PS4 vs. Xbox One: We Now Have a Clear Winner

Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images
Microsoft (MSFT) and Sony (SNE) hit the market with their next-generation video game systems in November, and both consoles got off to blazing starts. The initial supply of Xbox One and PlayStation 4 systems sold out ahead of the holiday shopping season, and both platforms seemed neck-and-neck in the battle for gaming supremacy.

However, now that we're five months removed from the hype, we're seeing a clear favorite emerge. Sony claims to have sold 7 million PS4 systems to consumers, and Microsoft revealed late last week that it has shipped just 5 million systems that have been sold to retailers. In other words, the gap of actual ownership is actual wider than the difference of 2 million consoles. Microsoft may have led Sony in the previous generation, but it's coming up short this time around.

It's In the Game

Video game industry sales have been sputtering for four years, but it was believed that new systems would help renew consumer interest in dedicated gaming machines. When Nintendo's (NTDOY) Wii U fell well short of the Japanese giant's initial projections during its rollout ahead of the 2012 holiday season, the market figured that richer specs from Microsoft and Sony would provide salvation.

Microsoft stumbled. The cost was $499, a full $100 higher than rival PS4, and to please publishers, it planned to copy-protect the system. Users would need to be logged in to play, and only original registered discs would work. In other words, used games would be toast.

Sony may have hinted at a similar strategy, but it quickly recoiled. Microsoft retreated from its aggressive stance, but the damage was done. Gamers that made the Xbox 360 this country's top platform couldn't trust Microsoft anymore.

Thinking Outside of the Box

March should have been a good month for Microsoft. The release of "Titanfall" -- a game only available for the Xbox One -- should have given it the upper hand. It did help pick up sales, but according to industry tracker NPD, the PS4 outsold the Xbox One in every month of 2014.

It could be worse. Nintendo's Wii U had shipped just 3.45 million units at this point in its cycle. However, is 5 million really that much better? Microsoft has owned up to its mistakes. It realizes that it got too cocky with its pre-release intentions, and even recent promotions find the Xbox One priced more aggressively than before.

A new executive heading up the Xbox One promises a return to the platform's gaming roots. Microsoft spent too much time playing up the system's TV viewing features and voice-based Kinect controls. Nearly half of Microsoft's Xbox One unveiling during last year's E3 was spent showing off the device's smart television tricks.

That's certainly not going to happen when E3 rolls around again in June. Microsoft is going to make sure that it takes an approach that caters to diehard gamers first.

It's the right approach, but is it too little, too late? Great proprietary games can go a long way in the forgiving process, but Microsoft has a lot of ground to make up.

Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of Microsoft.

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Darrell Robertson

Sony Lost $100 Billion Since 2007. They will not even exist in another five years.

June 10 2014 at 12:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I got both yayyyyyyyyyy!!!!! Sucks to be you arguing little girls.

May 26 2014 at 10:30 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
David Jett

There certainly is a clear winner! Xbox One my money (get it?) and I couldn't be happier, unless I had a 70" TV :-P

May 12 2014 at 7:41 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
Rick Rambo

Clear winner people, you read it:0

April 27 2014 at 9:43 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

Let's be honest, the clear winner is AMD.

April 25 2014 at 3:57 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
Timothy Collins

I really don't think we can say that there is a clear winner until after Christmas 2014. The fact is that the first full year of a new console cycle is a year when there are a lot of hairpin changes for all consoles... Who knows - maybe the Wii U will suddenly surge after E3 or maybe Destiny will somehow catch on as a "Must Have" game.

Or, and this is the one that is most likely to be seen, MS will decide to take a loss on selling the Xbox One and reduce it's price to match that of the PS4 (Which they already really have, since the pack in games and such actually make it cheaper than the PS4). I mean... MS is one of those companies that can actually decide to lose money to gain market share if it wants.

