Is Sony’s PlayStation 4 Really Outselling Microsoft’s Xbox One 2-to-1? Who Knows.

Secondary market sales could mean all kinds of things.

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Carlo Allegri / Reuters

A woman walks past a pile of Xbox One video game consoles at a Toys 'R' Us store during their Black Friday Sale in New York November 28, 2013.

To borrow from Lee Mendelson and Vince Guaraldi, Christmas time is here, or nearly so, which means you’re looking at a scant few hours of frenzied final sleuthing — probably in vain — to find a PlayStation 4 or Xbox One before 2013’s holiday window closes forever. All these reports that both systems are sold out everywhere bodes well for Microsoft and Sony, and if both companies can maintain momentum through 2014, console gaming in general.

By all accounts, sales have been very close in the U.S. since launch. In official figures, we have Sony’s claim of 2.1 million PS4s sold worldwide, versus 2 million Xbox Ones. Microsoft claimed the higher initial sales rate in the U.S. (during the Xbox Ones first nine days of availability), though if you factor in all of North America, Sony says it’s the world record holder, with over a million PS4s sold in just 24 hours.

If demand’s outstripping supply, how do you gauge actual demand? Whip out your Magic Eight Ball — or glance at a secondary market like eBay. According to Baird analyst Colin Sebastian, Sony’s PlayStation 4 is outpacing Microsoft’s Xbox One on the multinational auction site at a rate of 2-to-1, to date.

But with eBay we’re in a kind of demographic fog, further muddled by supply questions, further muddled by a lack of information on average selling prices (the latter being a potential supply/demand indicator if one system’s selling on average for significantly more than another). Anecdotal reports hold that Sony’s PS4 has been more supply-constrained at retail, but then anecdotal, by definition, is just another word for hearsay absent official retail figures.

When I spoke with Sony Computer Entertainment America president and CEO Jack Tretton in New York at the PS4’s launch event, he beamed about the company’s production yields, noting that while he expected to shatter launch sale records, he wasn’t worried about supply keeping up with demand. Perhaps Sony managed to slip more product into the chain than anyone’s realized and savvy eBay sellers are simply capitalizing on this media-led sales narrative that the PS4’s in higher demand. Or perhaps the opposite is true, and Microsoft’s been able to supply enough Xbox Ones to mitigate demand through outlets like eBay.

See the problem? Secondary market sales could mean anything, leaving us in journalistic la-la land, speculating about possible outcomes based on demographic hypotheticals premised on supply chain assumptions.

Before you wave this off as economic overemphasis, don’t conflate shallow analysis with topical irrelevance. We scrutinize platform sales in part because they will, invariably, determine which third party games and exclusives go where down the line. It’s simple compound interest. Look at what’s happening to Nintendo’s Wii U and Sony’s PlayStation Vita — both fantastic systems in the potential-for-greatness department, but both hamstrung by paltry third-party support.

Enjoy your holiday break with or without a PS4 or Xbox One. Be wary of unofficial sales reports (and especially anything sourced to a “market intelligence” firm). It’s still anyone’s game. If you’re waiting for one system to surge ahead of the other, don’t expect January’s U.S. figures to hand you your mandate. If I had to guess, based on official sales to date, I’d wager it’ll be close.

MORE: The History of Video Game Consoles – Full

87 comments
blasterman1
blasterman1

The PS4 continues to outsell the Xbox One, at least on Amazon.  This lists the top selling video game products for the entire year.  More PS4 controllers have sold in 2014 than Xbox One's. 

http://www.amazon.com/gp/bestsellers/2014/videogames/ref=zg_bsar_cal_ye


Also it should be noted: We now know for a fact what we once knew only anecdotally, PS4 sold better.  We know because both companies announced total sales recently.

annazebrakat
annazebrakat

The ps4 really is good, i was always more of an x-box fanatic but since i tried out the ps4 i must say, it would not surprise me if sony wins the race. Now if they only would incorporatie paysafecard payment, i would be a happy camper.

