With constant format war waging between Microsoft and Sony for console market supremacy, “Who is winning?” always crops up as a topical question which sometimes opens up into a fantastic debate, with intriguing and interesting trains of thought…Either that or it turns into a fanboy-war, with the outcome determined by the console spread of the present population.
With statistics and figures concerning the sales of PlayStation 3s and Xbox 360s flooding the internet, it is difficult to ascertain which are reliable and which should be confined to the deepest pages of the yellow press. To find a true example of console spread within a British community, I pondered the possible research I could perform. Then I had an epiphany. I would go undercover…into my school.
After being hit hard by the failure of HD-DVD, in the eyes of many of my peers, the PlayStation 3 has much more going for it, with a relatively future-proofed Blu-Ray player for what is, when considered as a whole package, a very reasonable price. With the Xbox 360 currently having no further answer to Blu-Ray, the PlayStation 3 appears to offer much more. When the survey was carried out, however, the spread showed no clear split between the two, so the Xbox 360 must have something going in its favour.
PS3’s Blu-Ray crushed the Xbox 360-backed HD-DVD, ending the format war for the next movie media.
Speaking to the Xbox 360-owning side about why they purchased/would purchase an Xbox over a PlayStation 3, one respondent cited reasons such as wanting to “gain a head start in the next-gen race”, continuing with an anecdote about how he had his Father wait outside a shop on release day to get him one. Another stated that he “know[s] more people that play Xbox 360 and the exclusive games interest me more than the PlayStation 3’s” adding that he had “heard good things about the online community”.
Changing teams and chatting to the PlayStation 3 owners, I heard very similar stories concerning the influence of friends on the ultimate decision. One such person told me that he had bought his PS3 because “all of [his] mates had one”. Other reasons given revealed that many had been ready to purchase an Xbox 360, but were just waiting on funds until the PlayStation 3 was released and all their friends bought those instead. Fickle perhaps, but these attitudes are the attitudes that represent a whopping 35% of all game-players, a huge bite of money pie for the two giants vying for victory.
Chart to show percentage of households that own an Xbox 360, PS3 or neither.
Asking 180 students from a single year group which console they had in their home, if any, the data gathered was as shown in the graph (above), putting the Xbox 360 ahead in terms of installations. When finding reasoning for this, the truth could lie in the fact that the Xbox 360 has, of late, been targeting a more family-orientated market, trying to tap into a demographic currently dominated by the Nintendo Wii, the console which neither of the Big Two seem to treat as a competitor. Further possible causes for the greater deployment rate of the 360 include its reach into the film market, selling its console as a hub on which to download movie rentals. All of these features seem to have placed Xbox 360s into a greater number of homes than PlayStation 3s.
When the same cross section of the gaming community was asked which console they have/ would choose to purchase, when the only two options available were the Xbox 360 and PS3, the survey resulted in the following data:
Chart to show percentage of respondents who have/would buy an Xbox 360 and those who have/would buy a PS3.
While this shows that if every respondent acquired a console, there would be a greater number of PS3s in homes, the Xbox 360 still comes out on top.
With friends, the way games were meant to be played.
After reviewing all the collected responses, the majority consensus is that the most common reason for choosing one console over the other is related to what console your friends have. While this may seem a poor way of choosing a console, disregarding hardware specifications and games available for that console, it is actually a very sensible method. Gaming is a social activity, and is most enjoyed when played amongst friends. Be it battling in teams on Call of Duty 4 over Xbox LIVE, or sharing levels over the PlayStation Network in LittleBigPlanet, friends are the key to the appreciation of many games and the more people who choose consoles based on friendship groups, the more happy gamers there will be.