Let the shot-taking commence: Microsoft Xbox 360 director of product management Aaron Greenberg comes out punching (well, movie-style pulled punches, anyway) in an interview with Game Informer, calling Sony's anticipated leading September PS3 sales "a short term bump."
"It is not a real concern to us," said Greenberg, acknowledging the likelihood of Sony's top slot sales numbers and adding "This is frankly not a real surprise to us or the analysts that follow this industry."
"What I can tell you is we remain confident that Xbox 360 will not only outsell PS3 for the full calendar year, but for this entire generation. It is similar to a game of baseball, it is not about just winning one inning, but instead being able to win the game by consistently delivering across all nine innings."
Given Microsoft's strong performance the past three quarters -- it's the only console with year-over-year unit increases through the recent half-year downturn -- it would indeed take a sales miracle for Sony to pull ahead in annual sales by the year's close. But as Greenberg says, it's the big picture that matters, and for the moment, Microsoft owns US sales by a unit ratio of roughly 2 to 1.
Greenberg adds that success comes down to "much more than just hardware sales... it's about the entire ecosystem and investing in the future."
And then he puts his hooks into Sony's business strategy, questioning the company's loss-leader strategy (selling the PS3 at a likely substantial loss for US$300 -- Business Week pegged Sony's costs at $448.73 per system as recently as December 2008) and claiming Microsoft's model is "diversified" enough to "provide not only economies of scale for us and our partners, but award us the benefit of having a profitable business." In turn, says Greenberg, this allows Microsoft "to continually invest in the future and remain focused on delivering new experiences and expanding our audience."
NPD Group's September retail sales data was due Thursday evening after market close, but delayed until Monday for unspecified reasons. Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter last week projected Sony's September sales at around 410,000 units (a 76% improvement year-over-year) compared with 390,000 Wii units (down 45% from last year) and 350,000 Xbox 360 units (up 1 per cent year-over-year).