antonyjamesdavidking
antonyjamesdavidking

The Xbox One is an outstanding machine just the games are a let down RYSE: Son of Rome is awesome but last about 8 hours and you can only fight the computer online which i believe is a complete let down. More content is needed to justify paying £50!! and DeadRising 3 has to be the biggest let down in a game of all time DO NOT BUY THAT GAME 5 min in the game and i knew i had wasted my money. State of Decay on Xbox 360 makes it look like a game you would play on Facebook (not graphic wise but the Gameplay ) i honestly believe you are better of buying the Zoo Keeper game more fun action feeding a poxy Elephant!! Now i just cant bring myself to spend another £50 to try another game ridiculously over priced!! 

lyndonagui
lyndonagui

yah dih yah....in the end its not which one who sells more or which one is the more powerful...its which one got the games. 2014...difinitely XBOX ONE!! Here in UK chart on games PS4 got none of its exclusive on the top 20...XBOX1 got 2!! 

RobertLGoss
RobertLGoss

Seriously, tired of going onto reviews of systems and seeing people who never played or owned XB1 giving it a zero and complaining about it. Let me know when PS4 will get Titanfall. Oh, yeah, never. Only on PC & XB1. I like my XB1 and yeah I was irritated with my 360 and went thru about 4 of them, but don't knock it if you have not tried it.

paperbowser13
paperbowser13

I'm loving all the anecdotes in the comments, guys. That's how analysis should be done. Facts be damned! I'm happy with my PS4 because I like it. I don't need to construct an unstable argument to validate my purchase.

Kiwi83
Kiwi83

PS4 have been sold out nation wide in New Zealand since release and will be sold out till February because all stocks are being pre-ordered before hitting shelves. Xbox One is still available in every store that sells them. People are selling the PS4 for well over retail value you can see here http://www.trademe.co.nz/gaming/playstation-4/consoles

blasterman1
blasterman1

No.  PS4 has sold more than Xbox One in 2013 on Amazon - FACT.

It's the 6th best selling video game item for the entire year.  Heck, the CONTROLLER is almost selling as well as Xbox One!

http://www.amazon.com/gp/bestsellers/2013/videogames/ref=zg_bs_tab_t_bsar

It's also sitting as the current top selling item in the entire video game category.  While the previous list counts everything that was sold the entire year, this one shows current trends.

http://www.amazon.com/best-sellers-video-games/zgbs/videogames/ref=pd_zg_hrsr_vg_3_1

Googoo24
Googoo24

This comment section is hilarious. The lengths people go through to justify their purchases. Never gets old.

scuroraven
scuroraven

Guy at local gamestop said that ps4 has a 42% fail rating. Said that so far today they have had 32 ps4 returned so far. 

JoeCase
JoeCase

Just went to Walmart Kmart and Target today, all three were fully stocked with Xbox Ones.  Didn't see any PS4s.

JustinSallows
JustinSallows

I was at Walmart a few weeks ago, in line for customer service. I wish I had a camera phone on me at the time because it's the sort of thing that sounds like a made-up story.


There was a guy returning 3 unopened XBOX One's. When he got to the counter, he said that they were for family members, but they all wanted PS4s instead. One of the clerk's suggested making money off them with ebay, but he said "Nobody wants them. Nobody is buying them".


It was one of those things where you are thinking to yourself "I can't believe I am actually witnessing this".

