Xbox Series X|S vs PS5: How do they stack up so far?

Robert Collins

As we head into the 29th month that Sony and Microsoft’s ninth-generation consoles have been on the market, how do the current-gen systems stack up in terms of sales and overall popularity? Has Sony already won the Xbox Series X|S vs PS5 battle? The answer might not be as simple as it seems.

Sony’s sales dominance

While the Xbox Series X|S is shaping up to bring the brand back to form (and we’ll dive more into that later), the PlayStation juggernaut seems to have somehow hit its stride despite the PS5 being the console most-affected by hardware component shortages. According to data from VGChartz, for the month of January 2023 the PlayStation 5 sold 1,257,932 units worldwide while the Xbox Series X|S sold 456,921, extending the sales gap between the two consoles by just over 800,000 units.

To put this in perspective, the units sold gap has increased in the PlayStation’s favor by over 5 million units (5,062,695) over the last 12 months as of January 2023. Altogether, the PS5 has sold 31,767,146 compared to the Xbox Series X|S 20,683,634 units sold globally. Again, this is as of January. As it stands at that point the PS5 is ahead of the Xbox Series X|S by 11,083,512.

PlayStation 5 consoles

Has Microsoft already lost the Xbox Series X|S vs PS5 battle?

So all this spells doom and gloom for Xbox, right? Not necessarily, when you put the data into context. Comparing aligned launches, the Series X|S is ahead of Xbox One by over 1 million units. PS5, on the other hand, is actually behind its PlayStation 4 predecessor by just under 5 million units at this point in each console’s respective lifespan. And as VGChartz also reported back in October last year, the year-to-date sales figures at that time had shown a decline in overall hardware sales from 2021-2022 for both Nintendo and Sony, while Xbox enjoyed significant sales growth year on year for that same period, according to their data.

There are two important factors to take note of here. One of them is the Xbox Series S and its attractive price tag. There is no denying the Series S has accounted for much of Xbox’s success thus far in this console generation, with half of all Series S sales reportedly going to gamers new to the Xbox ecosystem.

Also there are the aforementioned hardware shortages that have plagued all three major home gaming console makers to varying degrees since 2020. Which ties in to the success of the Series S specifically, as it has been less affected by component shortages than its bigger, beefier Series X sibling. Sony has been most impacted—so much so to the point that Xbox Series X|S has managed to outrun Sony’s newest console in weekly sales even in Japan a couple times in 2022.

series x and s Custom

Xbox Series X|S vs PS5 and the Activision Blizzard deal

It will be interesting to see how all this will tie into Microsoft’s bid to strengthen its position by acquiring Activision Blizzard King. The Redmond giant has repeatedly pointed out its distant third-place position in the home gaming console market in its arguments to persuade government regulators to approve the deal. The argument, while not without merit, has to be taken with the caveat that the Xbox brand does seem to be gaining ground, as it did manage to pry a very small percentage of market share away from Sony in 2022. If Microsoft is ultimately successful in securing the Activision Blizzard deal, it will mean an enormous boon for Xbox that could justify the enormous price tag.

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