But right now the stuff that is making things muddy is that we are in a transition period. There are still lots of PS3 and 360's out there and they are still getting games released for them, so a lot of people haven't bought the system they are going to get. That'll change later this year. Then there is a real chance that we will see a huge shift in the power structure (Or not - I am just saying that nobody can call a war won quite yet is all).

April 24 2014 at 12:43 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

I'm just wondering - is this a paid advertisement?

I have no dog in the fight, but EVERY day on Yahoo there's an article ripping the XBox, and pumping up the PS4. I'm thinking there has to be some sort of agenda here. We get it - you love the PS4, and will go to the ends of the Earth to promote it, and criticize the XBox. Enough!

April 24 2014 at 11:16 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

April 24 2014 at 1:36 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Greg Hakes

There is no clear winner, their just getting started. The last console war Xbox led for over three years before Sony finally caught up. And then they went neck and neck to the end and so far with no clear winner, and this will be the same all over again with this Gen. Go Gamers..

April 24 2014 at 1:04 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Greg Hakes's comment

That's not how it works this generation.

April 24 2014 at 9:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to lawi2ence's comment

there is a clear winner with sony selling at a 2-300$ price difference and a year later , sony came and passed the 360 worldwide sales and became 2nd behing the wii and the 360 came in 3rd so the winner is wii and the winner of the 360 and ps3 is the ps3 heres proof

April 24 2014 at 11:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down
Brian Gerhardt

Your a little slow, maybe a lil retarded. There are no sale figures to let anyone know which console sold more in America or Europe so why come on here posting comments about stuff you clearly know nothing about? Best buy has stock of xbox one and none of ps4 because microsoft chose to take care of their core territories and get them locked down before expanding, sony doesn't have any ps4 in stock because sony chose a different strategy where they would try to get a small fan base in a lot of different teritorries before the xbox got there, because people typically want the same system their friends are playing on, so when the Xbox does reach those territories ps4 will akready have a head start and its Sony's hope that people will continue to buy the ps4 after xbox arrives since the fan base has already been there a while. But as far as ps4 rapidly outselling xbox one in America and key countries in europe, thats a stretch. The only people that would know that information is Sony and Microsoft themselves and they wouldnt even know who outsold who unless one company gave the other company their sale figures and thats not gonna happen. Wanna know why sony wont give a sale figure for america alone? Its because sony has no idea if ps4 is out selling xboxin America and if the media caught word that the race in America was as close as it probably is it would be a big hit to Sony and their startegy to give the ps4 the perception that it outsells any console in any country. Sony knows they have the lead in WORLD WIDE sales and that why they only give sale figures for WORLD WIDE sales. If Sony said it sold 3 mil in America and let that info out, and microsoft sold 3.5 in America then Microsoft would obviously tell the media they sold more and people wouldnt be so quick to pick one over the other. Now numbers dont lie, ps4 sold 7 mil world wide andxbox shipped 5 mil, so lets give sony the benefit and say out of the 5 mil shipped xbox only sold 4 mil (which im sure the number is higher). Thats 3 mil more for sony numbers dont lie, but they do trick idiots. Sony sold 7 mil in 72 countries, 7 mil divided by 72 is 97,222. Thats the average number of consoles sold per country for the ps4. Xbox sold 4 mil in 13 countries, 4 mil divided by 13 is 307,692. So the xbox averages 210,470 more console's per country then sony, and you say that the ps4 is top seller in America? Thats just stupid. Like i said numbers don't lie and a average of 307,692 per country for xbox compared to 97,222 per country for sony tells me sony is very very far from "winning" this war, in fact, its losing it. Especially if you include software sales, its no secret to anyone that right now xbox one has better exclusives then the ps4 and thats not me talking thats every review all over the web, and the xbox has SOLD more exclusive software then ps4. Win again goes to Microsoft. So all u sony fan boys that go on about your 7 mil sold compared to 5 mil do some math, sony is not winning right now

April 24 2014 at 12:49 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
6 replies to Brian Gerhardt's comment