GastonCastrillo
GastonCastrillo

Didn't the ex CEo of Microsoft tell all gamer to F#$% Off and than left the company.  When Playstation did everything it could to keep gamers happy. Cheaper price, we can share game without paying (Mircrosoft a  Fee), not having to stay connected to the internet  24/7 if we didnt do that we could not play on the system offline. When asked if all those restrictions could be removed the Ex-Ceo Mircosoft he tell is it cant as it hardwire into the system. But after E3 bad press about  the bad image that Microsoft is heading and telling gamer to F#!@ off.  Mircosoft  did a 360   on all those stupid restrictions.  and blame all it RP problem on the out going CEO.  Who could blame anyone with going with Playstation 4 ( better system).  Problem is that Mircosoft for the Xbox 360 did what Sony is doing now. Win over the Consumer aka the gamers.  I hope their next Gen System has a better marketing plan than one who were behind the XBOX ONE


hieuluu22
hieuluu22

I have both and they where easy to find at Sam's Club. I don't really care about the living room experience or all that marketing Sony and Microsoft does, all I care about are games. The reason why bought an Xbox One is the exclusive Forza5, having played that the last two weeks, this game really take advantage of the next generation system.  I have to say, I am impressed with the Kinect over the previous model, my wife is getting a kick over its voice command "xbox play movie, xbox go to YouTube", etc...On the PS4, we haven't even opened the box yet, because there's only 1 exclusive game, Killzone, which got an average rating and doesn't really showcase the next generation system. Funny thing is, with the Sony, I am still using the PS3 because of Gran Turismo 6, but after playing Forza5, GT6 looks very old.

MichaelBrandonSanders
MichaelBrandonSanders

This article tells me one thing. Sony can not manufacture as good as Microsoft. Sony has sold 2.1 million units and Microsoft has sold 2 million. They are pretty much dead even and yet you can not find Ps4's anywhere. Sounds like Sony needs to step it up. Ps4 fanbois think this article is about Sony selling more units when really they just can't keep up with Microsoft in putting their products on the shelves. BTW, I have both consoles in the house so I could care less about which one is better.

cruzkit
cruzkit

This is what will happen... Sony will win the first few "battles" of this console war-then somehow mess it up with delayed games or another hack into their system. It's happened before... Microsoft will rethink this Kinect 2 bundle idea and start selling the Xbox 1 without it and for the same price as the PlayStation 4 and we all end up with 2 machines that are so alike that it won't matter. Until then...


Remember: People who buy the Playstation 4: Fanbois, older teenage boys who have the money and single men.

People who just want a gaming machine-Nothing more. (Games, game and more games)


People who buy Xbox 1: Fanbois, the mother/father of teenage boys with no money, people with younger children and older folks. People who want more that just a gaming machine. (Netflix/Cloud tech/Voice etc.)

mrbrinnon
mrbrinnon

Articles like this being perpetuated do a very good job of turning me off to the next generation. At this point, I really only care about the Wii U - the one that isn't in the race yet seems to have the most potential thus far. I really do understand the importance of sales, I do, but stop egging on the "war." Each side has their following. Let the consoles and their software speak for themselves.

daaruz
daaruz

The fact that the PS4 is outselling the XBone is very evident. I've visited retail stores (and browsed online) while shopping for the holidays, and I have yet to see a PS4 physically, inside a store since the original launch day. As of about 5-6 weeks ago, I started seeing XBones in stock. As of two weeks ago, XBones have always been in stock at Target, TRU, Best Buy, KMart, Walmart and Gamestop. Yet, the PS4 is a rare a leprechaun riding a unicorn. In fact, the only thing going for the XBone is that Sony is not manufacturing PS4s fast enough for consumers to purchase.


Serves MSFT right for their ballsy attitude since the announcement of the XBone. What's even more amazing is that the demand for the PS4 is defeating MSFT's monstrous marketing and media blitz in all fronts. MSFTs loves to bribe itself into a win. This time around, it will not work.

