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EA exec's remarks shine a light on Xbox One sales

Rough math suggests a near 2:1 advantage for PS4

Recent comments by a top Electronic Arts executive seem to have given the clearest picture to date of the Xbox One installation base.

In remarks to investors during a quarterly earnings call (reported by Ars Technica), Blake Jorgensen, the EA chief financial officer, said his firm estimated 55 million PlayStation 4 and Xbox One units, combined, in the marketplace as of present day. Jorgenson couched that figure as "almost 50 percent higher than previous console cycle," calling it "very, very positive news."

Microsoft has been coy about its console sales figures to date, focusing on less distinctive categories like Xbox Live subscribers and numbers of players overall. Sony, in November, claimed sales of 30.2 million PS4s worldwide, a figure that expanded to 35.9 million units (as reported by Sony) on Jan. 3.

If Jorgensen's number is any guide, then 55 million, minus the PS4's 35.9 million claimed, leaves 19.1 million Xbox Ones sold since the console's November 2013 launch. That's just short of a 2-to-1 advantage for the PlayStation 4.

Third parties are expected to be discreet about figures that imply one console's lead over another. Still, EA's big games have illuminated the competitive landscape slightly. In November, statistics for Star Wars Battlefront, reported by a third party, showed that game, a centerpiece of EA's holiday sales catalog, being played on PlayStation 4 more than Xbox One and PC combined.

Of course, as Battlefront is a new multiplayer game without any singleplayer campaign mode, it can be reasonably expected to drive added revenue to both consoles, as multiplayer access on both PS4 and Xbox One is dependent on an active subscription to PlayStation Plus or Xbox Live. Indeed, in January, PlayStation claimed a 60 percent spike in PS Plus subscriptions at the end of 2015 compared to the same period in 2014. Given the claimed advantage on PS4 by Battlefront, that's probably not much of a surprise.

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