Xbox One vs PS4: The console kings' battle for Christmas
Thursday 12 December 2013
Microsoft has sold 2 million of its new games console Xbox One since its launch, the computer giant announced yesterday, catching up to rival Sony's Playstation 4.
The Xbox One, launched in the UK on 22 November, took 18 days to hit the sales landmark, while Sony, which launched its console a week earlier, sold 2.1 million of its Playstation 4 in just 15 days.
Yusuf Mehdi, Xbox's vice president of strategy and marketing, said the company has been "humbled and overwhelmed" by sales of its console, adding: "Demand is exceeding supply in our 13 launch markets and Xbox One is sold out at most retailers."
Sony and Microsoft are both hoping their consoles will be crowned king of the UK's estimated £3.7bn gaming market this Christmas and so far, despite Playstation's headstart, they're neck and neck.
"It's a better result than probably was expected for Xbox One, especially in Europe where the price difference is a lot greater," says Ian Maude, an analyst at of Enders Analysis who looks at the space.
The Xbox One sells for £429.99 in the UK, while the PS4 retails for £349.99. Microsoft is marketing its machine as a more high-end 'home entertainment system', with built-in features like Skype, YouTube and Netflix.
Microsoft's console also includes a motion-sensor, Kinect, whereas Playstation 4 gamers must shell out extra to get the equivalent feature. Other than that, there's little to difference, says Maude.
"Essentially they offer a very similar experience. It's as much about market positioning as it is about the reality."
Retailers are fighting tooth and nail for consumers' cash this Christmas but perhaps no sales rivalry is as fierce as Xbox versus Playstation. While Christmas is not the be all and end all, it is hugely significant for the overall success of both consoles.
"It's absolutely crucial that they get their pricing strategy, marketing and advertising right because the stakes are so much higher at Christmas," says Mr Maude.
"They're in a battle for domination of the console market."
Both firms pulled out all the stops for the launch events of their rival devices. Microsoft took over Leicester Square for the UK launch of the Xbox One, while Tinie Tempah played the Covent Garden launch of Sony's console.
The response from gamers matched the promotional drive, with fans around the world queuing up to be the first to get their hands on the machines. Both firms sold a million in the first 24 hours.
"What you're seeing at the moment is the fanatical, hardcore gamers who would probably sell their house to get hold of one of these consoles," says Maude. "Once we're through the Christmas period you'll start to get a better sense of how these two are doing. There are some big releases coming in spring."
Games like Metal Gear Solid 5, DriveClub and Watchdogs will bring in big bucks for both Sony and Microsoft, as it's the games themselves where both companies make their money.
"It's the Gillette razor and blades strategy," says Mr Maude. "Both Sony and Microsoft are selling these consoles at close to cost and make their money out of the licensing fees from the games."
Ultimately, both consoles will probably share the market – but spare a thought for Nintendo. Once the flagbearer for the industry, the Japanese gaming company's latest console, the Wii U, sold fewer units in nine months than Sony and Microsoft each sold in 24 hours.
Nintendo's move towards family-orientated, social gaming with its Wii console in 2006, coincided calamitously with the rise of smartphones.
"Wii is really now competing with tablets and smartphones rather than Xbox and Playstation," says Mr Maude. "They're not really in it anymore. It's finished."
- 1 BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
- 2 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 3 18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
- 4 'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
- 5 Rebecca Francis accuses Ricky Gervais of using 'influence' to target female hunters after receiving barrage of death threats
General Election 2015: David Cameron catching up in polls – but he badly needs a clear lead
South Africa xenophobic attacks: Shops looted and violence on streets of Johannesburg as foreigners are forced to hide in police stations
Earthworms rain down from skies over Norway, puzzling scientists
18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
Russian warships in English Channel 'to conduct anti-aircraft and anti-submarine military drills'
iJobs Money & Business
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...
£50000 - £667000 per annum + excellent benefits : Ashdown Group: IT Manager / ...
£13000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Scotland's leading life insuran...
£40000 - £45000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manag...