The Sony vs. Microsoft console wars are the equivalent of a fighting game (Mortal Kombat, say, or Street Fighter II) played by two evenly matched opponents, always brawling to a standstill despite their enormous skills.
Microsoft claims it sold roughly 1 million Xbox One units in the console’s first day of release in 13 markets worldwide.
That was good enough to match Sony, which reported selling 1 million PlayStation 4 units in that console’s first 24 hours of release earlier this month.
However, Sony only reported sales in North America, meaning that the PlayStation 4 managed to outsell the Xbox One in that crucial market (excluding the outlandish possibility, of course, that Microsoft sold 1 million Xbox One units in North America and zero anywhere else). If both platforms enjoyed robust sales, it’s likely attributable (at least in part) to a serious case of pent-up demand among hardcore gamers, considering it’s been seven years since either Sony or Microsoft had a new console on the market. The question now is whether both companies can maintain sales momentum beyond the holiday season.
With its new PlayStation, Sony’s making a big bet that dedicated gamers will never abandon consoles, despite the ever-increasing game support on devices such as smartphones and tablets.
For Microsoft, it’s the diametric opposite: with the Xbox One, it’s betting that an all-in-one device (in addition to gaming, the box includes a variety of media apps) will pull in a combination of hardcore gamers and entertainment seekers. If it wants the console to succeed in that aspect, however, it will need to fend off a broad galaxy of competitors: not only rival gaming consoles such as the new PlayStation and Valve’s upcoming Steam Box, but also entertainment hubs such as Apple TV.
In other words, the battle will continue with no clear victor.