RobertLGoss
RobertLGoss

@blasterman1Wow, love that you use Amazon as a basis for sales. BestBuy, Target and other retailers sell the systems too. XB1 has the edge in US sales. Worldwide is pretty close but PS4 has the edge in that regard.

lawi2ence
lawi2ence

@scuroravenI think he was talking about the Xbox 360 cause that one actually did have about 42% fail rate.

israel.lopez217
israel.lopez217

@JustinSallows  That is the story people use to return them. It's fake. He actually bought them to sell them for a profit, but that no longer works save for sold out pre-orders for special editions before launch, or the launch week of the console. In the Xbox 360, Wii and Ps3 days people paid up to twice as much the market value for the consoles on ebay, for months. Go on eBay and look at PS4's selling for a little less than retail, same for Xbox One, even when they are brand new and sealed. I snagged a brand new Wii U, sealed, unopened without the day one update last year for about $40 less than I would have paid at Amazon.com or a local store. Some people are stupid enough to sell them for a loss, others smarten up and just return them when they see they won't profit from the consoles anymore. At that rate if they are not stolen machines, every seller is easily losing between $40 and $60 in ebay fees, even more if they paid state sales tax. They use the phony story about them being for out of state family members who no longer want them or who found them in stock locally.

RobertLGoss
RobertLGoss

@GastonCastrillo Yeah, not every businessman makes good decisions, but they make adjustments to improve their product. I am sticking with the Microsoft console. It's not just Microsoft that wanted to restrict games, developers do that all the time with used games making their gamers buy an online pass. It's bad marketing which makes Activision a better gamer company than EA, yet EA still sells their games and makes a killing. It's all bout making money, if XB1 could have restricted the games without impacting sales they would not have retracted that statement and modified their system.

ramos.gik
ramos.gik

@hieuluu22  lol. You haven't opened the PS4 and yet you are giving out your fanboyish hate comment for the system. You said Killzone doesn't showcase the next gen system? Sure Forza looks more pretty if you do  pixel peeping as it is just a racing game, but the amount of detail you're seeing on screen in killzone SF makes a game like Forza 5 looks like last gen game with improved textures. Resogun (a PS4 exclusive) looks even more impressive with its heavy amount of things happening on screen and a better game.  We have an XB1 and Forza 5. That game's content is like half of Forza 4 making you regret spending $60 on it. We have connected our cable box through XB1 and it can't even access our DVR recordings and makes the video a li'l bit wash out



hicksta01
hicksta01

@MichaelBrandonSanders What do you mean they cant keep up? Seems to me Sony has manufactured and sold more ( 100k more) than Microsoft has. Also, the sales figures are based on retailers buying the consoles not the consumers. Its too difficult for manufacturers to determine how many of their products are purchased by consumers at the cash registers or point of sale because there is no way that each retailer reports these sales back to each and every company they stock.

This tells me one thing. If PS4 shelves are empty and Xbox One shelves are not, then consumers have bought a lot more PS4's than Xbox One's.

On a manufacturing perspective, its all speculation as to whom "is keeping up" unless both Sony and Microsoft report actual units produced. So we are just basing our assumptions on the facts that we have.............2.1 million versus 2 million still puts Sony in the winning column............for now.

RobertLGoss
RobertLGoss

@cruzkitThey already screwed up, Kingdom Hearts is on XB1 now. Sorry Sony lost exclusive rights to Square Enix.

MatthewBryant
MatthewBryant

@cruzkit Yes, because no Playstation has ever outsold any Xbox.  Oh wait, they all did.  Yeah, just saying...

sampson3121
sampson3121

@cruzkit and it runs at 1080p with a GDDR5 card, instead of a 720p rez and a DDR3 card....not the same by far, ps4 is a better machine for less money.

sampson3121
sampson3121

@cruzkit but ps4 has netflx/cloud tech/ voice command too. funny how xbone fans always lie about sony's features.

MatthewBryant
MatthewBryant

@mrbrinnon Yes, because your interest in a console should rest solely on how the media portrays it.  No offense, but you are being the definition of a tool right now.  Not to mention the fact that I can't imagine why anyone would pretend the Wii U has any potential until they get 3rd part developers on board.  I'll probably buy one eventually, when a new Zelda and the new entry in the Xeno series releases.  Until then, nothing on the Wii U interests me much.  It's just the same recycled content we've seen time and time again in the past.  Nintendo needs new franchises.  Bad.

