Console Wars: By the Numbers

OK as all of you know, the Console Wars just started anew. The XBox One vs. the PlayStation 4, both giggling as they look at the poor Wii U in a corner trying to catch up with the previous generation. The last two months of the year were heavy. Both consoles outselling each other at different points, some blaming supply for their pitfalls on a weekly basis. But the holidays are over, and now the real battle begins: making it through the year without hype or holidays inflating their sales! From now on, every sale will have to be earned, anyone that spends money on these machines will have to really want it.. its war! CONSOLE WARS!!!

DISCLAIMER: All numbers graphed bellow are taken from, you may trust them or question their accuracy. For information on how they gather their numbers, visit their page.

DISCLAIMER 2: I don’t own either of the new gen consoles, always been an X360 fan and didn’t get a PS3 until very recently (as a gift but ended up liking many exclusive games.) However, I do am inclined more towards the PS4 this generation, in great part because I am not fond of the Kinect nor the overly high price of the XB1. I also always considered myself more of a Nintendo fan than any other company, but am also a Windows Phone owner (preordered a Lumia 1520,) so I certainly hold no hate towards Microsoft. I note this to make sure any bias out in the open.

Console Sales

OK let's look at the full life of the console sales.


via (click for large version)

This is self-evident but just for the hell of adding more text to this post: the PS4 had a very strong launch, but it nosedived badly on its second week when the XBOne seems to have had an even stronger launch. This did not last, though, as the PS4 peeked up immediately the following week and now it is the XB1 that nose dives, although not as badly as the PS4 did before. Going forward though, it seems that consistently the PS4 retains a higher spot than the XB1, with a big big spike right in Christmas week. It is very obvious that the PS4 stays on top all the way, but there is more going on there that warrants a closer look so let’s zoom into the January-February data:


via (click for large version)

Here is where we can see some VERY bad news for Microsoft: The PS3, a prev gen system, is outselling the XB1 on every single week BUT the week of Jan 10, were sales were still darn close. As we keep going forward, the XB1 keeps diving and the PS3 seems to stay steady. Also note: the X360 has also weakened its sales, dropping below the Wii U (poor Nintendo.)

Game Sales

Console sales themselves may not mean much if people are not buying games. Some may buy both consoles but its doubtful they will buy every game for both. Some may buy a console and not buy games, just rent or use it for Netflix (I know a few PS4 owners that have done this.) We also know that game royalties is where these companies make their real profits.

So, what is the trend for game sales? Best way to evaluate this fairly is looking at completely cross-platform games. 3 games I am aware are on all 5 machines + PC (for reference) would be: Lego Marvel Super Heroes, Assassins Creed 4 and CoD: Ghost. (Battlefield 4 is not available for the Wii U so passing on it for now.)

Assassins Creed 4 sales (in millions)

  1. 2.63 - PS3
  2. 2.32 - X360
  3. 1.34 - PS4
  4. 0.67 - XOne
  5. 0.38 - PC
  6. 0.14 - WiiU

CoD Ghost:

  1. 8.14 - X360
  2. 7.38 - PS3
  3. 1.81 - PS4
  4. 1.50 - XOne
  5. 0.48 - PC
  6. 0.13 - WiiU

Lego Marvel Super Heroes:

  1. 1.08 - X360
  2. 0.88 - PS3
  3. 0.40 - PS4
  4. 0.27 - XOne
  5. 0.21 - WiiU
  6. 0.09 - PC

Looking at the games, it seems that more often than not, the one selling the biggest numbers is the X360. I would say there is still a lot of life on both, the X360 and the PS3 regardless how slowly the X360 is moving recently as a console. The new gen consoles, are still not at a level of penetration that would allow developers with huge budgets to ignore the older generations, though, more obvious than anywhere in Call of Duty: Ghost. However, looking at the newer generation sales, the PS4 seems to consistently outsell the XOne, and with a very big margin.

Too early but...

It is still too early to tell, things may change. Titanfall is very hyped and still coming and although inFamous: Second Son is also on its way, it’s nowhere nearly as hyped. That may be what Microsoft needs to push the console back up. So far, however, it seems that the PS4 has a very strong advantage in this race, while Nintendo will be lucky to stay around another two years, much less a full console cycle.

I will reserve any opinions/conclusions/rants/suggestions for the thread itself, want to keep this post as fact/analysis based as I can, but a minor joke: although not listed in these numbers, the 3DS kicked everyone’s rears these months. At least something will keep Nintendo's lifeline moving until they can come up with something new.

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