Earlier this month Sony Computer Entertainment Europe chief David Reeves happily announced that over five million units of PS3 hardware have been sold across Europe, allowing the console to surge past Microsoft's Xbox 360 despite the 360's 16-month head start in the region. In an interview with Wired, however, Microsoft Game Studios' Shane Kim seemed to dispute those numbers.
Moreover, when GameDaily BIZ contacted Microsoft, a spokesperson told us that Xbox 360, not PS3, is in the lead: "In Europe, our hardware sales have doubled in the wake of GTA IV, and we remain the number one next-generation console in Europe. We do not disclose our internal sales data, but our figures show we enjoy a comfortable lead against PlayStation 3 in the region. We lead not only in console sales but also in software sales: overall European performance is excellent with a 7.0 game attach rate that beats the competition (3.8 PS3, 3.5 Wii), and we enjoy 39% of the market in terms of life-to-date revenue. Gamers prefer games on Xbox 360 – just look at GTA IV, where the Xbox 360 version outsold the PS3 version by 20%."
So Microsoft continues to claim a "comfortable lead" and yet when we reached out to Sony, the company maintained that the PS3 was winning. Perhaps what it really comes down to is the definition of Europe?
Here's what a Sony rep told us, "The statement was based on the fact that $#@!ulative sales of PS3 in Europe since its launch now exceed the $#@!ulative sales of Xbox 360 in Europe since their launch, despite Xbox 360 having had a 16 month lead on PS3. Europe means the whole of Western Europe, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Russia. SCEE sources its market data from official sources such as ChartTrack and Gfk, from their retailers and from a variety of additional sources. SCEE has been using the same methodology for the last 10 years or so."
We continue to press both companies and we'll let you know if we ever get a real answer that straightens this mess out.