I have written numerous times about my belief Microsoft has been winning the console battle with Sony in recent years. From the Xbox One X to CrossPlay on Minecraft, the company has been innovating where the PS4 has not. However, in terms of raw sales numbers, Sony is leading. So much so, four years into Xbox One's life Microsoft is still unwilling to discuss how many units have been sold.
We'll get to why that is the case soon, but it is worth noting that the company is eager to point out some other milestones. The year is flying by and we are only a month out from E3 2018. Over the last couple of years, Microsoft has dominated the trade show. This year it will be a more muted affair of game launches and fan parties.
Still, the company is ramping up anticipation for the event by listing some Xbox One achievements. CMO for Gaming at Microsoft, Mike Nichols said Xbox engagement is on the rise: “Today, we're witnessing a record-setting number of players, playing at record levels, and engaging in new ways.”
Among the achievements he listed are:
- Xbox One X Support: Over 200 games have been enhanced to deliver 4K on the Xbox One X console.
- Xbox Live: Players on the platform are up 13% year-on-year.
- Looking for Group Adoption: Over 600,000 friends have been created with the Looking for Group feature.
- Clubs usage: 1.2 million Xbox Live subscribers are using Clubs.
- ID@Xbox success: Over 4 billion hours have been played on ID@Xbox titles.
- Backward Compatibility thriving: Over 1 billion hours have been spent playing Xbox 360 Backward Compatible games on Xbox One.
- Mixer use: The game streaming service now has more than 10 million active users, passing the milestone last month. Microsoft says growth has been consistent each month.
Xbox One Sales
While Microsoft is eager to talk specifics on many aspects of Xbox success, that is less the case with sales. The company says Xbox One console sales are up 15 percent compared to the same time last year.
So, we know sales are growing, but not really what that means. 15 percent from what? If you have been tracking the console's sales from the start you will know Microsoft used to announce figures. That ended when the PS4 bested the Xbox One to 10 million units by three months.
That kick-started a trend where Sony's console topped Microsoft's by a significant margin. Sony's market dominance has levelled out and Xbox is playing evenly again, mostly thanks to some of those decisions I mentioned at the start of this article. However, the early years of the 8th generation of the console market did the damage.
PS4 sales are well above those of the Xbox One. How do we know if Microsoft does not talk specifics? Well, if it was winning this generation, the company would be all over telling us about it. Sony does provide specifics and told us recently the PS4 has shifted over 76 million units.
That's an impressive haul that Microsoft is not competing with. So, Sony will win this generation in terms of pure sales, there's now little doubt about that. However, I have long argued Microsoft is laying foundations for the next generation that Sony is either ignoring or doing behind closed doors.