Is Sony Edging Ahead of Microsoft in Next-Gen Console War?

Is Sony Edging Ahead of Microsoft in Next-Gen Console War?

PlayStation 4 takes an early lead, but it does have a week head-start

It's early days yet, and although many are expecting the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 to duke it out in a protracted, multi-year conflict, Sony appears to have the edge out of the gate, thanks in part to its one-week sales lead and a lower selling price. The firm announced that it has sold more than 2.1 million PlayStation 4 consoles in its first two weeks or so of availability.

Microsoft, meanwhile, noted that Xbox One users have killed more than 3 billion virtual zombies in a game called Dead Rising 3.

One can only take that latter figure—which was provided in the wake of the Sony PlayStation 4 sales announcement and was accompanied by other game-related statistics—to mean that Microsoft has not sold 2.1 million Xbox One consoles yet. But remember, the PlayStation 4 launched a week earlier than the Xbox One and is now sold in over twice as many countries. And the PlayStation 4 costs $400, compared with $500 for the Xbox One.

Related: "Sony Sells 1 Million PlayStation 4 Consoles in First 24 Hours"

Sony kicked off the latest sales analysis earlier this week when it announced a steady uptick in PlayStation 4 sales as the console was launched, over time, in more and more markets. Since its November 15 launch in North America, console availability has expanded to 32 countries.

"Demand remains incredibly strong and continues to overwhelm the supply worldwide," Sony Computer Entertainment President Andrew House said in a prepared statement. "We are diligently working to meet those growing demands and to deliver additional PlayStation 4 units."

Not willing to be outdone by Sony, but not able to claim similar sales, Microsoft instead offered a more vague declaration of success.

"Eleven days in, we are seeing record-breaking sales and are selling every Xbox One we can make," Microsoft Corporate Vice President Yusuf Mehdi said in his own prepared statement. "Demand is far exceeding supply in the 13 countries we've launched, and we are sold out at retailers around the world."

To be fair to Microsoft, the Xbox One has been available for a week less than the PlayStation 4 and is available in far fewer markets, 13 versus 32 for the PlayStation 4.

Still, it's hard to understand why Microsoft would so feebly counter Sony's hard number with game statistics. In addition to those zombies, Microsoft claims that gamers have driven more than 90 million virtual miles Forza Motorsport 5, have defeated more than 186 million virtual enemies in Ryse: Son of Rome, and have controlled more than 150 million combos in Killer Instinct, a fighting title.

"We are delivering consoles to retailers as fast as possible this holiday season," Mehdi's statement continues. "As more and more people are looking to join the fun, it has become increasingly more challenging to find Xbox One in stores."

Sony publicly predicted that it would be able to sell more than 3 million PlayStation 4s by the end of 2013 and 5 million by March. This week's figure suggests that the firm is on track to meet those milestones. It sold 250,000 PlayStation 4s in the United Kingdom alone in just 2 days. By comparison, the PlayStation 3, launched in 2006, sold just under 200,000 units in its first month of availability in North America.

Xbox One's two-week milestone comes Friday, and any sales announcement—or lack thereof—will of course be closely scrutinized. But Microsoft does have one mini-victory to claim in the interim: The Xbox One easily outsold the PlayStation 4 during the crucial "Black Friday" shopping apocalypse, taking 31 percent of total video game sales, compared with just 15 percent for the PlayStation 4.

Related: "Microsoft Sells More Than 1 Million Xbox One Consoles in First 24 Hours"

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