Sales of Sony's Move and Microsoft's Kinect were today described as neck and neck as it emerged that Sony's official 4.1 million global sales figure for the Move actually relates to shipping – not sales to gamers.
Yesterday Sony directly countered Microsoft's 2.5 million global Kinect sales announcement with an announcement of its own: it's sold a whopping 4.1 million sales of the Move controller across the globe since its September launch.
However, while Sony's announcement used the word "sales" in relation to the impressive number, it actually meant "shipped". Shipped relates to sales to shops, whereas sales relates to sales through to gamers.
Still, according to analysts Eurogamer spoke to last night, Sony has cause for celebration as the motion sensing battle heats up this Christmas.
"With all that said, the number is still impressive," Wedbush Securities Michael Pachter said.
"I understand that they sold through around one million through the end of October (tracking NPD results and extrapolating for Europe), and it's reasonable that with the Japanese launch they have sold through another 1.5 million in November, but I'd peg the sell through number at closer to 2.5 million, or exactly on par with Kinect, albeit over a longer time frame."
Kinect launched in November – nearly two months after Move. Microsoft has said it expects actual sales of five million before the end of the year.
Pachter added: "If sell-through is the 2.5 million that I estimate, it's logical that shipments would be 4.1 million cumulatively, as demand in December is likely to be higher than the 1.5 million I assumed were sold in November. Yes, impressive, yet likely below the reported figure."
M2 Research senior analyst Billy Pidgeon agreed that the Move sales into retail are "impressive", but insisted comparisons with Kinect are better left until after the dust settles on 2010.
"It will be interesting to examine and compare sell through numbers for Move, Kinect and Wii in conjunction with console sales and relative software through CY 2010," he said.
"Then we will have the data to make a competitive assessment of the three vendors' motion tracking implementations and the effect on software and market share. For instance, will motion control increase console penetration or will most sell into the base? Will Wii sales rise as well due to a stronger focus on motion control?"
For Pachter, though, the numbers are clear: Kinect is in the driving seat in the race for motion control supremacy.
"I think that Microsoft still has an advantage at holiday, with a larger installed base of consoles, more momentum, and a slightly more unique experience," he said, "so I would expect Kinect to outsell Move in December."
Looking to the future, analysts are cautiously optimistic about motion control's success.
"I am not surprised that uptake for motion tracking has been strong overall," Pidgeon said.
"Nintendo's strategy to fully embrace motion control with the Wii (in addition to value pricing enabled by playing against the prevailing tech leader console design) was effective and disruptive.
"Both Sony and Microsoft were initially dismissive of motion control and Wii but are now big believers. Many observers were also dismissive of Wii and remain sceptical about Move and Kinect. They are wrong.
"I believe both will do well and that motion control and other interfaces using intuitive control (gesture, touch, voice) will continue to manifest strong traction into the next generation of consoles as well as in convergent devices such as smart phones, tablets and PC."
Colin Sebastian of Lazard Capital Markets was more cautious, however. "It's [Sony's 4.1 million Move sales] a good number, and the healthy sales of motion controllers are signs of life for the industry, although we're not quite out of the woods yet."
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