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Microsoft still lags behind Sony as U.S. Xbox One sales slump by 50%
Microsoft still lags behind Sony as U.S. Xbox One sales slump by 50%
May 15, 2014 | By Alex Wawro, Simon Carless

May 15, 2014 | By Alex Wawro, Simon Carless
More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing

Microsoft reports it sold just 115,000 Xbox One consoles in the month of April in the U.S., placing behind sales of Sony's PlayStation 4 console for the fourth month in a row.

The data comes courtesy of the NPD Group, which today released their estimates for new game hardware and software sold at U.S. brick-and-mortar stores for the month of April 2014.

Neither Sony nor Nintendo have released detailed April sales figures, but NPD analyst Liam Callahan stated in a press release announcing the figures that "Sony’s PlayStation 4 was the No. 1 platform for hardware sales in April for the fourth month in a row, followed by Xbox One."

It's not great news for Microsoft, who last month announced it had sold in (shipped) just over 5 million Xbox One consoles to retailers worldwide in the six months since launch -- outpacing the sell-in of the Xbox 360 at the same point in its lifespan by roughly 60 percent.

But the company has been quiet on total worldwide sell-through numbers, and Microsoft CFO Amy Hood noted on the firm's recent earnings call that Microsoft's supply of Xbox One consoles was, at least for that moment, greater than consumer demand. This is a situation that did not appear to exist during the early days of the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3, which reputedly saw slower, supply-constrained beginnings.

Overall, the 115,000 sell-through number reported today reveals that Xbox One sales are retreating, dropping roughly 50 percent on a weekly basis from the 311,000 Xbox One consoles Microsoft sold at U.S. retail the month prior - and in the first full month of sales for Titanfall, the firm's highest-profile 'exclusive' software title to date. (Electronic Arts & Respawn's Titanfall was the top-selling U.S. retail game for the month overall, but only across Xbox 360, Xbox One, and PC, with the Xbox 360 SKU outselling the Xbox One version.)

Indeed, Sony's Guy Longworth confirmed via a statement that Infamous: Second Son for PlayStation 4 was the highest-selling 'next-gen' console game at U.S. retail in April, beating out the Xbox One version of Titanfall. But Microsoft continued to beat its chest, touting its 2.9 games sold per Xbox One to date and promising via a blog post from Yusuf Mehdi: "We’re just getting started with this generation."

Overall, the Xbox One's sales decrease also hints to reasons behind the company's recently-announced decision to begin selling cheaper, Kinect-less Xbox One consoles in June for $399, the same price as a PlayStation 4 - a move that Microsoft is hoping will rejuvenate its fortunes.

Sony's fortunes are not completely peachy, either. Although it's sold through 7 million PS4 consoles worldwide to date, its parent company reported a loss for the year this week. But Sony believes a swing back to profits for its game business is in order, thanks to increased PS4 sales and improved margins, estimating it will sell 17 million PS4s and PS3s combined during the fiscal year.

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Marvin Papin
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"it had sold in just over 5 million Xbox One consoles to retailers worldwide"

not sold, but shipped ?

Simon Carless
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'Sold in' means shipped in industry parlance, but that may be a bit jargon-y, so we've added shipped in brackets - sorry about that.

Kujel Selsuru
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I hear that with the price drop a lot of people are now planning to get an X1 which is what MS wanted and these poor numbers are probably what prompted this move.

Bob Johnson
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April is traditionally a lesser sales month than March.

Second, one would expect sales to drop off coming from a month with a big game release to a month with no big game release. X1 sales last month had 2 natural forces working against it. And this sort of "slump" was to be expected.

Eric Harris
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See it is not because the Wii U is bad, all the systems are missing sales goals.

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Yes the market is in decline as far as console sales go. The only reason Nintendo has been singled out the most is because they had the highest Market share coming off the 7th generation and they had the most to loose going into the 8th. Nintendo, as well as Microsoft are still in a good position to ride things out, but the Xbox division has yet to prove itself to MS that it has the ability to create capital for the company. The decline under new management may be worrisome for the division.

Kinect is gone and Rareware was the company mostly supporting it with games under MS direction, so it will be telling to see what they do with that company now that they are basically admitting the Kinect failed to connect with its target market.

Adam Bishop
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The Xbone and PS4 are outselling the 360 and PS3 at a similar point in their lifespan. I wouldn't consider that a market decline. If they have trouble selling this winter after the first big batch of games are released, that's the time to start sounding the alarm.

EDIT: Here's a quote from an NPD spokesman:

"Life to date, sales of PS4 and Xbox One hardware have more than doubled the combined sales of PS3 and 360 hardware through their first six months of sales."

Simon Carless
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They are, Adam, but as I noted in the story, the PS3 and 360 were reputedly heavily supply-constrained at this time in their launch cycle - they were very technically advanced machines for their time, and the PS3's chipset in particular was super tricky to make. We'll see where it goes (as you say, maybe some unique games for next-gen will push everyone), but for the Xbox One in particular, selling 115k non-supply-constrained really does seem like a problem.

Michael Kelley
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I've spoken to a lot of ppl who, like me, have chosen to boycott MS products because of their collusion w/ the NSA in perpetrating a whole host of illegal activities against the American public.

I'm sure a lot of ppl will balk at the idea that MS's political maneuverings are affecting sales and by extension that the collusion is significant. Denial is the most predictable of human responses and a convenient excuse for inaction.

Thankfully there are still those that choose principles over pac-man, and what they've done is affecting their bottom line.

Lee Thompson
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I've tended to buy game consoles for each generation (starting with the second) but this one just leaves me with a real "meh" feeling and I'm not quite sure why.

Bob Johnson
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I don't think this round of consoles (PS4 and X1) have as much new and exciting about them as previous gens.

The controllers are the same. The graphics aren't the leap from sd to hd. We already had online play. We had streaming services. We had smaller arcade titles. We had accounts and hard drives and ....

What do we have new this gen? Built-in twitch streaming is all that comes to my mind.

For that you have to put with some features in the new consoles that aren't as good as the old consoles yet.

And so far it doesn't seem we've seen any next-gen exclusives yet worth buying. At this point I think the 360 had CoD2, Geometry Wars and Oblivion.

What does the X1 have? Ports of some good last-gen that probably look better on the X1. ...And that's about it. Similar thing with the PS4.

Tom Allins
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Even without the kinect i don't see the X1 cacthing up quickly with the PS4.
Without the kinect both machines might be in the same price range, there is still a huge advantage the PS4 has over the X1: availibility

X1 is available in 13 countries.
PS4 isavailable in 48 countries.

Each day PS4 sells a unit in those 35 countries Microsoft not only that single customer. They also loose all his friends as they will now likely jump ship too.

I believe most customers choose with their wallet. If prices being equal they will choose that console where most of their friends play on.

Daniel Lau
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I agree. I think Sony is just riding the hot hand right now, and as more exclusive content comes up, the consoles will break even over the long haul.

Leon T
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Not sure the price drops will help the XB1 since PS4 is the price with more power under the hood. If it has hit games coming to back it up thing could start getting better though.

Mike Griffin
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At least this generation took off, and continues to show high demand.
Sony came into this with the games focus, the superior engineering, the smart PR, the lower price point.
Of course they've taken a lead.

I know a lot of people doing PS4 games in small, mid and large size. They seem to enjoy the development environment and support. Mark Cerny went to town on GPU documentation.