Sony Plays Percentage Game While Claiming Attach Rate Supremacy


Posted April 15, 2009 - By bleahy

Sony PlayStation 3 ps3It's well known that the Xbox 360 has the highest attach rate (average number of games owned by a console owner) of any console ever. Sony's new talking points seem to surround percentages and pointing at that, even though the PS3 has less units in the wild and sells less games, a higher percentage of PS3 owners are purchasing cross-platform games on the PS3.

On the one hand, yes, this is a valid argument. Take Street Fighter IV as an example: the Xbox 360 version had only moved 44,000 more copies than the PS3 SKU by the end of February. Even though it sold more on Microsoft's console, Sony notes that 5.5% of PS3 owners purchased the game, while only 3.1% of Xbox 360 owners purchased the game. This argument is worthwhile if Sony continues to grow the PS3 installed base and software sales begin to pick-up.

On the other hand, this just calls attention to fact that there are less PS3's out there. Conspicuously absent from Sony's point is any data on PS3 exclusive games. Microsoft enjoys healthy attach rates for their exclusives and I'd like to see some data on the attach rates of games like Killzone 2, LittleBigPlanet, and Resistance 2.

A good example of this is Grand Theft Auto IV, which has sold an estimated 3,362,196 copies on the Xbox 360 compared to 1,959,798 copies on the PS3. Obviously, you'd want to be in Microsoft's shoes here, with a lead of over one million copies, but Sony's game-specific attach rate for this title is actually higher because less people own a PS3. It's a difference of 3.9 percent, but translates into a lot less copies moved for Sony. Would you rather have more of your console owners purchasing specific games like Sony has? Or would you rather be selling more games overall?

It's a tricky sell for Sony. Logically, if there were as many PS3s as Xbox 360s in homes, the PS3 would have higher numbers for certain games. That's all well and good until you realize that the barrier to that is selling as many PS3s as Xbox 360s, especially with the price difference.

Unfortunately, it's time to turn to Metacritic... Sony also points out that "one out of every three PS3 games have an 80+ score [on Metacritic], while Xbox 360 has one out of five titles that have garnered 80 + scores." Again, this is just a game of percentages. The Xbox 360 had a nice head start on the PS3 and has a lot more software available. I'm guessing that when the PS3 hits the same amount of released software, their percentage of 80+ scores will be around the same thing.

Sony also points out that, "The average age of PS3’s top 10 games on Metacritic is 9.3 months. Compare that with the average age of Xbox 360’s top ten, which averages around 15.7 months." What they are trying to say is that the best Xbox 360 games may already be behind us. Again, we must take into account the headstart that the Xbox 360 had and exclusive releases like Halo 3 and Gears of War. Additionally, I would argue that the PS3 only recently began getting titles (especially exclusives) that were at the same or greater level of quality when compared to Xbox 360 games. It did take companies a while to figure out the hardware, after all.

What do you think? Should Sony brag about attach rates for specific games, while ignoring the overall attach rate for the console itself?


Sony Plays Percentage Game While Claiming Attach Rate Supremacy


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