Did Microsoft’s Xbox One Really Beat Sony’s PlayStation 4 in Black Friday Sales?

As always, it pays to be aware of the ups and downs of methodological claims.

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Microsoft, Sony

If you’re only half-paying attention to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One sales, you might have the sense that both consoles are tied. Sony issued a press statement a few weeks ago claiming it sold around one million systems in 24 hours. A week later, Microsoft did the same, claiming it, too, had sold about a million systems in a day.

There was one crucial, underreported difference: The PS4 launched in just two markets (the U.S. and Canada), while the Xbox One launched in 13; that, said Motley Fool’s Demitrios Kalogeropoulos, is kind of a big deal. Garnish with news that Sony’s PlayStation 4 both outsold Microsoft’s Xbox One in the U.K. last week (250,000 vs. 150,000 units, reports MCV) and simultaneously broke every games console sales record on the country’s books, and everything looks to be coming up roses for Sony.

But then you have this little Black Friday sales story making the rounds, which suggests the Xbox One won Black Friday at U.S. retail, and by a significant margin. It comes from InfoScout, a beta startup that launched last year and claims it can track Black Friday sales in real time.

Before we go over the numbers, a word on InfoScout’s methods, which sound a little like a page from a voodoo cookbook: a roux of “computer vision & crowdsourcing … natural language processing & machine learning … social media & big data analytics” and apps that encourage customers to voluntarily snap pictures of receipts in trade for cash- or charity-related incentives; this, says InfoScout, lets the company provide “a nationally projectable sample of American shopping behavior.” But survey methodology is tricky business, and sometime what sounds like voodoo isn’t voodoo at all.

Without getting too much into the weeds here, the word you want to pay attention to in that last quote is “projectable,” which means something very different from “representative.” Since InfoScout’s survey results are based on voluntary data (provided by a subset of the population with the sort of technology necessary to furnish said data), they’re not necessarily representative of the general population, even with formula fixes designed to shore things up. Bear that in mind.

But yes, on its face, InfoScout’s data shows the Xbox One and Xbox 360 snatching a whopping 61% of console sales at Walmart and Target, or about 30% each; contrast with PS4 and PS3 sales, sharing 30% combined at those two retailers, or about 15% each. InfoScout attributes that disparity to PS4 unit shortages, but then it sources that attribution to a tech blog post that claims as much based on “tips.”

In other words, we’re in the wild west here, folks: none of this information is bankable.

That said, if we stick to the official sales figures, both consoles are doing very well, which should assuage fears that consoles weren’t long for this earth, though it’s impossible to know whether this momentum’s sustainable once early adopter enthusiasm fades and players burn through each system’s limited stack of launch titles. Neither the PS4 nor Xbox One let you play older games, so both systems are going to languish once players exhaust their picks of the launch lineup.

While I’ve been enjoying what I’ve played of Forza 5, Ryse and Killzone Shadow Fall, for instance, I’ve spent more time with LEGO Marvel Super Heroes, FlowerAssassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, Need for Speed: Rivals and Battlefield 4 — all available on the older systems. (I actually spent most of the holiday weekend finishing Naughty Dog’s Uncharted 3 before delving back into The Last of Us.)

When I head home for The Holidays Round Two in a few weeks, it’ll be with older games I’ve been meaning to play or finish, say Tomb Raider, Super Mario 3D WorldNi No Kuni, Pikmin 3Grand Theft Auto V, The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds and XCOM: Enemy Within. In other words, I’ll probably leave the PS4 and Xbox One behind, because that software ship has sailed until well into 2014.

(MORE: PlayStation 4 Launch Event: Sony Takes Over NYC)

(MORE: Watch TIME’s behind the scenes coverage of the Xbox One Launch Event)

143 comments
Newbb
Newbb

Actually Sony marketed more than 2 xD they also marketed The U.K. and made it the highest selling game console within the shortest amount i.e. 42 hours so it broke the record for that also check your facts before you go on saying such things ;D

venblackburn
venblackburn

Microsoft is such a failure. Whoever buys their console is ignorant and has no clue. They are just buying it for little o' billy...

ScottLogan
ScottLogan

why does it matter who sold the most on a single day? The cards were all set up for xbox to win on black Friday. It is an American centric console. Half the features don't work outside of the US. It released closer to black Friday than the PS4. The PS4 was pretty much sold out by black Friday with a few scraps left behind to get people into the door on black Friday.


That is the dumbest question ever asked. Who sold what more on one single day? 


