sheep_followingThere seems to be a common thread in the PR stories spun recently by the tech industry big boys. Microsoft, Nintendo, Apple and virtually all manufacturers of 3D TVs have all come out saying how well their products are selling. It’s strange considering the world economy is only just recovering (slowly) from the crisis we have been experiencing. Consumers still don’t have that disposable income they once did, yet the stories on the wire from the brands behind the latest innovations tell a different story – their products are selling… big time.

The theory here is that of the sheep. People follow. If you tell people everyone is buying something – no one wants to get left behind so they go out an purchase.

Like this blog post! The title suggests this is the most viewed blog post in the world, or at least it will point you to it. That’s probably the reason your reading this now. If it’s good enough for everyone else to read, it’s good enough for you as well.

Let’s have a look at a couple of these stories,

Microsoft has apparently sold more than 10 million Kinect systems for the Xbox 360 to retailers. This was announced by Microsoft on Wednesday and with many of the Kinect units being sold in the first three months of it’s launch it has become the fastest selling consumer device ever. Pretty impressive.

If we disect this story however, we can see this is the number of units sold to retailers not customers. So while the title fastest selling consumer device is true – it’s a tad misleading as in many cases it’s not in consumers hands.kinect
Many people would say that they will be otherwise the retailers wouldn’t have stocked them? But wouldn’t they? Considering how it’s virtually common practice now-days for supply of devices such as the Kinect to be intentionally limited so consumers get the impression of a sought-after-hard-to-get device, making the “want” factor outweigh the “need”.
It appears Microsoft’s approach in this case has been different. They have allowed retailers access to the units, which they have obviously taken up and therefore been able to spin the story of the fastest selling consumer device in history. The result – consumers saying “blimey this Kinect thing must be good… better get one!”.

The next story to hit the press with massive sales figures was from the the closest competitor to Kinect – the Wii.
Nintendo this time – who were masters of limiting supply when they launched the Wii – came out with their PR wizardry stating sales of the Wii have passed 50 million. This makes the Wii the fastest selling games console in history by beating the PS2.
wiiThe fact that the Wii has now been around for almost 5 years for it to reach this figure is obviously not mentioned. Neither is the fact that it took the Nintendo Wii about two years to pass the 10 million sales mark recently touted by the Kinect. But it’s interesting how Nintendo are coming out with this story at the same time as Microsoft’s Kinect release. Although I would say, Microsoft owe a lot to the fact Nintendo opened up the console market to such a wider demographic. This is the real reason so many of these devices are being sold. Ask a serious gamer and they wouldn’t touch the Wii. Although many people would think it immerses the gamer more through the fact they control the game-play through movement, in reality there’s only a couple of good games that really achieve this, one being wii sports which was released with the console.

While you cannot take away the success of the Wii and Kinect, you have to wonder if they really are the “game changers” people are making them out to be.  Or are we being spoon fed a very clever dose of Marketing.

The two inventions have certainly opened up the console market to a new demographic and I think that should be noted as the no.1 achievement of these inventions – not the fact they are selling so many million and this is the reason why they must be good!

Oh, and incase you landed on here thinking this was the most viewed blog post in the world – or it was going to point you to it, then I’m sorry.

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