Yesterday's release of April sales figures for US retailers contained a contradiction of sorts that raised a number of eyebrows. Despite the massive launch success of Grand Theft Auto IV, the Rockstar game didn't appear to be a "system seller," as Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 hardware sales were actually down significantly from the previous month.
In a brief on the NPD figures today, Entertainment Design and Research analyst Jesse Divnich said the results strengthened an assessment he made last month that Sony and Microsoft's latest consoles have saturated the possible market at their current price points. At the time, Divnich pointed to stagnant hardware sales of the two systems despite banner debuts for Army of Two and Rainbow Six: Vegas 2 as evidence that prices would need to come down on the systems.
Divnich pointed out that April was the first time Xbox 360 sales dipped below an average of 50,000 a week since last July, and that dip was followed the very next month by a price cut for the hardware.
"Of course, it might be a little too soon to speculate that we can expect a price drop in the coming weeks or additional hardware SKUs (an Xbox 360 with Blu-Ray capability) in the coming month," Divnich said, "but if May's hardware sales drop below the 50,000 units sold a week threshold, we can definitely expect something in terms of a change in strategy from both Microsoft and Sony."