This article isn't too bad about the whole,


"Black Friday is the only sales day that matters in the world of xbox marketing" 


Some articles are straight up lying to their readers. So the xbox one sells more consoles on that specific day than PS4 because of a laundry list of reasons why. Yet rabid xbox fans seem to only include that one single day when they talk about how the xbox is selling. They pick that one day and try to tell others it is selling better than the PS4. I really hope the xbox fails. And I will tell you why. It isn't because I am a fanboy. I love all gaming consoles and games of all sorts but xbox is different. They have made an enemy for this generation and I will tell you why. 


when reality sets in the ps4 or wiiu or pc wins hands down vs xbox one. The only people who should buy an xbox one are marketers, online tracking enthusiasts. The NSA, FBI and DEA.


The cable companies should be crapping themselves in happiness that the xbox one is actually acknowledging their presence while the rest of the world would like to see the entire industry turn into dumb pipes. Here is the xbox coming through with features nobody asked for nor do they really need them. They spent way too much trying to add this and that and completely forgot about the gamers. The people they should have been catering to. The console is now 30% weaker than the PS4 yet it is $100 more because Microsoft can't fathom the uselessness of the kinect. If they just said,


"Hey guys. We made our console $100 more so you can use your voice to navigate the UI and that is all it is really good for" 


The entire company would be laughed out of the room. Too bad that is exactly what happened. They spent a boatload of money researching and building the kinect and when it looked like nobody cared or wanted to use the thing they doubled down and made everyone use the next time around. They even went so far to say the thing had to be in use to even have a working console. They quickly removed that feature when everyone gave them the stink eye but there is a good chance they will put it back in once they feel they have lured in all the customers they are going to lure in.


The way Microsoft handled the entire reveal made the xbox look like it was made for marketers for the cable company and espn to try and make themselves relevant when more and more people are cutting the cord. actually. That is another fail. More and more of society is getting away from cable tv and here is microsoft  spending precious resources adding features for a dying install base. They literally are dying. More cable subscribers are cutting the cord than new subscribers are plugging in.


The way microsoft handled everything made me so disappointed I was completely ready to dive into the xbox one as soon as it was released but the reveal made me do an entire 180 without a second though. It was that bad! All they had to do was show me a cool console with comparable strength and great graphics with nice games to go along with it but they barely even cared about the game portion of the console. And once I saw that the games coming out can't even do 60fps  1080p I just shook my head. They failed and I hope they fail for trying to turn gamers into a commodity before they even sold us the machine.


/rant




JaySimon
JaySimon

It is quite a sad thing to see my fellow gamer's arguing over such a stupid reason. Why can't you all understand that gaming is gaming no matter what console you are on. I'm 19 years old Ive played ps2 and xbox and xbox 360 and some of my best friends had ps3's. I'm no child, but I did start playing when I was a child and havent stopped since. I'm sure I'm not the only one that thinks these to genius companies should come together and make the best console that any gamer has played. We all watch movies and we all definitely play games we should all be able to play together and watch TV or movies from one device. 


No matter which ones "better" it doesn't matter because we are all gamers and we all want to play and relax with friends. Nothing is stopping that from happening so we should be happy with what we want and just wait for the ultimate console to come out! lol Until that happens just remember that you are arguing with your fellow gamers. People that do the same thing you do on those late nights.    

jdscouser
jdscouser

If i were to buy a next-gen console, i would personally go with ps4 and this is mainly because its stronger with gaming and not all this multi-media stuff. If i want to play a game or watch a film with a buddy that is miles away form me, then I would simply fire up skype :L  Its cool that xbox one are trying to go a step further than just a gaming console and may get somewhere with that, but when i enter a store to buy buy a GAMING console, i would much prefer a machine that is built for mainly playing GAMES, therefore PS4 would be my choice.

Either way, i will be buying a gaming PC as they are way superior than consoles anyway and lets be honest here, steam on gaming PCs has always shined above both consoles since the start.

LoneWulff829
LoneWulff829

As a Wal-Mart employee that actually worked the mess that was Black Thursday this year, we had far more X-Box systems than we did PS4. That being said we also didn't sell all of our X-Box One consoles that night, we had thirteen left over the next day because they weren't as in demand as the Playstation had been. During our pre-sell events for both systems in the days prior, we did a total of forty two PS4 reservations and only twenty three of the X-Box One. Read into this what you will, but in the days since I have had much more inquiry into our next delivery of PS4 systems, and only a few into the X-Box.

