Comparing Playstation 4 and Xbox One sales figures is pointless

Xbox One and Sony Playstation PS4
Credit: Sony

There's been a lot of talk about next gen consoles sales in the past week or two. First the Sony Playstation 4 sold over 1 million consoles during their first day of sales. The following week the Microsoft Xbox One also sold over 1 million units. Sony fans point out the the Xbox launched in more markets so that figure isn't as impressive, while Microsoft fans respond by pointing out that the Xbox One sold roughly twice as well as the PS4 did on Black Friday. However Black Friday is when the PS4 launched in Europe and it sold more than the Xbox One had over there after being on shelves for a week. Today Sony announced that more than 2.1 million PS4 have been sold across all regions.

It's my opinion that comparing sales of the PS4 and Xbox One this early in the game is fairly pointless. Generally speaking it sounds like numbers were constrained by supply in both cases; it'll be more interesting to compare sales when there are units on the shelves of every retailer.

What is important is that both consoles had a strong launch. After Nintendo's Wii U launched to such moderate sales last year, it lent some credibility to the doom & gloomers who were predicting the death of gaming consoles. I'm sure you've heard the arguments: cell phones and tablets are enough for most gamers. At least 2 million consumers seem to disagree with that idea.

I've also been glad to see the mud-slinging has calmed down some. During the first few days after launch every report of a broken console became fodder for flame wars, with wildly exaggerated defective unit numbers being thrown around by both sides. Such talk just made both consoles seem like a bad deal to anyone considering a purchase.

I also think it's great that the PS4 and XBox One launched so close together. We've got a great competition on our hands, and gamers on both sides of the fence will benefit from that. I've had the PS4 for a bit over two weeks and the Xbox One for just over a week now, and I just can't decide which one I prefer. In the years to come you can bet both companies will 'borrow' the most popular features from the other side, and that'll make both consoles even stronger.

If like me you are an early adopter, I hope you're getting as much enjoyment out of your new console(s) as I am. If you're waiting for a price drop. at least one analyst thinks you'll be waiting until 2015. That's a bit of a drag, but on the bright side I expect that these consoles, and the games that run on them, will be much improved by then.

Read more of Peter Smith's TechnoFile blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Peter on Twitter at @pasmith. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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