With the next generation of gaming consoles soon to be launched, speculation is rife as to which will be the dominant in terms of sales figures. Many have conjectured that Sony currently leads the early stages of the so-called next gen “console war.” With this in mind, is this an accurate reflection of the truth, and how do projections for the PS4 and Xbox One correspond with gamer opinion?
The Gaming Community’s Verdict
Ubisoft Chief Executive Officer Yves Guillemot recently expressed his belief that the PlayStation 4 was outmatching the Xbox One, in terms of sales, before going on to suggest
that these figures were not the be-all and end-all:
“Even if the PS4 is in front in terms of preorders, we see lots of improvement in the preorders that are coming on [Xbox One]… So no, we are not worried at all. We think it will be a big seller as well.”
A recent pre-launch survey found that 58 percent of people planned to purchase the PlayStation 4, whilst 39 percent of people were opting for the Xbox One and just one percent of those queried claimed they would choose the Wii U; the general consensus appears to be that the Wii U is somewhat of a stopgap between current and next generation technologies.
The study was completed by Integri Entertainment, using a sample size of 5,000 U.S. citizens. All in all, 62 percent of those questioned thought the PlayStation 4 had better aesthetics, compared to 36 percent and one percent for the Xbox One and Wii U, respectively.
Likewise, when asked about which controller people deemed the most innovative, the new DualShock 4 wireless controller that accompanies the PS4 led the pack, once more, with 51 percent of participants voting it as the top. On the other hand, the Xbox One’s controller, touted as having 40 new technological improvements, was only favored as the most innovative by 35 percent of gamers. The Wii U gamepad screen fared a little better in this category, earning 14 percent of the votes, with its embedded touchscreen, motion controls and rumble features likely helping to sway some gamer’s opinions.
Interestingly, the gaming community believed the PS4 to have the better video game lineup, relative to the Xbox One, but only by a remarkably small minority. In terms of the most hotly anticipated exclusives for each platform, Dead Rising 3 was voted top for the Xbox One, whereas Killzone Shadow Fall was top for the PS4.
Back in September, Reuters specifically reported on gamer preference. Again, the news was bleak for Microsoft, with 26 percent of participants involved in the Reuters/Ipsos poll stating they would procure the Sony system, and only 15 percent of people stating their intention of buying an Xbox One.
It’s entirely possible that Microsoft are still suffering from the fallout of the public relations fiasco, which plagued the company’s initial unveiling of the console. The reveal was fraught with confusion over a number of key policies and gamers remained confused over precisely how the system would function.
Similarly, the company’s former stance on used games, the requirement for an always-on connection, as well as privacy concerns over the Kinect device were all sources of controversy; although each of these issues were, in turn, addressed by Microsoft, it is possible that these problems have left a lasting impression with some gamers.
Console Sales Projections
The marketing analyst firm IHS Games and Research recently published a report, indicating that Microsoft’s Xbox One would be outperformed by their Japanese competitors by 2017. During a recent press release, the firm estimated the PlayStation 4 would sell 49 million units, relative to Microsoft’s less impressive 38 million.
The company did, however, stress the difficulty involved in providing an accurate forecast:
“With the determination of both companies not to give either a head start, the simultaneous launch of both PS4 and Xbox One results in a more complex forecasting environment.”
In terms of more imminent projections, IHS indicate that Microsoft and Sony will shift 2.2 million and 2.4 million units, respectively, by this year’s closing. The analysts explain that Sony’s understanding of European, Japanese and UK markets – as well as enduring allegiances within these regions – will help them to push out more units than Microsoft; on the other hand, Microsoft will remain king throughout much of America.
Interestingly, the firm posit Microsoft to have a “more formidable” slate of video game exclusives for launch, relative to Sony.
Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai has stated the console to be one of the three pillars that the company wanted to bolster to reassert its dominance, alongside its mobile and digital imaging markets.
It perhaps seems the company has learnt from past mistakes; when the PS3 was first launched, it was being sold for a whopping $599, making it a less viable option than compared to the Xbox 360, which had a price tag that was around $200 lower. With the latest iteration of hardware, however, the roles have been reversed and it is now Microsoft who is attempting to distribute the more expensive platform, potentially providing Sony a slight competitive edge.
IHS also conjecture that Sony’s willingness to delay the launch of the PS4, on their home turf of Japan, is a clear reflection of the company’s desire to compete with Microsoft, head-to-head.
The PlayStation 4 is set for release on Nov. 15 in North America, Nov. 29 in Europe and Feb. 22 in Japan. The Xbox One launch is to be released on Nov. 12 in the United States and 12 other countries, simultaneously.
So, what do you think? Which console, if any, are you planning to buy, and do you think these statistics make any difference? Sign off in the comments section, below.
By James Fenner
Intergi Entertainment Survey