Tue. Feb 27th, 2024

Sony’s PlayStation 4 console isn’t the most popular console ever, but it’s getting there. The PlayStation 4 is just shy of reaching 60 million consoles sold — an impressive number to crest in just 3.5 years. 

The PlayStation 4 Slim (background) and PlayStation 4 Pro (foreground) make up the PlayStation 4 family of consoles. Ben Gilbert / Business Insider

That announcement puts Sony’s PlayStation 4 ahead of Microsoft’s Xbox One by a considerable margin: the PlayStation 4 is selling approximately twice as fast as the Xbox One. 

Though Microsoft stopped reporting sales numbers of its Xbox One console, numbers provided by SuperData Research indicate that Microsoft has sold approximately 26 million Xbox One consoles (as of January 2017). That puts Sony in a dramatic lead over Microsoft when it comes to game console sales, and casts the long-running competition between the two console makers in a very different light. 

Put simply: Sony has a ridiculous lead over Microsoft when it comes to the video game business.

Sony and Microsoft have a long-running competition with each other in the video game business. Christian Petersen/Getty Images

There are a few reasons for this lead, from major game exclusives (“Horizon Zero Dawn”) to new models of the PlayStation 4 (the PlayStation 4 Pro is a slightly more powerful version of the original PS4, which launched in late 2016) to an excellent loyalty program (PlayStation Plus). 

And all of that stuff matters, no doubt, but what may matter even more was Microsoft’s major missteps back in 2013 — the year that both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 debuted and then launched. Right out of the gate, Microsoft turned off potential buyers with a higher price point ($499 for Xbox One compared to $399 for PlayStation 4), and a major messaging problem.

To Microsoft, the Xbox One was intended as the center hub of your home entertainment system. To Sony, the PlayStation 4 was intended as the best game console ever made.


That subtle difference in messaging — combined with a $100 price difference — hurt the Xbox One in a major way early on, and in many ways doomed the console to years of second place. It wasn’t until Microsoft removed its camera/microphone peripheral from the retail box and dropped the Xbox One’s price that the system became more competitive with the PlayStation 4.

While the Xbox One isn’t failing by any means, it’s clearly a distant second to the PlayStation 4’s sales numbers — and it’s unlikely the discrepancy is going to shift any time soon.

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