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Official South African Console Sales Figures

4 min read

GfK is one of the largest market research companies in the world and have been tracking the SA retail sales for quite some time now. They have kindly forwarded the following article to us which is purely related to the gaming consoles sales in South Africa.

From Roger Carbonell

image The market for consoles in South Africa continues to grow despite the adverse economic climate and the overall credit crunch since the new NCA in June last year. From the scope of product categories tracked by GfK almost all of them are either flat or negative. Gaming consoles remains deep on the positive side with a volume growth of +22% YTD (compared to the same timeframe last year) and +16% in value. The lower growth rate for the value development is due to the price erosion among consoles in particular the XBox360.

One has to take into account though that the PS3 was introduced in Mar07 and the Wii in Oct07, automatically these two platforms will have higher growth rates than the previously introduced Xbox360.

The total stock in the market is a tricky question; we estimate an install base for the Xbox360 of around 65.000 units since launch which makes it the leader among the next-gen consoles. The PS3 should have approximately 40.000 units installed and leads the market on the value side. The last entrant into the console market, the Wii, has had the fasted introduction of all the next-gen platforms reaching approximately 45.000 sold units since spring last year. This would position the market in units as:

Install base in units (next-gen only)
Xbox360 43%
Wii 30%
PS3 27%
Total 150.000 next-gen consoles

Taking into account the differing pricing strategies; then the value relevance changes significantly. In the YDT (Jan-May08) figures for 2008 the PS3 generated 40% of the value, followed by the Wii with 38% and the Xbox360 with 22%.

This analysis ignores the fact that the market also contains older platforms that continue to sell well and have the advantage of a tremendous install base. For example the PS2 has an estimated base of 750.000 active consoles and still generates right now 33% of new sales across all non-portable platforms plus it has an extremely strong position in the growing market of social games (Buzz!, Eyetoy, Singstar). Albeit this market is now also moving into the next-gen fold with Singstar for PS3, WiiFit, High School Musical and Guitar Hero.

Adding all the figures together means that the non-portable market in South Africa is 900.000 active consoles strong (8% household penetration total and 1,3 % for next-gen calculated on 11,4 million households). On top of that we have the portable units, a market that was created by the PSP, which is estimated at 120.000 active units of which the PSP has a share of 79% and the DS of 21%.

After 18 months of console introductions the market in 2008 has matured considerably. For example the share of bundled sales (consoles plus games) has grown to become the most significant part of the market, which in fact is a hidden price erosion benefiting the consumer by providing them with a working solution without the need of additional purchases. At the same time a more price aggressive stance from Microsoft has changed the sales in the last two months. Without undermining the successful introduction of the Wii, it is difficult to compare it to the other platforms because it mostly uses first party software. When comparing current multi-platform games then the competition is a lot tighter than the above figures seem to indicate:

Platforms Jan-May 2008
Army of Two: 57% PS3 & 43% Xbox360
Assassins Creed: 26% PS3, 27% Xbox360 & 47% PC
COD 4: 20% PS3, 26% Xbox360 & 54% PC
GTA 4: 55% PS3 & 45% Xbox360

This analysis is biased in favour of the PS3 because its main competitor has a higher number of titles available, of which some of them like Halo 3 are dedicated to the Xbox360 only. One has to assume that PS3 owners are more product starved than Xbox360 owners and will focus more intensively on each multiplatform title that becomes available. Nevertheless the competition between both systems is extremely close and fierce.

If taking the Nintendo history into account with its emphasis on first party software it remains to be seen if the Wii can break into the market of top promoted titles. Although upcoming games are announced to include the Wii as one of the platforms the Nintendo history is one. Regrettably on the other side this overview also signals the relegation of the PS2 as an ongoing system because most of the top titles don’t include it anymore. The last major release on the PS2 was NFS ProStreet late last year.

Best regards
GfK Marketing Services South Africa
Roger Carbonell

Last Updated: July 2, 2008


  1. RE: Gamer

    July 2, 2008 at 08:53

    Interesting article. Great to get some feedback on the local side at last.

    RE: Gamer’s last blog post..Kojima Jnr disappointed with Metal Gear Solid 4


  2. bokka1

    July 2, 2008 at 09:01

    What size install base will one need to get Live here in SA?


  3. kabraal

    July 2, 2008 at 09:05

    Looks like when a game has a PC version the PC version still sells very good


  4. Lupus

    July 2, 2008 at 09:37

    Well it’s normally because the PC version is R350 while the console is R550. Also the DS only has bad sales because of the brilliance that was Futuronics and now Core who still don’t seem to see the light.


  5. PillsburyDeeBoy

    July 2, 2008 at 09:42

    Awesome read. I think you had a major coup in sourcing this article and the hope is this will set a president where the manufacturers and distributors themselves will actively begin supporting South African sales date.