ArjunKahlon
ArjunKahlon

Theres a reason why the Xbox One out sold the PS4 on Black Friday. Ask any Gamestop or Walmart employee. The PS4 was released worldwide that day. Thus they were significantly less abundant as the Xbox One in US stores. Microsoft had multiple shipments to Wal-Mart and Gamestop to replenish inventory. On the other hand, the only ps4s Gamestop had were launch consoles they purposely held on to for Black Friday. Its no question they there is much more demand for the PS4 and that Sony will sell more consoles.

BenBarr
BenBarr

@JustinBurnheimer Compare $400 for a next-gen console that will run Unreal Engine 4 to; a current-gen PS3 that cost a whopping $600 with a Cell-processor that severely prohibited development time and was just plain difficult to develop for. I think Sony was very smart for embracing the x86 architecture so more could develop faster, while being creatively fulfilled. This I like! 

I'll take the DNLA server over TV always. Not to mention the coming of the GAIKAI service for PS4 owners, which allows you to play brand new games streaming right to your console. This creates competition for Gamefly, Onlive, and similar services. I have tried both machines out, and as a gamer I prefer the Dualshock 4 hands down. Also the size of the cameras are quite notable, with PS4 Eye being substantially smaller. I also just find myself not that interested, as a gamer, in the powers of Kinect 1 or 2.  As I like to say, good luck to both companies because competition is great for all us gamers. I really can't stand the term, "Console Wars". It's idiotic and sends the industry backwards. Chill out and have fun.  

JustinBurnheimer
JustinBurnheimer

I am seeing a trend everywhere I go that PS4 games, and accessories are barely selling, where Xbox One games and accessories are nearly sold out.  Nowhere has the consoles at the moment.  Sony and MS are both selling out what stock they have as it is being manufactured.  Time will tell who the clear winner is.  I myself see X1 beating out PS4 due to having a much larger bang for the buck.  $400 for PS4 seems way too high of a price for a system that pretty much only plays games.  The X1 is a multimedia powerhouse that aims to replace nearly all of your entertainment electronics with a single integrated system.  My opinion is that the X1 should be in the $400 range and the PS4 should be in the $250 for what you get with each console.  I look forward to see if purchasing X1 first was a better idea than the PS4.

ChristopherBoudreau
ChristopherBoudreau

If this story is true, it's only true because demand for the PS4 is higher than the XBOX. Hence, why XBOX had more for sale on Black Friday. Because they aren't selling like Microsoft wanted. It'd be foolish to trust them after what they tried to pull anyway.

But yeah. If MS sold more on Black Friday, it was due to the high demand for PS4s making them more scarce. I have first hand info from our local Wal-Mart that they had 16 PS4s for sale, and about 30 Ones. 

tenSurfa
tenSurfa

hmmm I think the "Winner" is different depending on country... I would suppose actually just the opposite - xbox being a huge seller in the states because of its Home Entertainment system features, and the PS4 being a more European thing as what is a console supposed to do - gaming!

But then again there is the payment method issue, which i havent figured out 100% yet.  I know the xbox accepts the same payment methods (paysafecard, CC, GW, etc), but in regards to sony, I know they were always a bit more complicated and that could be a problem for the European market....

BrianGoodrich
BrianGoodrich

And for the valid point that someone may stubble upon.  I'd be surprised to see PS4 sell more consoles than XB1 in the US for the fact that Microsoft is a US company and Sony... not so much :) Still isn't stopping me from loving the PS4.  To each their own! Except for the snot-nose kids... their parents shouldn't allow those kids on the internet.

BrianGoodrich
BrianGoodrich

I was going to make a valid point... then i realized only 12 year old fan boys of either system (mostly Xbox it seems) rant here... so all intelligence out the door!

CMichealHolla
CMichealHolla

Why did this article need to be written, most of us are aware that both consoles are doing well and that these early numbers are of less importance. My guess is Sony is reaching out to its friends in the media. 

poah41256
poah41256

Sony sucks so does ps4 and ps3 xbox one will have way more sales in the future once everyone notices xbox one has better graphics

xradamezx1
xradamezx1

and not only that america i dont remeber the last time chiana had our back.support ur own country usa bebe

xradamezx1
xradamezx1

really wish you guys would stop saying which system is better if you dont like one get the other period.sony dont put money in you guys pocket.im a xbox fan i support my own country.and xbox never has this shortage of system problems.gameswanna play now not 6 months down the line when ever sony wants to give us a console.at least if my kids want a console by xmas xbox got me covered.dont gotta rob or camp  in a parking lot for days thats crazy.xbox all day bebe.

eurorootz
eurorootz

The Xbox One is struggling right out of the gate because it was NOT intended to be released this year. What you are getting in this console is essentially a beta. There is a reason a lot of the early games look terrible and are in 720p. They essentially look like Xbox 360 graphics but more polished. The DDR3 memory they used is a few years old already. This is not what I expected from a $500 "next gen' gaming machine. I can go on for a while on this topic. I am simply frustrated with Microsoft at the moment. They seem to always find a way to screw things up from Windows to Windows Phone and now Xbox. Consumers are getting smarter and paying an extra $100 for an incomplete machine or a machine that bundles unwanted items like Kinect just doesn't make any sense. 

