Sony’s PS4 videogame console continues to rack up high scores in its sales race with Microsoft’s Xbox One and Nintendo’s Wii U, passing 10 million units sold nine months after its mid-November debut. Sony execs reported the sales landmark today in Cologne, Germany, during a briefing ahead of the big GamesCon conference there.
The Xbox One, which debuted a week after the PS4 last November, has yet to recover from a stumbling launch. Though its executives did not report sales figures during Microsoft’s own pre-show media briefing, Sony is outpacing Microsoft three to one in sales over the last quarter, according to company filings. The Wii U, which debuted a year before the Sony and Microsoft machines, still trails both in most recently reported sales.
Hardware sales matter big time: if the console doesn’t sell, its maker can’t cash in on royalties from third-party sales of compatible games, where the real money in the console business is. As well, fewer sales means fewer opportunities to sell other kinds of online content, including music, movies and TV shows, or stream video through services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime that have apps on each console’s online service. The early big lead also can affect what games will be created for a platform, as publishers and developers ponder where to allocate their scarce resources for the next few years.
A couple of months ago, Microsoft began offering a version of the Xbox One without its Kinect sensor system, allowing the company to price its lowest-cost option at the same amount as the PS4, $399. Microsoft also has been offering an array of bundles that feature either free games or a year’s free subscription to the Xbox Live Gold online service, further reducing the system’s effective cost. Microsoft also dramatically scaled back ambitious plans to develop video content for the platform, laying off most of its Xbox Entertainment Studios team in July.