It’s holiday season again. Houses are decorated with glowing lights, temperatures are dropping rapidly and shoppers are storming the department stores looking for their next huge deal. The epitome of the holiday shopping season is Black Friday. On this day, retail stores slash prices on their products and open their doors in the wee hours of the morning, and close them well into the night. It is a great time for both retailers and consumer product companies in general.
One of the most popular items on most shoppers’ lists are video game consoles. And every year, the video game industry continues to grow, with last year seeing a huge spike in sales numbers, reaching a staggering $23 billion (a 5% jump from 2014).
Three of the largest video game companies that rely heavily on the holiday shopping season, particularly Black Friday, are Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo. Each company both manufactures hardware (Playstation 4, Xbox One, and Wii U, respectively), and develops software for their gaming consoles, and every year, these big three duke it out over whose console sells the best. After both Microsoft and Sony released their newest platforms in 2013, Sony instantly took advantage of the sales charts, selling over 4 million units, compared to Microsoft’s 3 million. And from then the gap only grew bigger. Last November, lifetime PS4 sales numbers had reached 27 million units, whereas the Xbox One had only reached 15 million. This is largely due to the initial lack of exclusives and anti-gamer mindset that Microsoft had at the console’s release, making many gamers choose the Playstation 4 as their console of choice.
Recently, however, Microsoft has been gaining some traction for the past few months, with Xbox One sales surpassing the PS4’s since July. This is because of the Xbox One S, which launched in August, offering a slightly more powerful console, with a much smaller footprint. This, mixed in with Microsoft’s increasingly pro-gamer strategy, drew in consumers who had yet to purchase a console.
However, this past month seemed to favor Sony, yet again, putting them back in the driver’s seat of the sales numbers. Boasting an astounding 50 plus million units sold, the Playstation 4 is firmly back on top, beating out the Xbox One for the month of November. Sony stated that this past Black Friday was the, “best ever Black Friday week in the history of Playstation.”
Analysts suggest that the Xbox One’s total life sales are likely about 30 million units, which is quite small compared to the PS4’s massive achievement.
While those sales numbers are impressive, do not forget that the Playstation 4’s 50 million units are nothing compared to the 157 million units sold by the PS4’s predecessor: the Playstation 2. Following the PS2 is the Nintendo DS (Nintendo’s touch-based handheld console) with a total of 154 million units sold.
Can Sony continue its massive success with the PS4 throughout the console’s lifetime? With sales numbers like these, it is very possible. However, the console does face some heavy competition in the form of Nintendo’s newest console, The Switch, releasing in March of next year, and Microsoft’s “Project Scorpio” (a far more powerful Xbox One) slated for a release sometime next holiday. Until then, Sony is sitting high for the holidays.