I tried it to give them the benefit of the doubt but take it from me there is no way the Xbox One could be ahead or even close to the PS4 at the moment. Mark my words, the Xbox One will hit a graphics wall years before the PS4. This isn't last gen when the PS3 was using the cell which was hard to program for, both of these consoles are now rocking PC  hardware. If anything Xbox One shot itself in the foot for using ESRAM but they had no choice but to add that once they found out how far behind the PS4 they were graphically.

ShaddHenkelman
ShaddHenkelman

@venblackburn Went and bought a ps4, microsoft is so easy on giving the XB Ones away, won 2 from the mtn dew promotion heh.

leoneverest
leoneverest

@ArjunKahlon  The PS4 was launched prior to the XboxOne, and neither were released on black friday(In the US, it was in the UK). PS4 was released on Nov 14th and the Xbox on the 21st (In the USA).  As a gamestop employee i can tell you that i've seen a higher demand for the PS4 than for the XboxOne, and i work in the most profitable store in my state.

BenBarr
BenBarr

Additional: If you haven't seen the new South Park/Game of Thrones Console Warz trilogy, you must stop what you're doing right now......I'm waiting.....ok, good! :)

ScottLogan
ScottLogan

@JustinBurnheimer  




Pretty sure you only see what you want to see because you are dead wrong. Don't be angry about it though. That is just reality. And I don't subscribe to the philosophy of,


"Your ignorance is just as valuable as someones facts"


I just can't do it. We have let people go way too far allowing completely wrong opinions to be propagated and allowed to be spoken alongside truthful scientific facts so someone can choose which side they want to believe but enough already. The world is not 5000 years old. Global warming is real(how much of it is mans fault is still debatable). Evolution is real. And the xbox is not selling better than the ps4. 


you are free to choose your own preferred console. We all have our favorites. My favorite is the wiiu right now but that is only because the ps4 only has 2 games that I want to play at the moment. 






KevinLipp
KevinLipp

@JustinBurnheimer I cannot refute your local PS4 game/accessory evidence, only state that it is not true in my areas.  I'll mainly address PS4 side of things to balance out what you stated (and I'm not hating, just expanding).  Let's be honest, both are great systems and I truly hope NEITHER wins per se.  Competition breeds innovation.  I don't like the shortsighted "PS4 is a game player, X1 is a media powerhouse" as the PS4 is one update away from being back to DLNA media server.  The only thing PS4 cannot update is the fact they don't have HDMI input.  And while some people will use it and others will love it and can't live without it, I don't see watching TV as a game changer nor system seller at this point.  Again, maybe future updates change the systems abilities..or new peripherals will balance out shortcomings on either side.  If you take off the immediate blinders, you'll see that in the near future they are virtually identical and the PS4 is, in fact, cheaper...irregardless of what you think it should be as is right now.  And if we are being hypothetical on 'bang for the buck', then neither console is worth it right now with hardware problems and functional limitations.  The truth won't be known until the systems come into their own and then you have to look at what it cost to get you there.

JEmlay
JEmlay

@CMichealHolla Because MS is making claims that aren't true.  It's important to note when big business talks out their a$$.

SHolladay
SHolladay

@poah41256 says the deluded fool who has obviously never played either console...

calieb88
calieb88

@xradamezx1 HAHA dude Sony is Japan and on top of that there is also Sony of America. And to note Japan is one of our biggest allies so supporting countries that support yours is a necessity for a good economy.

LeonGehste
LeonGehste

@xradamezx1 You do realize Sony is in Japan not China, also Microsoft may be based in the US but the Xbox was most likely made in China, so yeah.

phoenixking1611
phoenixking1611

@xradamezx1  The only reason why you could get a XBO is because of how bad it sold here in america.  It is real wonder why MS had such high number in sales on Black Friday. There was a lot more of them available for purchase, compared to the PS4.

