Sony Boasts About Move Shipments, Games Press Falls For It

Sony has sent out a press release crowing about their strong shipments of their Move controller, stating that they have sold 4.1m units, and sending a statement to Industry Gamers boasting about the “incredible demand” for the device while pointing out the momentum that the company has heading into Christmas.

“Heading into the home stretch of this holiday season, and early 2011 with two huge Move compatible titles LittleBigPlanet and Killzone 3 right around the corner, PlayStation Move is the leading choice of consumers for both their hard core and their family gaming experiences.”

There’s only one problem. They haven’t actually sold that many units to consumers. SFX-360’s Jose Betancourt made the point via Twitter that these were just consoles shipped, meaning sold to retailers, and not sold-through to consumers. Don Reisinger of CNET confirmed with Sony that the numbers reflected shipped numbers, whereas Microsoft’s boast of 2.5m Kinect units sold – the announcement of which Sony was following up – has been confirmed by CNET as being sell-throughs. Sony has said they are not releasing the number of sold-through Move units, but told CNET that it doesn’t matter because they keep getting orders.

“While we don’t disclose our exact sell-through number, the key is that our retailers continue to ask for more Move units and are taking every unit we can supply them with based on their sales.”

I’m going to take a moment to call bullshit on that. Retailers aren’t necessarily placing those orders because the units are flying off the shelves, they could be placing those orders because today’s date is November 30th, and they’re getting ready for the potential to sell Move units. There’s no way to really verify how many units are being sold – Sony’s not telling, and the NDP Group has neutered itself into irrelevance at the behest of the publishers – but it’s important to note that Sony is being deceitful about Move’s sales, and possibly its demand, which is in line with what was reported yesterday.

So, who fell for it, and reported this number as “sales” instead of “shipments”? A depressing number of outlets.

* Steve Watts of 1UP reported, then updated their post upon confirmation to their credit. G4 falls in the same boat.

* USA Today’s Game Hunters blog reported it as sales, exceptionally disappointing considering it’s USA Today. I’ll bet if this was a political article, it would have been put through a more stringent editorial process.

* Ben Strauss of Industry Gamers reported them as sales, while noting Michael Pachter’s analysis of inflated demand.

* Worst of all, Tom Ivan of UK-based CVG not only reported it as sales, but stated as fact that Sony was “currently winning the PS3-360 motion war” and at the end of the article, stated that it was “your move, MS”. That was a journalistic catastrophe.

So, to review: Sony is pulling the wool over peoples’ eyes regarding demand and sales of their devices with the intention of spurring more sales and more demand, and are able to do so based on the knowledge that very few people are actually going to double check.

Bad games industry. Bad.

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