Microsoft has released its Xbox One shipping figures for the close of 2014 and they are very promising but PlayStation 4 still seems to be ahead of the game.
Microsoft says that it shipped 6.6m Xbox One units to retailers in the three months up to 31 December 2014. This figure does not reflect however consumer sales which means some of these units may remain unsold. PlayStation 4 sold 4.1m units to purchasers between 23 November and 4 January, and that according to US market analyst NPD Group, Xbox One outsold PlayStation 4 during November and December, so the shipping figures and sell through figures for Microsoft’s machine could be very close. If Microsoft would release its actual consumer sales figures, as Sony does, there night be a closer actual number to compare.
Sony has confirmed that it has now sold 18.5m PlayStation 4 units worldwide, since the launch of the machine in November 2013. Estimates for Xbox One vary, but 11m units is the closer figure, with Wii U at 8.9m.
“While we do foresee Xbox One selling a healthy amount out to 2018 on a worldwide basis, we don’t yet see the gap between the two formats narrowing in any significant manner,” says IHS analyst, Steve Bailey. “Microsoft has successfully controlled the loss from its stumbles in 2013, and has picked itself up well; the first-party full-price slate going into Christmas 2014 was arguably stronger for Xbox One, and the console went toe-to-toe with PS4 in the heated bundling/price reduction battle in the second half of last year.” “However, PlayStation has been making it difficult for the gap to be closed. In terms of third-party alliances, for example, Destiny has been a major win for PS4, given how convincing multiplayer online experiences can be for swaying whole groups of established online friends toward a certain console’s online service.”
Analysts pretty much agree that Sony won out last year. The PlayStation 4 was well marketed with an emphasis on games, and a decent price point. Microsoft chose to market the multimedia capabilities of Xbox One. This marketing strategy seems to have been unpopular with consumers, and the price point too high. It is telling that the Xbox One performed more strongly in the US only after an autumn price cut to $349.
Sony and Microsoft are latley challenged to make money from their gaming divisions within their wider corporate interests. Xbox’s gaming division has been taking a loss for years with talk of the division being sold off. Sony’s PlayStation 4 has proved profitable for the company and is set to predominantly rely on its gaming division this year, as its consumer electronics business had diminished.