Throughout 2015 and leading up to the holiday season, Microsoft put a great deal of effort into marketing the Xbox One, hoping to win back gamers. Beginning at E3, impressive capabilities like backwards compatibility with Xbox 360 games and a freshly developed New Xbox One Experience were couched as putting gamers first. The hope was to win back gamer's loyalty after the console's rocky launch with features that most didn't care for. Microsoft also had an impressive lineup of Xbox One exclusives slated for the months leading up to the holiday season compared to PS4's exclusives. And there were ten different Xbox One bundles for gamers to choose from, ranging from heavily discounted bundles with multiple games of the gamers choice to the new Xbox One Elite bundle.
Previously, independent market research firms confirmed that the efforts paid off in part as December 2015 marked the best month for Xbox One in terms of sales. But now, a new report from Ars Technica, shows that while sales for Xbox One are increasing, Microsoft's latest console was still outpaced by sales of Sony’s PS4 during the holiday season.
The numbers are a little vague since Sony only announces how many PS4’s were shipped, and not the “sell-through” number of how many units actually went into consumer’s hands during that period. The statistics are also doubly vague because Microsoft does not release any numbers on Xbox One sales, and we are left to go off of estimates like EA’s earnings report which included the “sell-through” number for lifetime sales of both the Xbox One and PS4 combined. But Ars Technica did the math on these estimates, and concluded that in the last quarter of 2015, Sony shipped 8.4 million PS4’s while Microsoft shipped somewhere around 5.32 million Xbox Ones.
Ars Technica’s Kyle Orland notes however, these numbers shouldn’t indicate the Xbox One is a sales failure. The PS4 has been a runaway success, “far outpace[ing] anything from the last console generation” and it is hard to compare anything to its impressive numbers. He also explains that the Xbox One’s sales rate is performing about 97% better compared to where Xbox 360 sales were this far into its lifespan.
Microsoft is committed to improving the Xbox One with features like a new Xbox Store, full DVR for over-the-air broadcasts, a new lineup of exclusive Xbox One titles, and a growing library of backwards-compatible Xbox 360 games. Hopefully, Microsoft and Phil Spencer’s efforts to win back the loyalty of gamers continues to grow, albeit if it is somewhat in the shadow of the PS4’s incredible sales numbers. We'll see what Phil Spencer and his team have to share about gaming's future at the upcoming Xbox and Windows 10 media event in San Francisco on February 25th. So stay tuned for all the latest Xbox news.