The bickering on these forums often goes in infinite loops.
"POTC sold more units than the Matrix. But in terms of income generated, The Matrix almost sold as well as POTC. Okay, but in terms of income BD standalones are selling almost as well as HD DVD standalones. Okay, but HD DVD standalones have sold way more units than BD standalones. Okay, but in terms of units, POTC outsold The Matrix...."
And so on, for eternity.
One of the most glaring and long running examples of this problem has been BD player sales vs. software sales. Depending on who you ask, BD software sales look great (units sold) or look terrible (attach rate). The problem is, both estimates are flat-out wrong. Why? Because it's difficult to answer a very simple question:
Is the PS3 a Blu-ray player or not?
In terms of specs and features: yes, of course. It's one of the best, actually. But in terms of calculating total player sales and attach rate, things get complicated fast.
If you count all PS3s sold as Blu-ray players you can say that there are millions of Blu-ray players out there. Much more players than HD DVD players. This looks good on paper. The BD marketing guys were happy to say this. Of course, it's their jobs to spin things to look good, so let's be a bit more intelligent and realize that things arent' that simple: All PS3s are *potential* Blu-ray players, but all PS3s are NOT "active" Blu-ray players.
Since PS3 owners in general don't actual buy BRs in significant numbers (yet), what happens is that BR software sales end up looking quite low compared to the number of BD players out there (PS3 included). This is because, unlike all other High-Def players, the PS3 is the only one with a primary function that is NOT playing HD movies (insert PS3 games joke here). This means the BD attach rate looks really small because you have a large number of people who for all intents and purposes are NOT puchasing a BD player: they are purchasing a game player. We are counting video game players as BD players based on capability, but not intent. This is dumb. This makes the player sales number wrong, so the attach rate is also wrong.
How Do We Fix This?
Obviously, only a certain percentage of PS3 owners purchase BD. This number is the key to having accurate sales figures and attach rate numbers.
On average, how many BD discs have BD standalone owners purchased? On average, how many BD discs have PS3 owners purchased? From there, you can figure out how many PS3s are required to sell as many discs as 1 BD standalone. This gives you the magic number: the percentage of a standalone BD player by which the PS3 should be counted.
I don't have the numbers to calculate this exactly, but my rough estimate is that you need to sell 5 PS3s to sell as many discs as one standalone player. That's 20%. The PS3 counts as 20% of a standalone. So Blu-ray does not have over 1.5+ million active BD players because of the PS3, it has 300,000 active players and 1.2 million "potential players". This makes BD attach rate jump up significantly, but to what I don't know (where are all the player sales numbers and attach rate figures coming from, anyway?).
The summary:
- No matter what marketing people say, counting the PS3 as a full standalone for statistical purposes is just dumb.
- The PS3 counts as 20% of a BD standalone player until proven otherwise.
- The number of active BD players is far less than 1.5 million.
- The number of potential BD players is 1.5 million+
- The BD attach rate is far higher than .33 or whatever people are saying.
As a final complicating note, please remember that this only holds true for sales that have already occurred AKA "active" players. The PS3 is still a "potential" player. Having PS3s in homes also creates an increased potential for BD sales for those who have yet to jump aboard the HD Optical train. This is another matter entirely, but the main point is that the PS3 attach rate may grow with time (as people increasingly buy HDTVs for example), so projecting it statically into the future is fairly silly. Attach rate itself is a fairly silly and misunderstood statistic, but that's another post.
This post was just logic, so I'm hoping it can be agreed or disagreed with on that basis and NOT fanboy biases. I just want a world where a semi-intelligent debate can actually happen rather than people pulling out whatever statistic makes them look good. If we can agree on this PS3 thing, there's no need for the endless "look at how many more players we sold/look at the low attach rate/yeah but it's the PS3" cycles: The player sales and attach rates will be very clear and we can all bicker in a semi-pointless fashion rather than a completely pointless fashion (at least on this issue).
Thanks.