Why console sales numbers matter

NPDThe blokes at GamePro interviewed the NPD Groups’ David Riley to see why all those console sales numbers that get bandied about on Digg.com and other knee-jerk reaction sites really are important (hint: it’s not because without them, NPD wouldn’t get free press every month — strange, I know!).

A sample:

Given prior generation sales data, what predictions can be made about current generation hardware, if any?

Again, there’s not a definitive answer to this question. We’re looking at a new era of gaming. Whether you’re talking about the Wii with its innovative design and controller, or the 360 and PS3, with graphics and game play that are nothing short of awe-inspiring, the industry is in a position to attract a whole new consumer.

I am concerned that there aren’t a lot of titles on the market that have mass appeal, but this is typical during the first year of a platform’s lifecycle, so I’m optimistic that the holiday season and early 2008 will begin delivering what we all want – plenty to choose from.

That first paragraph in the response is telling. On one hand, you have the Wii, and on the other you have both the Xbox 360 and the PS3. The “other” hand must be pretty big, because both of those consoles are partially responsible for the earth’s tides. More seriously, that’s how the “battle” will shape up over the next few years: two consoles on one hand battling out for a niche market share, and then Nintendo’s system battling for the rest (if it lasts, right naysayers?).

Regardless, it’s going to be a fun fall and winter for gamers.

[Thanks, John]