    I must admit, I am stunned that the PS2 has 700 000+ units in the South Africa market. I mean, just looking at the wealth disparity and the fact that you’re looking at households with what, an average of 3 people per home? So that means you’ve got, what, 15 million viable households of which less than 4-5million have the means of buying. These figures are all estimates on my part, but are conservative too. So, by this calculation, 1 in every 6-7 South African households who have the means to buy PS2s have bought PS2s. Unreal. Sony’s machine really is a juggernaut, which I believe will be very difficult to repeat in future for any console makers.


  6. Milesh Bhana ZA

    July 2, 2008 at 09:49

    150 000 next gen consoles is nothign to sneeze at either.

    What would be interesting to know is, how many house holds is that (due to the masively skewed income distrubution, lots of that includes 2 console owners)

    How many of that 150 000 have gone HD ?


  7. doobiwan

    July 2, 2008 at 10:24

    First off a huge THANK YOU!!! Lazygamer & Gfk for getting these numbers. I think it’s absolutely fantastic.

    Will this become a regular thing, like biannually or quarterly?

    doobiwan’s last blog post..The Games that made the consoles


  8. Vamp

    July 2, 2008 at 10:46

    Very good indeed. Good to see it’s not as “dead” as everyone
    thinks. (me being a pc gamer and all) πŸ˜›


  9. LazySAGamer

    July 2, 2008 at 10:51

    We are in discussions and obviously feedback (and hits) from the public is my only bargaining chip…


  10. Vamp

    July 2, 2008 at 10:52

    Somehow I don’t think a console owner would choose the Pc counterpart of a game above his console’s. No matter what the price difference. Especially if the Pc’s port has requirements like that of Assassin’s Creed for instance.
    I don’t own a console, so I can’t really say for sure, but
    I just can’t see that happening on a regular basis.
    Would be nice to see some more games’ figures.
    Personally, I’m just glad that it actually did that good with something πŸ˜‰


  11. Fox1

    July 2, 2008 at 11:03

    Already the PC is laughing at the consoles. For R5000 I’m sure you can get a console beating PC?


  12. RE: Gamer

    July 2, 2008 at 11:22

    PillsburyDeeBoy said:

    Awesome read. I think you had a major coup in sourcing this article and the hope is this will set a president….

    Lazygamer for President? Now that is a precedent I could get behind!

    RE: Gamer’s last blog post..Kojima Jnr disappointed with Metal Gear Solid 4


  13. Naudran

    July 2, 2008 at 11:28

    I disagree on this point. It all really matters what type of game we are talking about. I bought COD4 & Bioshock on the PC, purely because I enjoy using the mouse and keyboard in FPS.


  14. Fox1

    July 2, 2008 at 11:30

    The 360 still managed to do well considering the shortage of 360’s that we had a few months ago and the 360 is the only next-gen console to have games regularly retailing at R199. I guess it’s the affordability of games for the 360 and the good bundles that has helped it to do well.


  15. Naudran

    July 2, 2008 at 11:31

    Sweet… thanks Lazy. I’ve forwarded this article to people I know will be interested. Let’s get those hits up πŸ™‚


  16. scotty777

    July 2, 2008 at 11:33

    well… thats interesting, very. And it’s good to see that the south african public aren’t practicing pc game piracy, or to the extents that I would have expected… maybe there’s hope in pc gaming still


  17. Fox1

    July 2, 2008 at 11:45

  18. Vamp

    July 2, 2008 at 12:41

    That’s why I said that it’d be nice to see some more
    games’ figures πŸ˜‰


  19. Vamp

    July 2, 2008 at 12:45

    Where exactly was I “laughing at the consoles”?
    I was just chuffed at some tiny positive news for
    the Pc as we all know the state of affairs that Pc gaming
    is going through. Relax. It’s not Friday yet πŸ˜‰


  20. Fred

    July 2, 2008 at 16:46

    Nice to get the local picture. Tx.


  21. evilredzombie

    July 2, 2008 at 17:56

    problems with sa gaming
    Wii way overpriced 3300 – 3800
    Playstation overpriced 4800-6000
    Xbox 360 shops stil selling the old chipset with prod ( core etc)
    Shops sale people aredumb@sses

    We need more local gaming events.. thanks to NAG, Play the zone, take 2 ( forums) and Lazy

    There is a small well know gaming comunity that seesms active.. talking Fox, lazy, coldcat scotty, Marioana,koldfusion not gona mention all.. … u know all the usual suspects.. we need more! these are all people that seem to promote local gaming

    evilredzombie’s last blog post..Play the double agent


  22. ewie

    July 2, 2008 at 19:57

    So be active – go digg the story on digg, and get more hits
    to lazy.


    only way is to let the world know what is happening here.


  23. evilredzombie

    July 3, 2008 at 07:03

    why yes i am active…as most will tell you.
    We need more, I have sent a letter to play teh zone, asking about Fox1’s question regarding the cover disk once multi platform…iv also asked they become more involved with the local communities and sites…once reply is received will post on my site and send to lazy

    evilredzombie’s last blog post..Play the double agent


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