Heres a numbers game for ya, Sony's PS4 sold 1 million units in 24 hours in the USA and Canada alone. MS's XBO sold 1 million units in 13 countries in 24 hours. that is less than 77,000 units per country!! so lets see, which is actually selling better. . . PS4 1 million divided by 2 is 500k, in 24 hours, XBO 1 million divided by 13 is 76,924(rounded up) hmmm so who is the real winner in next gen console sales??

daveed78
daveed78

@eurorootz Like you said this is a beta, and I have to agree although I am an Xbox user. I believe they will do what they did in the previous xbox generation and send out an elite or advanced version of it a year later, for the same price. But I would like to say honestly, why are we trying to compare consoles? If you wanted the best console you should take yourself over to PC gaming. I play console because I love playing with my friends, I realize it's inferior to PC, but I still seem to have more fun playing Xbox.

MikeIshak
MikeIshak

@eurorootz  xbox one is awesome it has some technology that no one in the world had used before

scott.may
scott.may

@eurorootz You said this about the Xbox360 to the PS3, yet PS3 never met the level of 360.  btw, PS4 technically doesnt use system ram it uses GDDR, so while it has GDDR5, its on the same level as the DDR3 you are ripping. Nice try. 

JordanRosen
JordanRosen

@JEmlay @CMichealHolla you make a great point, Microsoft has been caught many times making false or inaccurate statements regarding their competition. A great example is those recently failed surface vs iPad commercials that recently aired. At one point they were describing the surface to have a larger desktop than a 10" iPad but Cnet debunked that statement and explained how Microsucks used trick photograph to give said illusion. Microsoft really is a desperate corporation lacking the creativity to stand out. Lets be realistic here, they released a console that has its peak selling point being a DVR.

TWTHEREDDRAGON
TWTHEREDDRAGON

@JEmlay Infoscout made claims that were possibly not true.  Microsoft didn't put out any press statements saying they won black friday. It's important to note when people in the comment section talk out of their a$$

daveed78
daveed78

@calieb88 @poah41256 Are you stupid? You do your research! Xbox One fully supports 1080P and is soon to support 4k as well, next time you try to say something don't pull it out of your a$$

mathnerd88
mathnerd88

@phoenixking1611 @xradamezx1 

Your logic makes no sense....as long as all the consoles are sold out, it doesn't matter. You have to wait until the dust settles and consoles are pretty much on every store shelf to make that judgment. Please stop spreading illogical statements.

I could release my one million consoles that I have in stock to two countries or 13 and if they sell out, it doesn't represent that one country has more demand than another. You should know this *math wizard.*

I cannot find Xbox One or PS4 in stock around here, so it still means demand is high. I went to both midnight launches of PS4 and Xbox One at Best Buy and there were about the same number of people waiting in line.

ScottLogan
ScottLogan

You heard it here guys: XBOX One! It has technology! What plants crave.  

BilalPrince-Ali
BilalPrince-Ali

@scott.may @eurorootz what the hell are you talking about the PS3 never met the level of 360..? in terms of what..? games PS3 had better exclusives..? sales PS3 has outsold the 360 by the launch of this new gen despite the year and a half headstart..? so what are you talking about...?

pravius
pravius

@JordanRosen @JEmlay @CMichealHolla It's "Peak" selling point is a DVR because it has just about everything else the Ps4 has. The PS4 does not have this technology so Microsoft is using it as a selling tool to differentiate. Marketing 101. 

KevinLipp
KevinLipp

@JordanRosen @JEmlay @CMichealHolla I much prefer Activision's recent wording when trying to compete with GTA V sales.  Media and companies have so much wiggle room when it comes to phrasing/wording and they can make any insignificant statistic seem like the most important...as long as it is in their favor or to discredit others.  But yes, blatant lies are outright infuriating.

MatthewKellar
MatthewKellar

actuly forza 5 is natively 1080p but other game devs are strugling with optimization for the eram to pull 1080p at 30fps and on bf4 both consoles fail to put out 1080p native also as far as i know only 3 games have been anounced for x1 that havent hit the 1080p mar those where ryse bf4 and ghosts

joelbuza
joelbuza

@chaos.lockheart

You must be really stupid to think to think that 4K only supports movies.

As you see, 4K is made for gaming as well, and basically everything else. You just gotta code it, and your done 4K for everyone!

JordanRosen
JordanRosen

@pigsC4Nfly @SHolladay @poah41256 Although difficult to program for, the hardware was far superior to X360. I owned both consoles and I never saw a single X360 title that could hold its own to the visual beauty of God of War 3, uncharted and Last of Us. Sony's in house studios knew how to push its hardware to its limits and they really proved who had the superior hardware.