Microsoft’s (NASDAQ: MSFT) Xbox One console has broken the PlayStation 4’s standing sales streak.
According to Mike Nichols, Corporate Vice President for Xbox’s Marketing division, the Xbox One surpassed the PlayStation 4 in sales in the United States and the U.K. for the month of November.
This marks one of the first times that the all-in-one console interrupted the PS4’s impressive record, and might hint at a comeback for Microsoft.
“November set a new record for sales of Xbox One,” Nichols said in a statement to IGN, “and Xbox One was the best-selling console in the US and UK.” The Xbox exec didn’t provide any concrete sales figures, however.
Although this is a win for Microsoft, it took reducing the Xbox One’s price by $50 in order to move more units. The console’s new $349 price tag is much more attractive to buyers, especially since the system is now bundled with two hit AAA Assassin’s Creed games.
Thanksgiving sales vastly contributed to this milestone, as Black Friday sales saw even more pronounced markdowns from vendors like GameStop who sold the console for as low as $329–and, in some cases, as low as $312. Since the Xbox One will stay at $349 until early January 2015, Microsoft will no-doubt accrue more sales during the main holiday season.
Before the Black Friday rush the Xbox One had seen lackluster sales compared to Sony’s (NYSE: SNE) PlayStation 4, which remains a popular choice across the globe.
Despite growing sales, November’s total game and console sales have slowed down.
The industry analyst firm NPD Group reports that hardware and software sales for November 2014 have dropped by 11 percent as compared to last year’s sales. “Hardware declines totaled $294 million while software declined $17 million or 2 percent,” NPD Group analyst Liam Callahan wrote in the new report (via Joystiq).
Compared to November 2013, eighth-generation consoles made up 38% of declines for November 2014, but this isn’t so surprising given last year’s respective launches of the Xbox One and PS4.
On the software front Activision’s Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare hit the number one spot, followed up with Rockstar’s new-gen port of Grand Theft Auto V.
- Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
- Grand Theft Auto V
- Super Smash Bros.
- Madden NFL 15
- Pokemon Alpha Sapphire
- Far Cry 4
- Pokemon Omega Ruby
- NBA 2K15
- Assassin’s Creed: Unity
- Halo: The Master Chief Collection
Nintendo’s popular brawler Super Smash Bros. took third place and has fueled growth in Wii U sales, racking up over 700,000 units sold for the platform.
The 3DS port of Super Smash Bros. has overshadowed the Wii U flavor with an estimated 3.67 million global units, cushioning Nintendo amid its financial woes while revitalizing the brand and the Wii U platform. The duo of new Pokemon games has also boosted 3DS handheld sales and has been a tremendous success for the ailing Japanese games maker.
Strangely enough Dragon Age: Inquisition isn’t on the map even though it launched in November. The stunning open-world RPG won Game of the Year at this year’s inaugural The Game Awards 2014, and has been a fan favorite since it was released.
Coming back to the eighth-gen console wars, Microsoft is having a good start, but when the Xbox One goes back up to $399 we’ll likely see sales taper off. The platform doesn’t have very many exclusives and is seriously lacking on the supplemental indie front, which Sony is dominating with its PlayStation Plus subscription model.
The Halo: Master Chief Collection was supposed to augment the smallish selection of games, but thanks to a tremendously broken launch incurred by the thrown-together nature of the game, this attempt failed.
Also the recent PlayStation Experience reminded gamers why they should pick up a PS4, showcasing a huge number of exclusives and upcoming games along with a variety of trailers and on-site panels with developers.
Hell even the Xbox One’s own one-year birthday party was severely eclipsed by Sony’s own 20th anniversary celebration, which kicked off a new special edition 20th Anniversary PlayStation 4.
To celebrate one year of its all-in-one console Microsoft offered a few paltry extras to Xbox LIVE members, which were nothing more than token “thank yous” for sticking with the brand. You got to try out Sunset Overdrive for 24 hours (the best part) along with two limited movie rentals, a gamer picture, and, if you were an early adopter who paid full price for your Xbox One, you got a special background image.
This was a genuine opportunity for Microsoft to actually make its mark, but instead they dropped the ball and ultimately were overshadowed once again by Sony.
In any case, in order to solidify long-lasting competition Microsoft will need to further its games campaign to once again catch up with Sony.
The Redmond-based tech giant might have caught up with the Japanese console maker in terms of one-month sales, but the gap is still very pronounced, and the company still has a lot of work ahead if it wants to turn the tables.