We Call Shenanigans on Sony's 4.1 Million Move Controller Sales

Microsoft on Monday announced it had sold 2.5 million Kinect motion controlled cameras in just 25 days and is on track to reach its goal of selling 5 million by the end of the year. Not to be outdone, Sony a day later issued a press release claiming it had sold 4.1 million of its Move motion controllers since it was released two months ago. According to Sony, "the number not only shows clear success of the launch of the new motion sensing controller but also indicates positive momentum going in to the holiday season and to the year 2011." So why are we calling shenanigans?

What Sony didn't disclose, at least not at first, is that its 4.1 million figure doesn't actually represent consumer sales, but units shipped to stores. What's more, some 75 percent of the sales in the U.S. are bundles, though we're less critical of that figure.

"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," Sony explained to Engadget in an email.

Fair enough, but that's the sort of thing Sony should have been upfront about, especially considering the timing of their press release. In all reality, some analysts think the actual number of Move units sold is closer to that of the Kinect, but with a one month head start.

"I understand that they sold through around one million through the end of October (tracking NBD results and extrapolating for Europe), and it's reasonable that with the Japanese launch they have sold through another 1.5 million in November, but I'd peg the sell through number at closer to 2.5 million, or exactly on par with Kinect, albeit over a longer time frame," said Michael Pacter, an analyst with Wedbush Securities.