There's a turning of the tide in the console wars as new statistics suggest Xbox is more popular than PlayStation in the US.
Alien vs Predator, King Kong vs Godzilla, Jedi vs Sith - society is full of battles for the ages. When it comes to the world of video games, it's usually PlayStation vs Xbox. While the likes of Atari and SEGA have tried to chime in over the years, the big three have always been Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony since the late-'90s.
These days, Nintendo is happy doing its own thing and appealing to a larger family base with Pokemon, Mario, and Zelda, however, it's Microsoft and Sony that continue to lock horns in the great console wars of the next generation.
We always knew it was going to be a closely fought race between the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, with both companies also offering budget versions in the form of the PS5 Digital Edition and Xbox Series S. Since their release in November (Microsoft got the jump on Sony by a couple of days), the two flagship consoles have duked it out and send "sold out" signs everywhere.
While many assumed Sony had this one licked because we've heard a lot more about the PlayStation 5, it turns out the Xbox Series X/S is outselling its bulkier competition in some key locations.
Why is Xbox more popular than PlayStation in the US?
According to recent findings from GamingSmart, the PlayStation 5 is in the lead with a 65% market share on the gaming market compared to the Xbox Series X/S with just under 35%. However, if you break those figures down to specific regions, the Xbox has nudged ahead in the USA with a 50.18% market share against PlayStation's 49.8%. It's a knife-edge margin, but the figures speak for themselves that the Xbox Series X/S is technically more popular in the Land of Hope and Glory.
In general, there's been an uptick in popularity for Microsoft as the latest Xbox is a vast improvement on its predecessors. In 2018, the Xbox One apparently held less than 30% of the gaming market, meaning a 5% increase in just two years is pretty impressive. Even though the Xbox brand is growing, it remains to be seen whether it will ever be able to match Sony's global domination with the PlayStation.
Looking a little closer at why the Xbox could be outselling PlayStation in the USA, the general consensus is the fact Microsoft is an American company and has a larger profile in the USA when compared to Sony's Japanese heritage. It's also important to remember Microsoft's assault on the gaming world as it tries to create a monopoly of acquisitions. The recent purchase of ZeniMax Media is a huge deal and will now see Bethesda fall under Microsoft's reign with franchises including DOOM, Fallout, and The Elder Scrolls.
Interestingly, the Nintendo Switch is the underdog no one expected. Given that we've just gone through the Christmas period where every kid has been begging for a console under the Christmas tree, the Switch's smaller price tag and broad appeal means Nintendo has cornered the market this season. According to NPD (via Forbes), the Switch had a jaw-dropping year. Posting on Twitter, NPD Analyst Mat Piscatella wrote, "Nintendo Switch was the best-selling hardware platform in units and dollars for both December and the 2020 year. Annual dollar sales of Switch hardware were the 2nd highest for a platform in U.S. history. Only the 2008 dollar sales of Nintendo Wii were higher".
The problem is, both the PlayStation and Xbox are selling out before they even hit shelves, with both sides struggling to meet expectations due to overperformance. The ongoing coronavirus pandemic hasn't helped the situation, with Sony admitting it has struggled to keep up with demand manufacturing PS5s. This means Nintendo and its stockpile of Switches have made it big in 2020. Even if the USA could go either way in terms of Xbox or PlayStation, Microsoft has a long way to go if it wants to stop Sony's PlayStation paws spreading across the globe.
Images via Sony | Microsoft | Unsplash Bermix Studio