Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT ) Xbox One released on Friday and sold over 1 million units in 24 hours, answering the million-unit sales day that Sony's (NYSE: SNE ) PlayStation 4 had the previous week. It seems that the two next-gen consoles are neck-and-neck, but there are some differences between the PS4 and Xbox One launches.
In its first day, the Xbox One launched in 13 countries including the U.K., U.S., Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, and Spain. This is 11 more countries than the PlayStation 4 which only launched in the U.S. and Canada.
While the Xbox One's bigger launch market might suggest the PlayStation 4 has more room to grow, both consoles have sold out and demand for each is high. "Xbox One is now sold out at most retailers," Microsoft said in a recent press release, "We are working to replenish stock as fast as possible to meet the unprecedented demand from our customers." The Xbox One has a higher price point at $499 than the PS4 at $399 because it includes Microsoft's new gaming camera, the Kinect 2.0. This price point was expected to hurt Xbox sales, but so far it has yet to negatively affect the console.
The PS4 will go on sale in 30 European and Latin American countries on Nov. 29. After this launch date, we'll get another picture of where the two companies stand in their quests for console domination.
Like the PlayStation 4, the Xbox One is having initial issues with its hardware. Some of Microsoft's new consoles have been shipped with faulty Blu-ray drives that cause the Xbox One to fail and make a high pitched clicking noise when a game is inserted.
Microsoft has acknowledged the problems but has said, "The issue is affecting a very small number of Xbox One customers." The "small number" of consumers have responded with reviews on Amazon.com, 24.94% of which provided a one-star rating. This is slightly more than the 22.48% of reviewers who gave the PS4 one star at Amazon.com. These reviews are attributed to Sony consoles' technical issues involving the "Blue Light of Death."
In response to these malfunctions, Microsoft has set up an advanced exchange program dedicated to getting consumers replacement consoles as fast as possible. These customers will also receive a free digital download of any launch game published by Microsoft.
Console launches typically have a few bugs that need to be worked out and so far the Xbox One has not experienced the infamous "Red Ring of Death" that the Xbox 360 endured. Console glitches are never good, but I don't think the Xbox One's malfunctions are pressing enough to hinder its sales any more than PlayStation 4's "Blue Light of Death."
Overall, Microsoft's Xbox One had a successful launch selling out in stores across the globe. The Xbox One and PlayStation 4 are selling at higher rates than their current generation counterparts despite the initial glitches. I expect the PS4's sales will spike with its international launch date, pushing it ahead of the Xbox One for the time being. It's still too early to tell which console consumers will favor. As consoles become more available in the coming months, one system should begin to rise ahead of the other. For now, both Microsoft and Sony investors should be happy with their respective console launches.
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