Although exact numbers are not revealed outside of the industry, Sony spokesperson Guy Longworth claimed, “demand for PlayStation 4 remains incredibly strong as it was No. 1 in sales for next-gen consoles in January, nearly doubling the nearest next-gen competitor.”
Microsoft, however, has provided its own spin on the figures, pointing out that Xbox One has been selling 2.29 times faster than the Xbox 360 over a comparative time period. Combined hardware sales in the period were $241m. According to GamesIndustry.Biz, this was a 17 percent improvement on January 2013, or 46 percent if figures are normalised to take into consideration that January 2013 was a five-week accounting period, compared to the four weeks of January 2014. MCV, meanwhile, has reported figures from the UK courtesy of Chart-Track. Almost 500,000 PS4 and Xbox One consoles were sold in January, with PS4 again out-selling Xbox One, although once again actual figures are not made public.
As for game sales, January 2014 shows something of a downturn. Total software sales stood at just $232m, 26 percent down on last year after normalisation. According to NPD Group analyst Liam Callahan the drop was due to the big Christamas 2013 releases failing to keep up momentum into the new year. Furthermore, “there were about half the number of SKUs launched this January versus January 2013, leading to a 52 percent decrease in sales for new launches (or 39 percent when normalized for the 5-week January 2013). DMC: Devil May Cry and Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch were particularly strong launches in January 2013, causing a poor comparison for launches in January 2014.”
In the UK, MCV states that 2.2m physical games were sold in the month, 5.4 per cent up over January 2013. Here, once again, the figures were affected by the lack of new releases with only Mario Party: Island Tour on 3DS debuting on the chart. It’s also worth pointing out that both the NPD and Chart-Track figures include only physical games sold through retail stores – they do not account for downloadable titles.
US news site Venture Beat, which revealed the figures from the NPD Group, has provided a chart of the ten best selling games in January in the US, with formats giving in order of greatest sales:
- Call of Duty: Ghosts (360, PS3, Xbox One, PS4, Wii U, PC)
- NBA 2K14 (PS4, 360, Xbox One, PS3, PC)
- Battlefield 4 (PS4, Xbox One, 360, PS3, PC)
- Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag (360, PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Wii U, PC)
- Grand Theft Auto V (360, PS3)
- Madden NFL 25 (PS4, Xbox One, 360, PS3)
- Minecraft (360)
- FIFA 14 (PS4, Xbox One, PS3, 360, Vita)
- Lego Marvel Super Heroes (360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4, 3DS, Wii U, Vita, PC)
- Tomb Raider (PS4, Xbox One, 360, PS3)
PlayStation 4, then, has consistently beaten Xbox One in sales, apart from the biggest title of the month, Call of Duty: Ghosts. Microsoft has also pointed out that, combined, the Xbox platforms sold the most games.
The good news for both Sony and Microsoft is that people are buying the new consoles, even though game releases have been rather scarce since both platforms launched in November 2013. If PS4 is doing better now, things should get interesting in March when Electronic Arts’ big hope, Titanfall, launches on just the Xbox machines. In terms of platform exclusives, that title will be up against Sony’s inFamous: Second Son, which hasn’t quite drawn the interest of EA’s sci-fi shooter.
The real test, perhaps will be later in the year, when stock levels of both consoles even out, and true consumer interest – beyond the five million or so hardcore early adopters – will become more clear.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010
image: © Sony Computer Entertainment Europe