Industry analyst Michael Pachter has weighed in on the escalating war of words between Sony's Kaz Hirai and Microsoft's Aaron Greenberg, but he's not choosing a side: He says they're both right.
In the most recent exchange of rhetoric between the executives, Sony Computer Entertainment President Kaz Hirai said the Xbox 360 lacked "longevity" and that the PlayStation 3 would, over the course of its planned ten-year lifespan, outsell the Microsoft console. In response, Greenberg, the Xbox 360 director of product management, said Sony is "out of touch" and that even if it managed to double sales of the PS3 while Xbox 360 numbers remained flat, it would take until 2014 for them to catch up.
Now, like a patient suburban mom with two unruly boys, Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter has entered the fray, saying they're both right and that they should learn to play together more nicely before someone gets hurt. "Aaron Greenberg is right that Sony likely won't catch Microsoft in the U.S. until at least 2014," Pachter told GameDaily. "Kaz is right that Sony will likely catch Microsoft globally."
Breaking it down further, Pachter continued, "Sony likely has a four million unit lead in Japan, is behind by seven million in North America and is behind in Europe by two million. My guess is that Sony can sell 2 million PS3s per year more than Microsoft in Japan for the next several years, and can catch up in Europe in two or three years. So by the end of 2011, Sony should be even in Europe, ahead by 10 million units in Japan, and behind by a greater margin than 7 million in North America. If the Xbox 360 outsells the PS3 by 1 million units per year for 2009, 2010 and 2011, the two consoles will be in a dead heat by the end of 2011."
Pachter added that if Sony implements a price cut to the PlayStation 3 at some point during 2009, unit sales for the two consoles will very likely even out; in fact, he gave a "slight edge" to Sony in that case because of the presence of the Blu-ray player. If Microsoft responds with a price cut of its own, he added, it would likely maintain its current advantage "but may have difficulty selling one million more per year."
So everybody's right, apparently. Does this mean we've finally heard the end of it? I'm not holding my breath. And what about They-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named? Pachter touched on Nintendo as well, noting, "Funny that nobody is talking about catching the Wii..."