Official Xbox One sales have been largely a mystery, but now Microsoft is finally admitting the obvious: PS4 sales have far exceeded those of the Xbox One.
Microsoft stopped releasing its Xbox One sales numbers at the start of its 2016 fiscal year, instead focusing on Xbox Live numbers. The change meant we never officially knew how well the Xbox One stood up to the onslaught of the PS4 after the Xbox One’s rocky launch. Analyst estimates have consistently placed Microsoft in third place behind Sony and Nintendo. This time around, documents submitted to Brazil’s national competition regulator have finally shed some light on how sales of the Xbox One generation have gone.
A highly publicized case is underway in Brazil, as Microsoft tries to defend its acquisition of Activision Blizzard with CADE, the Brazilian competition authority. Official court documents have revealed a lot of juicy details so far. Microsoft’s latest court documents confirmed that Sony sold more than twice as many PlayStation 4s as Microsoft sold Xbox Ones.
For the record, the Xbox One is an eighth generation video game console developed by Microsoft. Unveiled on May 21, 2013, it succeeds Xbox 360 and competes head-on with Sony’s PlayStation 4, and more indirectly with Wii U and then Nintendo’s Switch. Equipped with an AMD processor, the machine is equipped with a Blu-ray or Ultra HD Blu-ray player and a 500 GB, 1 TB or 2 TB non-removable hard disk depending on the model, aiming to make it a system integrated entertainment. Integration of the Kinect device allows the console to respond to voice commands or user-dictated movements and be combined with video conferencing functionality. Kinect is quickly forgotten by the general public and is offered as an option, which lowers the price of the console and many buyers choose to buy the console without Kinect for the lower price.
Microsoft refuses to release information on console sales since 2015, saying it’s not the key measure of success they like to focus on. Microsoft prefers to focus on engagement, a key factor in creating Xbox Game Pass. The reluctance to release sales figures has never stopped trade analysts from offering accurate sales estimates. Data from Ampere Analysis predicted 51 million sales of the Xbox One line of consoles in 2020, and it looks like they were right.
The information can be found on page 18 of Microsoft’s court documents dated August 9, 2022. The translated line reads: Sony has overtaken Microsoft in console sales and install base, having sold more than twice more [que] Xbox in the last generation, from a rough translation by Google.
Sony recently released its latest PS4 sales figures, confirming 117.2 million sales of the console line, making it the second biggest home console of all time. Although Microsoft didn’t provide concrete sales figures for the Xbox One, its admission means the company must have sold less than around 58.5 million units. This lines up with market research from Ampere Analysis in 2020, which put the Xbox One install base at 51 million units at the end of Q2 2020. Nintendo Switch currently sits at 111.08 million lifetime sales, and should pass the PS4 later this year.
According to data from Ampere Analysis, at the end of the second quarter of 2020, the installed base of PS4 (all versions) was 111 million, Xbox One (all versions) 51 million and Nintendo Switch (all versions) 57 million. Sony has built a formidable global brand in PlayStation over the past 25 years. While Microsoft will be more competitive in the next cycle, especially in the key battleground of continental Europe where the company lost ground during the Xbox One cycle, the PlayStation brand still resonates more strongly than Xbox outside of markets. American and British where the situation is more balanced.
Ampere Analysis also touched on the strategies around the latest console generations from the two rivals:
Microsoft, however, appears to be filling that giant gap with its Xbox Series S/X consoles. Ampere Analysis says Sony ended 2021 with cumulative PS5 sales reaching 17 million units, around 1.6 times the series’ sales performance. Xbox.
While Microsoft recently saw a quarterly decline in hardware revenue for Xbox, CEO Satya Nadella said Microsoft has been the market leader in North America for three straight quarters among next-generation consoles. Microsoft still won’t reveal official Xbox sales figures.
The Xbox One may not have sold well, but Microsoft’s work on the Xbox One generation laid an important foundation for the Xbox Series S/X. Microsoft moved to Xbox Series X with 1440p support, variable refresh rate (VRR) and many 120Hz games all at launch thanks to testing of these features on previous Xbox One consoles.
Sources: Brazilian Competition Authority, Ampere Analysis (1, 2)
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