When a regulator intervenes in an acquisition process, we typically learn of sensitive information that companies, for one reason or another, have kept private. Now that Microsoft is handing over all the documents needed to complete the Activision purchase, information that we only had estimates from market analyst firms has slipped in the middle. I refer, of course, to the Xbox One revenue.
You don’t have to be enlightened to realize that, in the last generation of consoles, the PlayStation 4 has dominated from start to finish. This is due, above all, to a a misguided initial strategy on the part of Microsoft; with management prioritizing an entertainment system All in one instead of focusing on what really mattered: video games. We finally know how the market punished the Xbox One.
In a document submitted to the Brazilian regulator, where Sony and Microsoft are in conflict over the acquisition of Activision, the bosses of Satya Nadella indicated that sold 58.5 million units of the Xbox One by 2021 which was the year they slowed down production to focus on the Xbox Series X|S. On paper, that’s not a bad number, until you compare it to PS4 sales…
According to data provided by Sony, the PlayStation 4 sold 117.2 million units in March this year. In fact, this is the last time that Japan will release this figure, as production of this material is coming to an end.
With these two figures in hand, we can define a sales ratio of 2:1. That’s to say, for every Xbox One sold, two PlayStation 4s were sold. The difference is remarkable, especially considering that both platforms have had a pretty even sales battle. Remember that the disparity between the Xbox 360 and the PS3 was minimal.
The current generation is another story
However, what happens in the current generation has nothing to do with the previous one. Under the direction of Phil Spencer, The Xbox is well on its way to battling side by side with the PlayStation. Xbox Series X and S have started their life cycle in the best possible way. Not just because of the appeal of their hardware and pricing in the case of the budget variant but also because the platform is powered by Xbox Game Pass, the best gaming service available today.
It must be added to the above that. Microsoft pulls out all the stops to strengthen its game catalog which was one of the most criticized aspects of the Xbox One. In early 2021, they completed the purchase of Zenimax announced in 2020 owner of… Bethesda for $7.5 billion.
But the real bombshell came in January this year, when it announced its intention to acquire Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion. The latter is however not yet approved by the regulators, but everything suggests that its closure will not pose any problem. Once finalized, it will become the biggest purchase in video game history. franchises such as Call of Duty and World of Warcraft will be controlled by Xbox.
At this point, it’s still unclear who will be the current-gen winner. However, you can be sure that the difference in sales will again be minimal.