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Opinion- Doug Thompson

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Guitar Hero III yields results

“Guitar Hero III” has come, giving joy to many while giving those of us who care about the console wars the best hard numbers yet.
Yes, sports fans, GH III is the first mega-hit to appear at the same time on all four major consoles  — the new generation machines from Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony, plus Sony’s venerable last-generation Playstation 2.
So direct, head-to-head comparisons of which platform gamers prefer can be made. The “Guitar Hero” comparison isn’t perfect, having been released only in the United States so far, but it’s as perfect as these things get.
And the clear winner is: Microsoft’s Xbox 360.
“Guitar Hero III” sold more than 1 million Xbox 360 copies in the United States by Nov. 10. (All figures are from vgchartz.com.)
This compares to about 370,000 for the Nintendo Wii version, the next most popular format of the game. That second-place finish is also marred by the fact that customers are complaining that the Wii version does not have true stereo sound. The same noise comes out of each speaker. That may not matter to many, but that’s not the kind of sound buyers were promised. The manufacturer is checking into it.
The Xbox 360’s success surprises me, but not as much as the figure for the Playstation 2.
The mighty Sony PS2, the most popular game console of all time, has fewer copies of GH III sold than the Wii. Not much less, but less.
There are almost 10 PS2s out there for every Wii.
This is staggering to me. As readers know, I was confident a few weeks ago that the old console still had plenty of life left.
As for the Playstation 3, well, it got lapped — several times. It hadn’t sold 150,000 units of GH III.
In another brutal disappointment for the expensive PS3, lackluster sales are coming from the critically praised latest edition of the extremely popular “Ratchet and Clank” franchise. One of the PS3’s few remaining exclusive titles, the would-be blockbuster sold an embarrassing 182,154 copies in three weeks.
This is after the New York Times got carried away and praised the game in a an enthusiastic — if overboard — article heralding “Ratchet and Clank” latest adventure as groundbreaking. It wasn’t a game review, but an analysis article, something rather rare.
Meanwhile, Sony’s chief executive has admitted that the home theater format war between the Blu-Ray disc and the HD-DVD is at a stalemate. This is a disaster for Sony. The whole rationale for the PS3’s design was to slip Sony Blu-Ray players into people’s homes disguised as game consoles. Things were looking great when the Blockbuster rental chain announced it would only offer Blu-Ray. Then, out of nowhere, one of the major Hollywood studios announced it was going exclusively to a HD-DVD format.
The only good news on the PS3 front was in Japan, where it finally outsold the Wii in weekly sales. The bad news is that this came shortly after the Xbox 360 outsold the PS3, after buyers obviously waited for the announced, cheaper version of the PS3 to come out and after practically every household in Japan already had a Wii.
Then Nintendo released “Super Mario Galaxy.” This Wii game is now — according to the Game Rankings website — the best-reviewed video game of all time.
The average score for this game was 97.9 out of a possible 100 as of Sunday night. Game Rankings take all reviews by major magazines and websites and averages them.
Let’s put that in perspective: The next-best game in history, according to Game Rankings, came out in 1998.
The console business is hit-driven. So let’s consider a few more facts from VG Chartz.
The Xbox 360 has had 27 games that have each sold 1 million or more, totaling sales of  48 million. The Wii has had 9 million-sellers with a total of 32 million, but one comes with every Wii sold and the second comes with some vital piece of accessory equipment. Throw those out and you only have 7 million-sellers with total sales of about 14 million.
And the mighty PS3, the most powerful console of them all?
Two, with a total of 3.5 million.

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