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PlayStation 4 sales declined this year, but Sony’s lead is still gigantic

by Eric Frederiksen | August 3, 2017August 3, 2017 9:30 am PDT

Sony has now shipped 63.3 million PlayStation 4 systems to retailers worldwide, the company announced this week, up from 60 million this spring. The number came as part of the company’s earnings report, where the company said that it has sold 3.3 million systems since the previous call this spring. Of those shipped to retailers, Sony says about 60 million are actually off shelves and in consumers’ homes, according to GameSpot.

PlayStation 4 shipments dropped over this time last year, down from 3.5 million shipped. The company is expecting to sell fewer systems this year anyway, estimating 18 million total instead of the 20 million last year.

A mountain and a mole hill

SuperData Research estimated back in January that Microsoft had sold about 26 million Xbox One systems. Even if we’re generous with sales, which Microsoft no longer discloses, that puts Microsoft around or below the 30-million mark. That’s less than half. Compared to the previous generation, it’s less a contest and more a beatdown, and it has been almost without exception since launch.

A combination of a lower price at launch, some sharp marketing from Sony, and a huge, hubris-induced stumble we call Kinect, the PlayStation 4 jumped to the front of the line quickly and stayed there. Microsoft has done a lot since to make fans happy, but the company is still having trouble getting consoles off shelves right now.

With the Xbox One X, things could change. The system is the smallest Microsoft has produced and the most-powerful game console anyone has put out, with developers comparing it to a fairly expensive gaming rig. But even with that, Microsoft is asking $500 for  the system, a price gamers had trouble swallowing in 2013 for the original, under-powered Xbox One.  Contributing further to that is a relative lack of original games, excluding Forza Motorsport 7 and Crackdown 3, that show off the new system’s power in a meaningful way.

Microsoft has its Gamescom show on August 20, and could announce some things that make the deal a bit sweeter, but even so, 33 million is a big gap to close.

Eric Frederiksen

Eric Frederiksen has been a gamer since someone made the mistake of letting him play their Nintendo many years ago, pushing him to beg for his own,...