Sony's Own Awards Show Highlights Their Struggles in the Marketplace

When you use an RSS reader to keep track of updates on several blogs, you tend to see the same news story posted multiple times. Most recently, I was mildly interested to see all the major gaming sites post about Sony's 2008 PlayStation Awards. Each year in Japan, Sony hands out awards to developers based on how many copies of their game shipped. They generally range from Gold (500,000 to 1 million) to Double Platinum (2 to 3 million).

However, after a little googling for the results of previous years, I found that the number of winners and the platforms they're released on really pinpoint Sony's current place in the market. My full report is over at The Game Reviews. What I found was that over the last four years, the total number of winners has been cut in half, from 12 or 13 to 6. Furthermore, there are much fewer winners of a Platinum award or higher in the last two years. Most of the current winners only receive a Gold award, having shipped less than a million copies.

What this really underscores is how much of a success the PS2 was for Sony, and how difficult they're finding it to replicate that success with the PS3 and/or PSP. As we all know, the PS2 was a huge hit, and still sells thousands of consoles a month to this day. However, Sony's smaller number of awards show that the PS3 and PSP, as we already know, just don't have the install base of the PS2. While there are still a couple of PS2 games in the 2008 awards, there was only a single PS3 game.

I'll be interested to see next year's results. There should be an even smaller number of PS2 titles to be eligible for an award. How many PS3 and PSP titles will ship over half a million copies. I certainly can't imagine it being too much more than this year. I would love to see Sony's PS3 install base grow and expand. And a larger number of well-produced games that deserve our purchase can only be a good thing for the industry. Personally, an award won't really affect my decision on whether to purchase a game. But this multi-year glimpse into Sony sales numbers doesn't exactly paint a flattering picture for this generation.

What do you think? Are these awards significant? They are Japan-only, after all.


Daniel Primed said...

I'm personally not too sure what to make of this and the PS3's current status.

For one, I think that the data makes a lot of sense, considering that Sony have just come down from the most successful games console in history. The dip therefore is a given.

Otherwise, Sony are losing/got catching up on ground. It's hard to say since the market has changed so much since the last generation, none of which is purely advantageous to Sony.

Korey said...

I agree. I don't think these awards so much represent data about Sony's place in the market, but more serve as useful imagery for the hole Sony's dug itself since the PS3's launch. They've gotten much better at both the services they offer, and the image they show to consumers. But they've got a long road ahead of them.