk drive sizes that allow them to hit price points that matter, and they’ve done a great job with Xbox Live. At the same time, the Xbox brand, the Microsoft brand, doesn’t carry anywhere near as much sway as the Sony and PlayStation brand do outside the United States, and so I think the reality is the international marketplace is just so important and it’s a natural advantage that no matter how good Microsoft is at growing their business, Sony has an almost-impossible-to-supersede head start,” he told us.
Riccitiello continued, “In the last couple of years, Sony’s sharpened their marketing message, you know, ‘the platform with everything.’ They’ve actually gotten past simply Home as an online connected system for them. While I’m not sure that one would compare them in depth and breadth and features and support to what you have at Xbox Live, it’s good now.”
Ultimately, EA has been happy with the performance of both platforms, and of course as a third-party publisher, the company wants all the platforms to succeed to give them a larger base to sell games to.
“We have a similar share on both platforms. It’s not that I wouldn’t want to criticize one of the other; I’m not shy. I just think they’ve actually both done a pretty good job,” Riccitiello added. “The big disadvantage Sony carries is they have an expensive platform because of Blu-ray, so they have a harder time hitting price points. Microsoft has taken advantage of that and their online service, which really is the gold standard. Sony has [leveraged] their limited amount of unique content really well. They’ve done a nice job promoting the Blu-ray, their advertising and marketing campaigns have been stronger, and they’ve done a nice job of supporting some EA content to their own advantage. I don’t know that you’d point to either of them and say they can’t shoot straight or that they’ve given it up.”