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Estimated attach rate

The software tie ratio tells us how many games were sold for every console purchased. Put another way, the hardware to software tie ratio shows how many games a system owner buys on average. A system's tie ratio is Total Software Unit Sales divided by Total Console Unit Sales. Often a system's tie ratio goes up over time, though not linearly. The rate is used especially early on during the adoption period of any product and it gives a primitive analysis of software success on the platform. One way of using tie ratios is to compare the figures for two different systems with the same install based.

History shows having a high tie ratio and therefore high software sales are absolutely crucial in order for a console to be successful. Not only does software generate a large amount of revenue, high software sales encourages publishers and developers to release games for your console.

Given hardware sales and tie ratio, absolute software sales can be calculated easily by the following equation: Software units = tie ratio * hardware units. Take the hardware sales for a given period (say 400,000 PS3s a month) and multiply by the hardware to software tie ratio (say, 4.1). The result is 400,000 * 4.1 = 1.64 million software sales in a month. This same method can be used to calculate total software sales for a system using its LTD sales and tie ratio.

Its possible to have a lower tie ratio and move more software units. The Wii pushed a lot of software within its first 14 months on the market (more than 360's first 14 months), but because the Wii sold extremely well, it effectively brought its tie ratio down (ratio = software/hardware) (lower than 360's first 14 months).[1] Sometimes, what looks bad for software is probably actually a side effect of good news for hardware.

Using tie ratios, we could estimate how much revenue each system is generating from software, using approximate average software prices. However, tie ratios are not published every month and are only revealed periodically by insiders, analysts or NPD.

Misinterpretation of tie ratios:

  • the larger the userbase, the harder it is to have a huge tie ratio. The tie ratio on a console with larger install base can often be smaller.
  • software does not scale linearly with hardware.
  • while these sales trends are interesting from a predictions point of view, it’s the actual number of games sold that publishers ultimately care about.

Note: Bundled games are not included when calculating hardware to software tie ratios.

Attach rateEdit

See also: Best selling game consoles

An attach rate expresses approximately how many owners of a system also own another item for that system, such as a software title or an accessory. The attach rate for a software title, for example, is computed by dividing the total number of units of that software title sold by the size of the installed base for the system on which the software runs.

For example, if a game for the Nintendo Wii has sold 1 million units at the time when the installed base for the Wii is 10 million units, then the attach rate is said to be 10% (i.e. 1 million software units among 10 million hardware units).

An attach rate is often confused with a tie ratio. A general rule of thumb is the following: systems have tie ratios while software titles and accessories have attach rates. More importantly, an attach rate is a number between 0.0 and 1.00 (interpreted as a percentage) while a tie ratio is a number greater than 1.00.

Another example: Grand Theft Auto IV on the Xbox 360 version has sold 3,362,196 units as of April 2009 in the U.S., compared to 1,959,798 units for PlayStation 3. However, because X360 has a higher install base, GTAIV only has a 23% attach rate compared to 26.9% for the PS3 SKU (i.e., 26.9% of PS3 owners and 23% of X360 owners purchased the title). In brief, a console has a tie ratio while a game (or accessory) has an attach rate.[2][3]

Software sales is usually a stronger indicator of a console's success than hardware sales. Since most consoles usually sell the hardware at a loss and the software at a profit, it is mostly software sales that drives a console's profits, while the purpose of hardware sales is to establish an install base to sell software to. A console's success thus depends more on the software sales than the hardware sales.

ConsolesEdit

The following table lists the number of software units sold, and the software attach rate (software units sold per console), for each console.

The consoles with the highest number of software units sold are Sony's PlayStation 2 and PlayStation, each with software sales exceeding 900 million units. The consoles with the highest software attach ratios are Sega's Master System and Mega Drive/Genesis, each with at least 16:1 attach ratio.

Manufacturer Platform Released Software sales
(million units)
Attach ratio
(per console)
Source
Sony PlayStation 2 2000 1,520 9.81 [4]
Sony PlayStation 1994 962 9.43 [5]
Nintendo Nintendo DS 2006 948.61 6.16 [6]
Nintendo Wii 2006 919.81 9.05 [6]
Sony PlayStation 3 2006 748.9 8.92 [7]
Sony PlayStation 4 2013 645 8.76 [8]
Microsoft Xbox 360 2005 630 7.5 [9]
Sega Sega Mega Drive / Genesis 1988 576.16 16 [10][11]
Nintendo Game Boy 1989 501.11 4.22 [6]
Nintendo Nintendo Entertainment System 1983 500.01 8.08 [6]
Sega Sega Master System 1985 422.47 20.9 [12]
Nintendo Super Nintendo Entertainment System 1990 379.06 7.72 [6]
Nintendo Game Boy Advance 2001 377.42 4.63 [6]
Nintendo Nintendo 3DS 2011 364.89 5.03 [6]
Sony PlayStation Portable 2013 318 3.88 [13]
Nintendo Nintendo 64 1996 224.97 6.83 [6]
Nintendo GameCube 2001 208.57 9.59 [6]
Microsoft Xbox One 2013 204.36 6.55 [14]
Microsoft Xbox 2001 165.12 6.88 [15]
Sega Sega Saturn 1994 150 9.09 [16]
Sony PlayStation Vita 2011 130 10 [17]
Atari Atari 2600 1977 120 4.8 [18]
Nintendo Super NES Classic Edition 2017 110.88 21 [19]
Nintendo Wii U 2012 102.01 7.52 [6]
Sega Dreamcast 1998 85 8 [20]
Nintendo NES Classic Edition 2016 69 30 [21]
Nintendo Nintendo Switch 2017 68.97 3.88 [6]
Nintendo Game & Watch 1980 43.4 1 [22]
Nintendo Color TV-Game 1977 22.5 7.5 [23][24]
Coleco ColecoVision 1982 9.5 4.75 [25]
Mattel Intellivision 1979 9 3 [26]
Atari Atari 7800 1986 3.77 3.77 [27]
Atari Atari 5200 1982 1.04 1.04 [27]
Coleco Telstar 1976 1 1 [28]

