Sony is claiming victory in the motion gaming sales war, but has it really won?
Sony has countered a recent press release of Microsoft's that proclaimed Kinect had sold 2.5 million units in 25 days. Just one day later, Sony put out their own that says PlayStation Move has sold 4.1 million units worldwide, but is it being honest?
Sony says: "The sales of PlayStation Move motion controller for the PlayStation 3 computer entertainment system have reached over 4.1 million units worldwide." It also notes that this number does not include sales of the PlayStation Eye, required to use Move, or the PlayStation Move Navigation controller, a non-required accessory. According to Sony, those 4.1 million units are purely Move controller sales.
The biggest question is whether 4.1 million refers to units sold, or units shipped. Something that is "sold" means a customer owns it. Something that is "shipped" means a store has ordered it and it's still on the shelves. Sony clearly says "sold" here, but 4.1 million Move controllers having been sold seems to be in direct contrast to Sony's claims that just one month ago 2.5 million units had been "shipped."
With 41.6 million PlayStation 3 systems sold worldwide, the current number of Move sales would mean that around 5-10% of the system's install base already owns the motion controller. If this was true, why hasn't Sony been trumpeting its success with sales numbers rather than "shipped" numbers until the day after Microsoft's big news about Kinect?
Microsoft's 2.5 million number on Kinect sales apparently refers to the units actually sold at retail, but Sony must have had a really great month and Black Friday to reach its current claim, which is certainly a possibility. However, according to an Engadget translation of what is evidently Sony's Japanese press release, the number of 4.1 million refers to units shipped. It appears that Sony wanted to cut down Microsoft's exemplary sales numbers on Kinect here, and may not have actually sold that many PlayStation Move units. With the current information available, the situation is still blurry, but perhaps Sony will provide an official clarification.
Update: Sony has clarified that the number refers to units shipped to retailers, and not actual units sold.