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Sony gloats about PS3, but trouble remains

A Sony "infographic" builds a case for why the PS3 is better than other game consoles and even nongaming set-top boxes. But is this just a reaction to trailing sales?

Sony's infographic showing why the PlayStation 3 reigns supreme, in its opinion.
Sony's infographic showing why the PlayStation 3 reigns supreme, in its opinion. Sony

Sony released an "infographic" today to try to convince consumers that the PlayStation 3 is better than other game consoles and set-top boxes. But is this a reaction to trailing sales?

The graphic displays the PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii, Xbox 360, Roku set-top box, Boxee Box, and Apple TV. To the right of the devices is a list of 14 features that includes "video games," "Blu-ray player," "3D," and "Internet browser." As a person hovers a mouse over the devices, the features of each device are highlighted. Or if a person chooses one certain feature, the products that support it are highlighted.

As one might expect, Sony's PlayStation 3 supports all 14 features in the list, while the rest of the devices lack at least a few. Sony's console handily beats Apple TV--and bests the Xbox 360 by a few features, most notably Blu-ray and free online multiplayer.

According to a Sony representative, the graphic is designed to "provide some clarity in a very confusing market on what's available on each 'box.'"

But there may be more behind the graphic than a desire on Sony's part to inform. Sony is facing stiff competition from a slew of devices that are gunning for the very same gamers and entertainment-seekers that Sony seeks.

The PlayStation 3 is having trouble keeping pace in the gaming market. In November, market researcher NPD reported that Sony took the third spot in console sales, trailing Microsoft's Xbox 360 and the Nintendo Wii.

Moreover, Sony's PlayStation Move controller, which allows people to manipulate on-screen action by holding the device and moving their arms, wrists, and hands is trailing Microsoft's own motion-gaming device, the Kinect.

The PlayStation 3 wins every time.
The PlayStation 3 wins every time. Sony

Microsoft reported that at November's end--just 25 days after the Kinect's release--it had sold 2.5 million units to consumers. Sony announced that by the end of November--over two months after the Move's launch--it shipped 4.1 million units to retailers, which Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter believes is an actual consumer sell-through of 2.5 million units. By year's end, Pachter said he believes Sony will sell a total of 3 million PlayStation Move units and Microsoft will sell 5 million Kinect units.

For its part, Nintendo announced earlier this year that it has sold more than 65 million Wii Remotes since the Wii's launch in 2006.

However, Sony is attempting to show with its graphic that the value of its console goes beyond gaming, which is likely why the company decided to include the Roku set-top box, Boxee Box, and Apple TV in the comparison. Based on its own evaluation, Sony believes it has a significant advantage over those devices, thanks to the PlayStation 3's ability to play video games, deliver Blu-ray playback, and still offer most of the features those devices boast.

Neither Nintendo nor Microsoft immediately responded to request for comment.