MichaelFichera
MichaelFichera

@daaruz I mean, like the article above just said, the lack of PS4s could simply be a lack of supply.

israel.lopez217
israel.lopez217

@ramos.gik @hieuluu22 He's right in that Ps4 only has Killzone, only a fanboy stands up for such a disastrous game lineup. Where is Uncharted? Gran Turismo? Well over a year away! They should have taken Beyond Two Souls and The Last of Us, and released them for Ps4 instead of Ps3. They even released a Gran Turismo for Ps3 a couple of weeks ago. How could Sony be so stupid and not release it for Ps4 too? Ps4 has a disastrous line up, period. I bought all my multiplatform titles for Xbox One just because Xbox Live is so much better than PSN and Xbox's controller is better for FPS and feels more comfortable. Killzone isn't that good sadly (Ryse looks better, Forza 5 looks better, and the past games on Ps3 were better), so my Ps4 has been collecting dust while my Xbox One has been turned on EVERY single day, for games, TV, music and movies... not so much for web browsing with Internet Explorer, though it loads Pandora and Spotify (unlike Ps4's lackluster web browser).

RobertLGoss
RobertLGoss

@hicksta01@MichaelBrandonSandersIf Sony manufactured 2.2 million systems and 2.1 sold, and MS manufactured 3.4 million systems and 2.0 sold you will have empty PS4 shelves in stores. So that argument can't be made without more research.

MichaelBrandonSanders
MichaelBrandonSanders

@hicksta01 Thanks for the info hicks. I was just looking at it from a consumer stand point. I did happen to go out this weekend and noticed that the stores are getting stocked back up pretty good on PS4's. Well, at least down here in the San Antonio area.

CheasyGZ
CheasyGZ

@RobertLGoss @cruzkit Almost all games will be cross platform due to both systems having the same architecture. MS no longer has to pay out the ass to get developers to make a port. ALL games are native now, not ports.

Kudos to SE for stepping up and making games for XB.

and btw I HATE XB1 and MS.

hav.fun93
hav.fun93

@sampson3121 @cruzkit Don't talk if you don't know what you're talking about. The Xbox doesn't run at 720p "rez" and has games that play at 60 fps and 1080p, not to mention the PS4 has no good games (exclusive wise).

MatthewBryant
MatthewBryant

@MichaelFichera@daaruz Except there's nothing to indicate that.  We have no reports from retailers that the PS4 has had major supply constraints.  Every time it becomes available again it shoots to the top of the Amazon bestsellers within an hour.  They're obviously supplying retailers.  It's just obvious that there's a ton of demand for the PS4.  Since this correlates with almost every poll and social site study that's been done to date, this shouldn't be surprising to anyone.  I think it's fairly common knowledge at this point that there's considerably more demand for the PS4 than the other two consoles right now.

sampson3121
sampson3121

@MichaelFichera@daaruzi was in a line at a target with about 50 people three weeks ago. they had 12 ps4's and 5 xbox's. all 12 ps4 ticket were taken right away, and their was only three xbox tickets handed out, i got one for my friend. while i waited for the shop to open, about 20 people came to the line all asking for the ps4. when inside, another person came and got a xbox ticket.

theish90
theish90

@MatthewBryant And they're all going go home, play KZ for a few hours, and then have nothing to do cause Sony has no real line-up. Sucks. That's what happened to me. But then I went back, got an XB1 and haven't gone a day yet without playing it. PS4 on the other hand... riding pine at the moment. It needs games to be a gaming console.

MatthewBryant
MatthewBryant

@rick.wainio@sampson3121@MichaelFichera@daaruz It probably did.  Best Buy has a line out the door whenever the PS4 is available.  It's very much in demand right now.  Reality exists.