Xbox One vs PS4: The console kings' battle for Christmas

 

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."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

Ashdown Group: IT Manager / Development Manager - NW London - £58k + 15% bonus

£50000 - £667000 per annum + excellent benefits : Ashdown Group: IT Manager / ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant / Telemarketer - OTE £20,000

£13000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Scotland's leading life insuran...

Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manager - City, London

£40000 - £45000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Training Programme Manag...

Day In a Page

Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...