The Xbox One and PS4 continue to enjoy record numbers compared to the previous generation of consoles (Xbox 360/PS3). But how the two companies present these numbers couldn’t be more different. Here’s how the holiday season stacked up for both companies.

Sony’s PlayStation 4

5.7 million+ units. That’s how many PlayStation 4’s Sony sold through during the holiday season. Sony’s holiday season is from November 22 – January 2 (North America, Latin America and Europe). It’s November 23 through January 3 in Japan and Asia.

Let’s talk about ‘sold through’ for just a second. Sold through means how many units were sold directly to consumers. The shipped number for this same period is higher. If you ever see ‘sold in’ that means shipped. Sold through is a better indicator of how well the product is actually doing.

Sony’s weaker first-party line (compared to Microsoft) didn’t hurt software sales one bit. More than 35 million copies were sold worldwide and through digital downloads as of January 3. Marketing deals with two of the biggest November titles (Star Wars: Battlefront and Call of Duty: Black Ops III) helped boost sales.

Sony execs are understandably pumped by the sales.

“We are absolutely delighted that so many customers have selected PS4 as the best place to play throughout this holiday season and that the PS4 community is growing more than ever,” said Andrew House, President and Global CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. “We remain steadfast in our commitment to deliver innovative entertainment experiences, and look forward to bringing an unprecedented games portfolio from third-party developers and publishers and SCE Worldwide Studios, including UNCHARTED 4: A Thief’s End, New Hot Shots Golf (working title) and The Last Guardian, this coming year.”

Yeah, software sales for 2016 are going to be absurd. Holiday 2015 might have been sparse on the first-party side of things, but 2016 is stacked. Horizon: Zero Dawn is a curious omission from the press release. Then again, House isn’t going to list every single PlayStation 4 game coming in 2016.

Since launch, the PlayStation 4 has sold 35.9 million units. Holy shit is all I have to say. I’m a Xbox One guy myself (that’s where my friends play), but that is an insane number. Sony will look to build on this momentum even more in 2016 with a large first-party lineup and PlayStation VR.

Microsoft’s Xbox

xbox one holiday sales

Microsoft also enjoyed a record holiday, but good luck finding hard numbers. Here’s how Microsoft describes their holiday success.

“On Dec. 28 there were more gamers using Xbox Live than any other day in Xbox history, and the number of hours spent gaming on Xbox One and Xbox 360 during Christmas week 2015 were up compared to last year. Thanks to you, Xbox One continues to outpace Xbox 360 at the same point in time in the Xbox 360 generation, making it the best-selling console in Xbox console history.”

I don’t blame Microsoft for not releasing hard numbers. They already said they’re not going to release them anymore. And, it’s clear Sony is pulling away in sales. I’ll give Phil Spencer and the Xbox team props for trying to right the ship after a disastrous reveal, but they just can’t completely shake that bad first impression.


Even if you don’t follow gaming, it’s easy to see who’s winning. Sony is opting for hard numbers while Microsoft goes for ‘better than Xbox 360’ phrases. That’s not to say the Xbox One is disappointing. Hell, far from it. It’s just that PS4 sales are that good.

When I’m not playing Rocket League (best game ever), you can find me writing about all things games, space and more. You can reach me at alex@newsledge.com

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