PS5 vs Xbox Series X Sales: PlayStation Has a Commanding Lead

Sony has confirmed that the PlayStation 5 has crossed the 10 million units sold mark, which not only makes it the fastest-selling PlayStation ever but may mean that the PS5 is starting to pull ahead in the PS5 vs Xbox Series X console war.

“We are thrilled to announce that as of July 18th, 2021, we have sold more than 10 million PlayStation 5 consoles globally,” reads a statement from Veronica Rogers, SVP, Global Head of Business Operations. “This makes PS5 the fastest-selling console in the history of Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) and we couldn’t be more excited about the amazing response of our fans. Pushing through supply challenges and a global pandemic, we’re proud to have delivered a transformational gaming experience that is captivating players around the world. Everyone at SIE put their all into making the PlayStation experience better than ever.”

In an interview with GamesIndustry.biz, SIE CEO Jim Ryan suggests that the PlayStation 5’s success so far can be attributed to the quality of its early exclusives, the design of the console itself, and the strength of the PlayStation brand. He also highlights one very interesting market where the PS5 appears to be exceeding all sales expectations.

“The one launch that I would call out is China,” Ryan says. “The console gaming model is not well established there, it’s all free-to-play and mobile, but we had a hunch that the time might be right to change that and rolled a few dice. We made a lot of noise at launch, allocated a good amount of stock, and it blew through very, very quickly. Same sort of energy that we see in the West. It’s early days yet but we’re encouraged by that.”

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What about the Xbox Series X/S, though? Well, the Xbox team has made it a policy in recent years to not disclose exact hardware sales numbers, but Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella stated during a recent earnings call that the “Xbox Series S and X are our fastest selling consoles ever, with more consoles sold life-to-date than any previous generation.” He also noted that the company’s overall gaming revenue is up $357 million dollars compared to last year’s most recent financial quarter. Much of that success is attributed to the growth of the Xbox brand during that time.

If you’re really desperate to know the exact Xbox Series X/S sales numbers though, then prominent video game industry analyst Daniel Ahmad may have you covered.

While most sales estimates/official figures published since the launch of the PS5 and Xbox Series X have suggested that the PS5 has been in the lead since the start of the latest console war, it’s worth noting that the gap doesn’t appear to have widened significantly since that time. The PS5 has consistently outsold the Xbox Series X/S, but the keyword there is “consistently.” We haven’t seen the PS5 pull ahead to an insurmountable lead quite yet, though that could change if the PS5’s popularity in unexpected markets continues to grow and Sony is able to get their biggest upcoming exclusives out on time. Given how strong Xbox’s 2022 exclusives lineup is shaping up to be, that last point may prove to be especially important in the near future.

Of course, both companies are still navigating hardware shortages and shipping issues that are clearly preventing them from meeting market demand for these consoles. Recent reports suggest that next-gen gaming hardware supply may not start matching demand until later in 2022, which means that both companies are kind of making the most of it at the moment, despite their obvious successes.

There’s also the scalper factor to consider. While it’s not entirely clear how many of the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S consoles sold so far initially went to resellers, it is pretty clear at this point that resellers are making it more difficult for the average person to buy one of these consoles at retail prices. There’s always loose talk about how companies plan to battle scalpers, but it remains to be seen whether or not Sony, Microsoft, or anyone else is close to a viable solution. For that matter, you can argue about how motivated these companies really are to stop scalpers entirely when all these consoles are currently setting sales records.

However you choose to break it down, though, the one thing that’s clear is that the gaming industry is experiencing a bit of a boom period at the moment. Some of that success can certainly be attributed to the incredible (and more than a little horrifying) circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, but it should also be said that between the PS5, Xbox Series X/S, and Nintendo Switch, we have three leading consoles on the market at the moment that offer unique features, unique games, and unique looks at what the future of this industry might be.

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