CompaniesEdit

Console software sales by company
Company Home console
software sales
Handheld
software sales
Total
software sales
Home console
attach rate
Handheld
attach rate
Nintendo 2,605.51 million 2,235.43 million 4,840.94 million 8.44 4.89
Sony 3,875.9 million 448 million 4,323.9 million 9.34 4.72
Sega 1,233.63 million >14.4 million >1,248.03 million 12.18
Microsoft 999.48 million 999.48 million 7.2
Atari 125.64 million >1 million >126.64 million 4.63

Previous generation software tie ratioEdit

See also: Best selling game consoles

Seventh generation of video games:

[32] [33]

Others to note:

First 30 Months of Consoles Life - Attach Rate

  • Genesis - 16 (in 1997)[35]
  • Xbox - 6.8
  • PS2 - 6.5
  • Dreamcast - 6.4
  • GC - 6.3
  • PS - 5.2 (6.9 in November 1999) [14]
  • N64 - 4.6

Previous generation tie ratiosEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. [1]
  2. http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=23308
  3. http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=23186
  4. https://www.sie.com/en/corporate/release/2011/110214.html
  5. Cumulative Production Shipments of Software Titles. Sony Computer Entertainment (31 March 2007). Archived from the original on 23 September 2008. Retrieved on 19 September 2014.
  6. 6.00 6.01 6.02 6.03 6.04 6.05 6.06 6.07 6.08 6.09 6.10 https://www.nintendo.co.jp/ir/en/finance/hard_soft/
  7. PlayStation 3
  8. https://www.polygon.com/2018/1/8/16866554/playstation-4-sales-figures-holiday-2017
  9. Xbox 360 software sales:
    • United States – 27 million units [2][3] with 8.9 attach rate = 240.3 million
    • Other – 56.7 million hardware units at 7.0 attach rate [4][5] = 396.9 million software units
  10. Fourth generation of video games
  11. Press release: 1997-06-04: Sega Lowers Price on Hardware, Software
  12. Third generation of video games
  13. PlayStation Portable
  14. http://mancunion.com/2017/11/27/microsoft-going-follow-nintendo-switch-house-games/
  15. LTD Tie Ratios, CSFB (June 2004)
  16. 9.09 attach rate
  17. 10.0 attach rate (June 2013)
  18. The New York Times Guide to Essential Knowledge: A Desk Reference for the Curious Mind (2011), page 500
  19. 5.28 million consoles, 21 games per console
  20. 8.0 attach rate
  21. 5.28 million consoles, 30 games per console
  22. Nintendo software and hardware sales data from 1983 to present
  23. Color TV-Game:
    • Color TV-Game 6 – 1 million consoles, with 6 games each = 6 million games
    • Color TV-Game 15 – 1 million consoles, with 15 games each = 15 million games
    • Color TV-Game Racing 112 – 500,000 consoles, with at least 1 game each = at least 500,000 games
    • Color TV-Game Block Breaker – 500,000 consoles, with at least 2 games each = at least 1 million games
  24. Sheff, David; Eddy, Andy (1999), Game Over: How Nintendo Conquered the World, GamePress, p. 27, ISBN 978-0-9669617-0-6, "Nintendo entered the home market in Japan with the dramatic unveiling of Color TV Game 6, which played six versions of light tennis. It was followed by a more powerful sequel, Color TV Game 15. A million units of each were sold. The engineering team also came up with systems that played a more complex game, called "Blockbuster," as well as a racing game. Half a million units of these were sold."
  25. Encyclopedia of Play in Today's Society, Volume 1 (2009), page 143
  26. http://www.intellivisionlives.com/bluesky/people/askhal/askhal.html
  27. 27.0 27.1 http://www.atarimuseum.com/whatsnew/2009-MAY-28.html
  28. First generation of video games
  29. [6]
  30. [7]
  31. [8]
  32. source as of April 25, 2008
  33. Nintendo source
  34. Software tie ratios for December 07
  35. Press release: 1997-06-04: Sega Lowers Price on Hardware, Software
  36. [9]
  37. [10]
  38. [11]
  39. [12]
  40. [13]


External linksEdit

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