Microsoft is officially acknowledging what has long been obvious: the PS4 significantly surpassed the Xbox One in terms of official sales.
At the start of its 2016 fiscal year, Microsoft ceased disclosing its Xbox One sales figures and instead concentrating on Xbox Live data. The modification meant that, following the Xbox One’s problematic launch, we were never formally informed of how the Xbox One was performing in comparison to the PS4. Analyst projections have regularly ranked Microsoft third after Sony and Nintendo, but now records (Word doc) presented to Brazil’s national competition regulator finally provide some insight into the performance of the Xbox One generation.
Since Sony no longer tracks PS4 shipments, lifetime sales as of March were 117.2 million. Microsoft hasn’t given a specific Xbox One sales figure, but given its admission, it must have sold fewer than about 58.5 million consoles. This is consistent with market research from Ampere Analysis conducted in 2020, which estimated the Xbox One install base at 51 million systems at the end of Q2 of that year. With 111.08 million lifetime sales, the Nintendo Switch is on pace to surpass the PS4 by the end of the year.
Microsoft’s Xbox Series S and X consoles, however, appear to be bridging this enormous gap. While Microsoft recently reported a quarterly hardware revenue decline for Xbox, CEO Satya Nadella said Microsoft has “been the market leader in North America for three quarters in a row among next-gen consoles.” Microsoft still doesn’t reveal official Xbox sales figures. Sony ended 2021 with PS5 cumulative sell-through reaching 17 million units, approximately 1.6 times the performance of Xbox Series sales.
Despite the Xbox One’s poor sales, Microsoft’s work on the Xbox One generation provided some crucial foundation for the Xbox Series S and X. Because these features were tested on earlier Xbox One consoles, Microsoft migrated into the Xbox Series X with 1440p compatibility, Variable Refresh Rate (VRR), and a large number of 120Hz titles all at launch.
Microsoft’s admission of disappointing Xbox One sales is part of a larger argument between Sony and Microsoft over the Xbox maker’s $68.7 billion purchase of Activision Blizzard. As Microsoft tries to get its acquisition in Brazil approved, Sony and Microsoft are fighting over Call of Duty, game subscriptions, and much more. In documents submitted to Brazil’s regulatory body, Microsoft also asserted that Sony paid for “blocking rights” to stop developers from uploading their games to Xbox Game Pass.